In Bishop’s Pawns in the Metro Times, columnist Jack Lessenberry warns that Michigan is heading for a smashup of titanic proportions that will have a huge and devastating effect on your quality of life. Unlike the Federal government, who can pass debt along to taxpayers yet unborn, Michigan is required to have a balanced budget on October 1st. Although our shortfall has been mounting every year, Lessenberry – who spares nobody from his ire – rhetorically notes:
What did our lawmakers do about that? Ducked responsibility, that’s what. They raided whatever savings and “rainy day funds” the state had. They shoved the problem over into future years. Last May, in a move that should have gotten the legislators all impeached or shot for dereliction of duty, they sold off money the state was due to get in future years for an outrageous fraction of its worth.
According to the national settlement against the tobacco companies, every state gets a pot load of money every year to compensate for medical expenses incurred by the millions of people tobacco kills. Michigan’s irresponsible lawmakers traded $900 million in future payments for $400 million right then.
That was, again, to avoid dealing with this year’s budget problem. They also shoved a lot of the deficit into next year’s budget. Now, the party’s over.
There are no more funds to loot â€” not enough, anyway, to come up with the money needed. Now, the cupboard is just about bare, and the state starts out with a deficit of $1.8 billion. Not million, billion.
I really hope that you read this article, and also that you put pressure on your elected officials to grow a little backbone and act like they were elected to solve Michigan’s problems rather than hide them in a closet and hope they’ll go away.