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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    House GOP unveiling plan to balance budget with GIANT reforms, cuts... and we've got a copy!

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:26:22 AM EST
    Tags: Budget deficit, GOP, Elsenheimer, Moss, conservatives, Republicans, cuts, reforms, tax hikes (all tags)

    Republicans acting like Republicans.  Novel concept.  I like it.  Muy much!

    RightMichigan has learned that this morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer and the caucus will be unveiling a genuinely sweeping package of budget cuts and reforms that won't only balance the books and eliminate the Granholm-Cherry administration's $1.8 billion budget deficit, it'll also free up $700 million in federal "stimulus" funds the Democrats were planning to burn on the bloated bureaucracy.  

    And all of that without raising taxes a nickel.  Which would also be a pleasant switch.

    The "Reinvigorate, Reinvest & Reform Plan" is being described by House Republicans as a comprehensive package of government reforms, targeted budget cuts and prioritized spending that protect the most essential of government services while freeing up nearly $700 million in federal stimulus funds that can be used to invest in programs that create jobs and help pump life back into Michigan's languishing economy.

    "This is a plan that shows the budget can be solved without raising taxes - it offers tangible solutions and real savings for this and next year's budget. There is no fuzzy math, no hidden agendas or falsehoods here," said Elsenheimer (R-Kewadin).

    "We offer this plan to majority caucuses, the governor, the State Budget office and most importantly, the taxpayers of Michigan. It's one solution to our crisis and anyone is welcome to use some or all parts of it. We have no pride of authorship, we only want to help balance the budget and put Michigan on the right track."

    Love that last line.  A little bit of selflessness and genuine interest in solving problems goes a long way in my book.  But I might just be sappy.

    Alright, so what does the plan actually do?  

    You can check out the entire proposal, including line-by-line, department-by-department savings and reforms by clicking the plan below.

    Big picture, the plan, among many, many other things looks to:

  • Protect jobs by preventing the next Democrat tax increase;
  • Freeze the number of state employees and the pending state employee pay raise;
  • Cap welfare benefits after four years;
  • Stimulate the economy through statewide road and bridge investments; and
  • Reinvest $50 million in small business jobs.

    Reading those bullets, though, one doesn't get a sense for just how big a package of genuine cuts and reforms (with real savings) we're talking about here.  Just a few of the other reforms and line-items found in the House GOP proposal:

  • Establish an absolute freeze to the number of full time state employees
  • Establish a hard-line travel ban
  • Eliminate prevailing wage on school construction projects
  • Prohibit rules that are more stringent than federal requirements unless specifically authorized by law (Cutting back on little bureaucratic potentates across state government)
  • Streamline school elections to two times per year
  • Require all state spending for state agencies to be publicly available on a searchable website
  • Reduce funding for top-tier administrator positions
  • Restore phone user fees for prisoners (that alone could save $5 million a year)

    That's really only scratching the surface.  This is one of the more comprehensive plans I've seen since this budget crisis really got cooking several years ago.

    Please, read on...

  • And freeing up that so-called stimulus cash to actually, I don't know, stimulate the economy?  So simple and yet so profound.

    "Stimulus funds shouldn't be a state deficit bailout program," said House Appropriations Vice Chairman Chuck Moss, (R-Birmingham). "They are taxpayer dollars that must be used as investments to get Michigan working again, not as an overdraft protection."

    Elsenheimer said without immediate action, a repeat of the 2007 tax increase and government shutdown could occur. I'd only correct the man on one point... House Speaker Andy Dillon admitted last week that his caucus WILL be looking to raise taxes again.  

    Elsenheimer and his caucus are saying  that for their part, they will not stand for another tax increase.

    "Michigan's economy hasn't recovered from the 2007 tax increases that were forced by a government shutdown," Elsenheimer said. "The unemployment rate in Michigan was at 7.2 percent before the largest ever tax increase in state history. With our current unemployment rate of 15.2 percent, it is even more imperative that this budget crisis be solved without another tax increase."

