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    Tag: reforms

    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...

  • (26 comments, 769 words in story) Full Story

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