The list of proposals within, if implemented, would produce a savings of over $2.1 billion, which constitutes 7.5% of the total state budget.
Most complaints leveled against these proposals will fit into one of two categories. One, people will argue, "Why cut a program that constitutes such a small proportion of the total budget?" And two, people personally affected by a program cut, such as recipients of direct subsidies, will oppose the proposal on the basis that it will affect them disproportionately. Both of these arguments are easily refuted when examined more closely. In the first case, while it is quite true that eliminating just one program will have little effect on the overall size of the budget, when combined with other similar cuts, the actual savings can become quite significant. And in the second case, many of these cuts will certainly affect some people more than others, but this is not coincidental--it is these same people who are benefiting disproportionately by the very presence of the programs. What is unjust or unfair is not the elimination of the programs, but their creation in the first place.
Over the past four years, the Engler administration has taken steps to reduce the size of state government. But there is much work yet do be done. The state should begin the process of significant long-term reform now, and implement numerous feasible changes that would return power from Lansing to where it rightfully belongs: the homes of families and individuals throughout the state.