    Here here.  And mega kudos to the caucus on a genuinely bold, infinitely doable CONSERVATIVE plan!  Republicans acting like Republicans.  I could get used to that.

    < The Inside Pitch: McManus first to make it official | Capitalism in Primary Colors >

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    WHOA! (none / 0) (#2)
    by KG One on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:54:35 AM EST
    Republicans acting like Republicans.

    I must be dreaming!

    After looking through the report, I'll be honest, I've never heard of some of the programs proposed to be cut/eliminated (i.e. Commission on Spanish Speaking Affairs & Truck Safety Enforcement Team). I'm sure that I'm not alone there.

    I also like the proposal to change the timing of school election to twice a year instead of four. My personal recommendation would be to make those two months August & November.

    These report is certain to ruffle a lot of feathers in Lansing.

    I like it.

    One more thing, given that this will free up a boatload of money, is there any talk of really stimulating the economy and dropping the '07 income tax hike?

    Letting people keep more of their own money to, I don't know, spend it as they see fit, will do more to help the economy, than some Washington/Lansing bureaucrat.

    That will definitely be a boon in the '10 elections.

    Sounds good, especially... (none / 0) (#3)
    by rdww on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:57:04 AM EST
    ... the budgeting transparency moves (Michigan has been abysmal here).  But what's with the:
    "Restore phone user fees for prisoners"

    I hope this isn't just the usual plan to gouge guys in prisons with outrageous extra charges.  Why do you think cellphone smuggling is so popular?  Stick to the stuff that makes a difference, and avoid the "small gestures just for the fun of being jerks" stuff.

    It's the little thing that add up. (none / 0) (#4)
    by KG One on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:01:58 AM EST
    They spoke about this on the radio this week (cell phone smuggling...ewwwww) into jails and prisons.

    There is talk of installing cell phone jammers within jails/prisons to eliminate that problem outright.

    What does everyone else (none / 0) (#9)
    by Nick on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:15:36 AM EST
    think of the House GOP plan?

    I'll say it again... I'm jazzed!

    Feel better, Scaly? (none / 0) (#12)
    by rdww on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:39:47 AM EST
    I guess you told those folks behind bars (who have no choice in the matter, despite your rant) a thing or two, eh?
    Getting tough with those who we have in a helpless position, even if we have them dead to rights, is B-U-L-L-Y-I-N-G, to use your technique.  It may make you feel good, at least temporarily, but tells us far more about you than about those who you so fearlessly bully.  Lynch mobs are no more noble when their target is guilty.

    And Nick, shame on you for falling for "regressisphere" thinking.  Such views have nothing to do with conservatism.

    Ice cream parlor. (none / 0) (#19)
    by live dangerously on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 03:35:40 PM EST
    Nick you ought to start one.  You're the scoop meister.  The State House is standing up and I'm excited about it.  Boehner in the US House is doing the same.  Specific alternative solutions to offer the voters.  Look at the latest polls, not only is Obama going down, but the generic vote for Republican Representatives is going up.  It is above the Generic Democrats and climbing.  

    This type of concrete alternatives is what is adding to the momentum from the negatives of Obama and his policies.  I agree it is nice to see Republican standing up and not trying to sound like they are almost like Dems.

    I even heard Jay Riemersma in Muskegon talk of a Republican Rennasaince.  

    The new media is playing a big part in this too.  But I'm biased so I'll leave it at; I'll take a scoop of that red Republican brand Nick and I definately don't want a Cherry on top!!! lol

    If we had some of the leading candidates that would jump on this I would feel better still.

    Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

    Jazzed II (none / 0) (#21)
    by DMOnline on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 04:04:34 PM EST
    Nick: This is the best thing I've seen the GOP put out since Gingrich's Contract with America.  Well, that may be hyperbole to a degree, but you get the idea.

