Hold the Corks and Singing
Here Again" were sung, yet there was clearly an upbeat mood in the
joint when state bean-counters certified more money in the till.
It's been a long time coming, ten years to be specific, but state
officials have quietly traded the "D" word for the "S" word and moving
from deficits to surpluses means about half-billion dollars is on the
table and everybody and his uncle in on the table trying to grab it.
This, of course, means the governor and legislators have a new
assignment this year. Cutting the budget is so last year and deciding
how to be prudent with the new cash is now job one.
At the head of the line, of course, is the education lobby.
Having taken a huge cut last year, their collective hands are out for a
payback and the chances are very high that will occur.
The polling data is compelling. Parents did not like the cuts and
they blame the Republicans for doing that. And since 2012 is an
election year for House R's, you can bet your bippy, they will find a
way to spend more on education in hopes of erasing that ill-will from
the year before.
Democrats are caught in a conundrum. They want to spend more on
schools but they don't want the other guys to get credit for that which
takes some of the sting out the GOP cuts last year.
At the end of the day, the Democrats will vote to help the schools
and then try to exploit last year's cuts the best they can.
Gov. Rick Snyder holds all the cards right now as he gets to go
first. His second budget is out early next month but after that
lawmakers will get their chance.
But, and there is always a "but" when it comes to Michigan's
economy, external forces could blow all this up. Upwards of 3-8% in
federal budget cuts will reduce dollars here; who knows what will
happen in Europe and if there is a banking collapse there, no one wants
to contemplate the fall out from that.
So maybe it's best the corks stayed in the bottle and the song