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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Utah Ain't Michigan

So here's the deal. You've got a brand new governor and a brand new
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
that.
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.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TIM YOU SOUND LIKE PART OF THE PROBLEM. IF IT AIN'T OUR IDEA, AND IT AIN'T MADE HERE, IT AIN'T NO GOOD!!!! THAT'S WHAT THEY TOLD ALAN MULALLY WHEN HE CAME TO FORD. HE ANI'T NO CAR GUY. GUESS WHAT--- THE CAR GUYS HAD IT WRONG, AND THE NON CAR GUY GOT THEIR CAR OUT OF THE DITCH!!! IF ALL THESE MICHIGAN GUYS WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT WE WOULDN"T BE IN THIS MESS!!!

December 1, 2010 at 7:54 AM 
Blogger jcstewart1949 said...

Tim,
Let's look at the publicly known personal facts about Mr. Nixon.
He is a native of Utah, 38 years old, and a CPA. It is accurate to say that he has only worked with very Conservative Republicans. It sounds like he will bring his Budget ax and cut wherever he remembers he cut in Utah.
The jury is out. We will wait for the verdict of his 1st Budget by March 1.
John Stewart

December 1, 2010 at 9:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea on the secret budget article on gongwer today? I don't have access to it but the summary claims 2.9 billion in cuts and the document looks official.

December 1, 2010 at 4:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem I have is Utah is so far removed from Michigan, Snyder might as well have picked the budget director from Guatemala.

Utah is a growing state with a high birth rate and people moving in (positive demographics). We are state bleeding people with negative demographics (people, education background, etc.)

Utah is all red, all the time. Michigan is a purple state with very conservative and very liberal constituencies, sometimes living within 20 minutes of each other.

Utah spends nothing on education (lowest in nation per student), but gets away with it due to Mormon Church involvement.

The list goes on and on.

This guy clearly will approach the budget with spending cuts first and spending cuts last, but this is not realistic and frankly dangerous to this state.

December 2, 2010 at 7:50 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how people discount this man before he has even had a chance to start doing his job.
For those of you who think our governments can continue to spend like drunken sailors on every pet project and entitlement program you are very misled.

The time for fiscal responsibility is way past due and cuts will have to be made and make no mistake they will come at the expense of someone. But we can not continue to spend monies we do not have.

December 5, 2010 at 7:01 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't judge a budget director before he even takes office. To be honest, we won't know the effectiveness of this BD until long after this first budget is written.

What you can judge is Lansing's reaction to their fear. "Maybe if we make this guy the villain they won't take a second look at us."

Their response shows me that there may be some good things coming from this guy from Utah.

December 6, 2010 at 5:28 AM 

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