    It's risky since you know every bleeding heart adolescent currently running the Dem Party will scream bloody murder and more than likely their echo-chamber (AKA: Mainstream Press) will do their bidding from this point of view too.

    But I'm hoping the majority of Michiganders will actually take a look at (or at least listen to)  what's being proposed, will realize we can no longer spend money we don't have, and vote for real and truly positive change in state government in November '10.

    This is a step in the right direction.  If nothing else, it tells voters who the grown-ups are in Lansing.


    democrat response????? (none / 0) (#23)
    by bearb319 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:02:30 PM EST
    Michigan GOP....the Resuurection BEGINS!!! (none / 0) (#24)
    by MotorCityConservative on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:36:31 PM EST
    Hip, hip hooray for Kevin Elsenheimer!!!!  Somebody with some guts to take it to these Liberal Democrats, with a REAL bill!!!  I believe that Michigan's Conservative revolution can happen in 2010...We can do it, just throw these big-spending Democrats OUT, NOW!!!!   Andy Snider for Governor!!!

    Regarding the Democratic Response... (none / 0) (#27)
    by KG One on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:10:47 PM EST
    Karl Fred

    We wholeheartedly agree with it!!!

    Wise families in a crunch to this to their budget (none / 0) (#31)
    by maidintheus on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:24:24 PM EST
    Why would anyone believe it can be handled any other way? They know it's a myth they're serving with this socialist buy your way out of debt scam. I've no decent words that wouldn't be deleted for those who insist they believe it.

    I no longer believe they are innocently leading people astray. That's why we don't hear angry regrets from ALL of Granholm supporters. Pres Elect Obama PICKED her to advise him on the economy! President Obama considered Grandhack for Labor Secretary until they realized too many people were waking up to the shenanigans, and she was forced to say she didn't want it. This is why they hate Palin. She's the real deal and they didn't want us to have her. Their typical hate fest.

    Yeah, I like this proposal. A lot! A little bit of sanity never hurt anyone. Not doing it is indefensible. I promise to help people in my community, as I do now in spite of the economy, my property value, my $1000 per month health ins premiums... I presented $250 to someone in need over the 4th. Various amts before that and about a yr ago $1,500. All out of pocket and unable to claim on taxes. I'm only saying this because I'm tired of the games and there are a lot of people out there better and much more giving then I. I've had it with implications that say otherwise and those who project that government programs are needed. Those programs are as good, helpful, and successful as the Veteran's Administration et al. 'They' can quit with the games and 'we the people' need to jerk the slack out!    

    • Maid . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 07/23/2009 11:44:57 AM EST (none / 0)
    MI Chamber (none / 0) (#32)
    by maidintheus on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:35:30 PM EST
    What do you think about these? http://www.michamber.com/mx/hm.asp?id=govreform

    This is the A Team? (none / 0) (#35)
    by stevenstmason on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 12:11:37 AM EST
    This is the best the Republicans can do? The amount of ignorant babble displayed in this proposal is amazing. This proposal is dishonest, deceitful and riddled with accounting gimmicks and phony cuts accomplished by cutting once and counting it twice. Does anyone on the Republican side in Lansing even read the details of their own proposals for accuracy? Or is this just another PR stunt?

    For the thick-headed among you, let's review. Almost all of the increase in state spending has come from additional federal funding. The only thing that rolling spending back to 2004 levels is that we'll be getting less of our own tax dollars back from Washington. Many of you clearly don't understand the difference between state programs funded with state tax dollars and state programs funded with federal tax dollars. I would think that your representatives in Lansing would. The only conclusion one can reach is that they are stupid or they are deceitful and willing to lie to the voters to get them to believe that state tax revenues have been increasing by billions of dollars per year when the truth is almost all of the new revenue has come from federal sources.

