For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007
Contact: Jack McHugh
Senior Legislative Analyst
MIDLAND — In response to last night’s state budget deal, Mackinac Center
Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh observed this morning, "Those of us
poring over the final budgets are
scratching our heads looking for the draconian ‘cuts’ the public had been
told would be necessary despite nearly $1.4 billion in state tax hikes."
McHugh pointed to the following budget items to illustrate the overall
Department of Corrections: $2.078 billion in gross spending, compared to
$1.940 billion enacted the previous year.
Department of Labor and Economic Growth: $1.301 billion, compared to
$1.231 billion enacted the previous year.
Higher Education: $1.896 billion, compared to $1.787 billion enacted the
Department of Community Health: $12.048 billion, compared to $11.196
billion enacted the previous year.
Department of Human Services (Welfare): $4.588 billion — an increase of
more than $80 million, plus 171 new employees.
McHugh noted that there were a few economies, and he praised one in
particular: The state will contract more of its foster child and adoption
services to private social service agencies. "While only part of this
proposal was adopted, it’s a foot in the door for additional reform later,"
"But the big picture," McHugh continued, "is higher spending and maintaining
the government’s status quo — despite the state’s declining employment, its
falling home values, its stagnant or declining population and Michiganians’
decline in real income since 2001. Remember that while the state will have
fewer prisoners than expected, gross prison spending is up, and prison
guards will still be paid almost a third more than the national average.
State government employees are still getting raises. Public school employees
will still get costly defined-benefit pensions, and they will still receive
retirement health care benefits that are nearly unheard of in the private
sector. State universities still face no state budget incentives to contain
costs, either. You have to wonder what policymakers meant by their dire
warnings of a ‘crisis.’"