Gubernatorial Fact Check

$10 Billion Claim Is Exaggerated

In presenting her executive budget, Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated, "I have cut more state spending than any governor in Michigan history, having resolved more than $10 billion in deficits since 2003." It's unnecessary to state that one of those budgets was "resolved" with a $1.4 billion tax hike — not exactly cutting more than anyone — but even the $10 billion is an overstatement.

The state spent $41.2 billion in fiscal year 2002. Adjusted for inflation, cutting $10 billion would mean that the state should've spent $39.1 billion in fiscal 2009. In reality, state appropriations were $47.9 billion in 2009.

The common response is that this includes federal revenue. Even assuming that is what the governor meant, it is still inaccurate. Michigan received $26.1 billion in just state revenues in fiscal year 2002. Adjusting for inflation, a $10 billion cut would mean that the state would have spent only $21.1 billion in 2009. It spent $26.3 billion.

Despite the governor's claims of cutting Michigan government, the state continues to grow. Exaggerated budget claims serve only to ignore the many ways that Michigan can trim its budget.