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Posted on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Snyder's budget proposal reflects a return to financial stability for the state

By Nathan Bomey

Michigan could be finished with general budget cuts for the next few years, according to documents distributed today by Gov. Rick Snyder's office.

After years of painful budget cuts and declining revenue, the state's core financials have stabilized — and officials project more of the same over the next few years.

"Michigan is on a positive path to success," Snyder said today in Lansing. "It is exciting."

Snyder today proposed a boost in funding for public schools, universities and community colleges, public safety and economic development in a sharp reversal from years of funding cuts.

Snyder's $48.2 billion budget proposal — which comes after a year of significant funding cuts for many public services — reflects a $623 million uptick in revenue for the state as the economy stabilizes.

That surge in revenue — powered by better economic circumstances, including profitable auto companies — has already set off a scramble for more dollars among interests.

The budget proposal released by Snyder was built on nonpartisan state fiscal forecasts indicating that the state's budget will be stable at least for the next few years.

To be sure, there's room for debate over whether the cuts Republicans enacted in 2011 were appropriate. But it cannot be denied that the state's balance sheet looks healthy now.

Snyder, in an electronic budget message delivered to the state Legislature, said the state is projecting revenue growth for the next two fiscal years, including the fiscal year that would end in summer 2014 — months before Snyder would be on the ballot for reelection.

The state's return to budget stability is already drawing national attention, including a front-page story in today's New York Times, which described Michigan as "the most unlikely example of a phenomenon that was unimaginable in most states in recent years."

Although Michigan's budget surplus is being celebrated in a bipartisan fashion, the divide over how to spend the surplus reflects a philosophical divide among the state's leaders.

“The governor promised us solutions, but instead his budget only gives us empty gestures designed to disguise the damage this administration has done to Michigan’s public schools,” said state Sen. Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in a statement. “The budget he is proposing for our K-12 schools amounts to putting a drop of water into a bucket he’s already cut a hole out of. It does nothing to solve the real problem he’s created.”

Snyder proposed a small uptick in funding for several core services — including a 3 percent increase for public universities, $113 million for public schools and an additional $190 million for schools that agree to various "best practices," such as dual enrollment and participation in schools of choice.

But Snyder reiterated his philosophy that public spending won't create jobs.

"Jobs come from the private sector and we need to encourage their growth," he said.

However, Snyder does believe that certain elements of the state government can boost the economy. He proposed a $195 million budget for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which reflects a $20 million increase from 2011-12.

Snyder, in the digital message, said he wants "a continued focus on an economic gardening strategy to help local businesses grow."

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Lets Get Real

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Congratulations Rick Snyder, for making the tough decisions that previous "leaders" did not have the courage to make. Let's Get Real here about real leadership. For leaders to be enlightened, they must shine light on the facts. Too many entitlement programs for too many special interest groups. Too much overspending on people and projects who believe they are more important to the rest. Too much caving to overcompensated union workers in private, public, and government sectors. Too many favors awarded for substandard results. Sound business principles are based on structured budgets. Expansion and/or growth is planned, supported by research , indicated by performance, and launched when benchmarks have been met and feasibility is projected. The cuts may have seemed painful in the short run, but - like pulling off the bandaide when the healing has occurred - in the long run Rick Snyders actions have returned the state to fiscal health. He's not claiming any credit for the auto company bail out. In fact,my sense is he would not have handled that whole mess the same way. If bankrupcy was the outcome anyway, why not let it happen organically with a strong, experienced business leader. They would have reorganized, rid themselves of the debt burden and financial responsibilities of benefits, retirements and shareholders' dividends and recovered anyway. The difference? Obama screwed the shareholders - especially the retirement accounts of investors, screwed the company's retirees, dictated reduced benefits, AND gave the unions company control and GAZILLIONS of your money to keep them quiet. Great guy. Let's rush out and give him another 4 years to spend us into more debt and bankrupt the country. And who will bail the country out? Have you been practicing those conciliatory bows to the Chinese Socialist Dictator lately?


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Balance the budget by raising taxes while cutting spending? Nope, can't be done .


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 8:24 a.m.

I really hate to say it, but Mich, is digging itself out of the grave we dug. I see hate for Snyder, but judge they self before we judge others. Change is change and the democrats are good at fixing the mess that republicans make and vise verse. That's what make the balance in our royal living that we have come to know.

John Q

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

Myself, I'm still waiting for food prices to come down at the grocery store. Remember when Snyder got rid of price stickers and we were told that it would reduce costs? Anyone seen a reduction in prices when shopping? Me neither.

