Utah Ain't Michigan
legislature neither of which has ever eradicated a $1.6 billion budget
sea of red ink. And to add to the inexperience, you're calling in a
guy from Utah to help draft the budget with all those cuts.
You read that right..Utah of all places.
When he ran for governor, candidate Rick Snyder said he would bring
in some new faces to help reinvent Michigan and John Nixon certainly is
Up until the announcement this week that he would be the new budget
honcho, nobody knew Nixon from Adam. But turns out his resume is
pretty strong and he's well respected on the national scene among his
peers. But he's not from Michigan.
Those who have met Mr. Nixon, no relation by the way to the "other"
Nixon, report he is low-keyed, with a dry sense of humor which he is
going to need as he steps into this Michigan money mess.
He is eager to get on with it.
One school of thought suggests that this will be the toughest
budget to write in years. All the low hanging fruit to reduce state
spending was plucked years ago and now the new budget director and his
new boss will face decisions such as closing universities, jettisoning
state services that are non-productive and suffice it to say this will
be ugly and painful.
If ever there was a time when you needed a guy who knows where all
the budget bodies are buried it is now, this school of thinking goes
and Nixon does not meet that objective.
Yet it appears that the governor-elect has concluded bringing in a
new set of eyes and ears at this critical juncture may actually be a
plus. Mr. Nixon may see stuff that old-timers have missed. He may
have a new take on how to do this.
One seasoned former lawmaker who has watched this process for
years is willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Nixon,
after all, has worked on budget deficits in his home state.
But as this source adds, "Utah is not Michigan." It's smaller,
does not have a diverse population of special interest groups and it
did not have a whopping $1.6 billion hole in its budget.
Can Mr. Fresh Eyes and Ears get the job done?
Pull up a chair. We're about to find out.