SEARCH BLOG: MICHIGAN TAXES
As a Michigan resident, I have a vested interest in the financial machinations of our State government.
The Detroit Free Press newspaper headline for today was, "Close To A Deal."It looks like the governor will mostly get her way and income taxes will go up and the 6% sales tax will be extended to services [originally the discussion was about a 2% service tax].
The Governor will not be denied what she sees as her due.However, as reported by Nolan Finley of The Detroit News, not all government in Michigan feels the need to expand continually. An examination of the differences between the State's government and Oakland County's [biggest county government] comes up with these differences:
Why bother to plan ahead or take help when you can just take the taxpayers money?
The state begins anew each year with a revenue estimate, budgets spending to consume every dime and then adjourns to watch everything fall apart in short order.
Oakland budgets two years at a time and works with five-year revenue projections. Right now, [Bob] Daddow [Oakland County] sees a $10 million deficit in 2010, so he's building in cuts over the next three years to wipe it out before it becomes a crisis.
Oakland closes its books at the end of each quarter. It knows right away if the budget is running off track and can adjust spending. The state, by contrast, didn't discover $70 million in unbudgeted spending until well after the last fiscal year ended. The shortfall got rolled into this year's deficit.
Employee benefits are reformed to match cost increases. Patterson side-stepped a gubernatorial veto to set up a health care fund similar to the one agreed to by GM and the UAW.
The liability for retiree health care is now off the books. The state, meanwhile, faces hundreds of millions in future health care obligations, with no clue where the money will come from.
And the county doesn't allow government to pork up on state and federal freebies. By law, Oakland kills any grant-funded program when the grant runs out. The state too often keeps the program when it loses the free money and builds the cost into the general fund.
Creative use of technology continues to save Oakland money and is shared with local communities and school districts. An offer to share it with the state as well got no takers.
The difference between a badly run business and Michigan state government is that the business goes out of existence.The Governor's philosophy:
I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it... I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it... I want it, I want it, I want it I want it... I want it, I want it... now! [It is your money]Hey, it's a lot easier than managing well.