    The Republican proposal also deceives people into believing that state spending has been increasing across the board. Again, another lie. In most areas, state funding is less today than it was in 2004. State revenue sharing to local governments has been cut, funding for state parks is non-existent, funding for community colleges and universities is down. The two major areas funded with state dollars that have seen increases are in prisons and schools. We know Republicans love their prisons. The more people in prisons, the better!

    Many of the big dollar proposed "savings" are completely arbitrary numbers. $90 million in savings from Medicaid fraud annually? They're going to go after the same crooks every year? Enforcement will never make that number go down? That's a joke.

    The rest of the savings focus on making sure the state cuts fall on the back of the poor. Freezing the EIC and increasing co-pays for people on state assistance sound like a good way to kick down people who are already hurting.

    Another target is support for college students. Gut the Merit Aid and General Fund support for financial aid. Let's kick out another leg of support from underneath poor students trying to better themselves. And let's not forget the young ones. Another $400 million cut to School Aid for K-12.

    The final kicker is that the plan engages in massive amounts of gimmickery to pretend to create savings where none exists. One way is the claim that annualizing the EO 2009-22 can save over $300 million dollars a year. That's just plain fraud on the Republicans part. Most of the savings achieved in the EO were done so by ending programs. Those are one-time savings.

    In other areas, the Republicans are double-dipping, claiming savings through the EO where they had already claimed they would cut elsewhere in their proposal like the Merit Award, 21st Century Jobs Fund and even small expenditures like the Commission on Spanish Speaking Affairs that someone noted. Do Lansing Republicans not understand that if you count a cut from the EO, you don't get to count it again by listing it separately?

    They also stamped their approval for cuts that those here have howled about like the 2+ million cut in spending for veteran affairs and the 14 million dollar cut in the state police. You didn't see those get mentioned in the list of Republican cuts but they would be included in the annualized EO cuts.

    In summary, lots of smoke and mirrors to deceive Michigan voters, lots of gimmickry and double-dipping to inflate the numbers and lots of slash and burn attacks on the programs helping those most in need. Just what you would expect from Lansing Republicans.

    Still conning? (none / 0) (#37)
    by stevenstmason on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 11:46:17 PM EST
    Executive Budget numbers are proposed budgets. They're not the budgets adopted by the House and Senate and put into law. If you can manage to pull up those numbers, you can find the actual budget numbers. Let's try real numbers from the Senate Fiscal Agency.

    Federal Funds
    2004-05 12,855.5
    2008-09 17,798.2

    A $5 billion dollar increase that mirrors the increase in the overall state budget. You're two-faced because you cry about the lack of federal funding and turn around and cry about the increase of the state budget total which is due to additional federal funds. You can't have it both ways.

    I know that dishonesty is the SOP for Republicans in Lansing but the facts are always going to trip you up. Is that why you wouldn't put up the numbers on the areas I called out? State revenue sharing? Higher Ed? Community Colleges? State Parks? How about some numbers to show that state spending is up in those areas as Republicans want voters to believe?

    If you had the numbers to demonstrate I was wrong in calling out the Republicans on their budget gimmicks, why didn't you show them? What's wrong, the facts getting in the way of the Republican spin? Does the silence mean you endorse the Republican cuts in Veteran Affairs and State Police, resulting in trooper layoffs? More money for prisons, less money for schools? Is that the Republican message? The numbers tell the story.

    Math Major? (none / 0) (#39)
    by stevenstmason on Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 10:26:38 AM EST
    You really are a con man, aren't you? Here's a simple fact. Federal funding to the state increased by 5 billion. The overall state budget increased by 5 billion. That means that federal funding accounted for close to 100% of the increase. The overall percentage of the state budget is irrelevant except to show the growth. Your figure of "(+15.8% or only 5.3% of the increased budget)" is completely pointless. To imply, as you do, that the increase in federal funds didn't account for almost the entire increase is dishonest at its core.

    As for the increases in the departments, why didn't you provide the breakdown of state funds? Because that would show funding has actually declined?

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