John Q

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Nathan - Are we supposed to pretend that the state didn't balance the budget on the backs of local schools and local governments? Why do you think so many school districts and communities are going into financial distress when they had made it through the worst of the recession? Snyder's budget moves may have balanced the state's budget sheets but it did so at the expense of local schools and communities.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Fiscal stability is certainly welcome & needed. But, at what cost & to whose benefit? Why are Governor Snyder's business buddies so overcome with glee? Big tax breaks; that's why. Big profits; that's why. Wealth & riches; that's why. Funded by retirees, the poor, civil servants, non-profit agencies, the schools and income tax increases on all of us. Businesses know they can come to Michigan and take advantage of these friendly tax advantages at the expense of the rest of us, who will have noticeably less to live on (We'll really start feeling the sting of this in April, 2013, when we pay our much higher 2012 State of Michigan income tax bills). Retirees are already helping business out, paying millions in pension withholding taxes. So, if business owners are clicking their heels, break-dancing, high-fiving & moon-walking over their new, advantageous tax breaks - it's easy to undestand why. Are there enough of these gleeful business people to outweigh the suffering the governor has in store for the rest of us? True fiscal responsibility & integrity in government involves much more than the cold numbers on a balance sheet. Tough gubernatorial decisions made at substantial cost for most of us, but obviously not for the favored few . . .


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

A 19% approval rating says Michigan citizens are wise enough to know that it wasn't Snyder (and the not-so-wise republicans in Lansing) who is responsible for manufacturing starting a renewal in Michigan. Thanks to Obama for saving the auto industry, and allowing those dollars to flow through the economy and supporting other businesses in an economic blessing. The renewal that the President has started at the national level, as evidenced by the drop in unemployment to 8.3% where it was when he took office, has also helped lower Michigan's rate just like in every other State although we are still higher than that national average. As republicans were pointing out just weeks ago, Snyder's job efforts weren't starting until January 2012 so he couldn't be blamed for 2011? If that's the case, how can he take credit for what's happened just one month into 2012 .... it's a miracle, right? LoL.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

I'm sure there are multiple polls. The one I saw was 19%, the one you cite here is between 25-35%. Is that something to be proud of? That means at least 65% of the citizens disapprove of his performance. I'd think he'd be very nervous of recall attempt #2!


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Sparty - How about coming into this year with the numbers? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

I feel better about the state finances today than i did a year ago. The previous administrations idea of just taking stimulus money to fund the schools was not a long term viable option. Changes had to be made and no one wants to change what they have but something had to be done and it seems like the state is headed in the right direction getting their finances in order- and I might ad with bi-partisan support someone in Washington should take note of how the legislature here is actually working together and the citizens are going to be the beneficiaries


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Nathan, care to say what Rick did that wasn't happening no matter who was governor? All you've done is repeat the freemarket religious talking points. Where the hell is the evidence that what Snyder did worked? Where are all these businesses who came to Michigan because of Snyder's tax cuts? The same tax cuts that forced teachers layoffs and concessions from public workers all over the state? Where would Michigan be if the two of the Big 3 went under? Michigan's budget looks a little saner because the auto industry has rebounded a little. How much credit can Republicans possibly take for that? Answer those questions and you might have


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Trans, It seems that In your world it doesn't matter who governs the land. I'll bet right now that every year Snyder is in office will be better than the last. The evidence shows otherwise for our prior governor who was everybody's best pal and that goes double for the public service unions.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

Hey Jenny this is how you blow someone away. Thanks Rick

John Q

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

Yup, Rick's blowing up the tax bills of millions of Michigan taxpayers.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

Is that what's happening in Lansing?


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

I'm sure Obama fixed it or Granholm did something before she left.

John Q

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Notice how Republicans aren't attacking Snyder for spending more money than Granholm. Just like the tax increases on everyone, when a Republican does it, not a peep in protest.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

@Rork Kuick Your statement is false. She may have cut budget in certain areas or departments. But she kept INCREASING her overall budget. 2003-2004 Total Budget: $38,546,223,200 2004-2005 Total Budget: $39,236,530,900 2005-2006 Total Budget: $40,224,217,400 2006-2007 Total Budget: $41,672,547,100 2007-2008 Total Budget: $42,791,804,000 2008-2009 Total Budget: $43,827,383,200 2009-2010 Total Budget: $44,500,000,000 2010-2011 Total Budget: $47,100,000,000

Rork Kuick

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Granholm did cut budgets every year, during horrible years that weren't entirely of our own making, while struggling to not ax education. However I think national and global forces have more to do with our economic swings that what the Gov does. Cars and agriculture are hard to control.

Dr. Rockso

Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

This PR coming out of Ricks camp is total garbage. Michigan is doing better with no tanks to Rick and company. These clowns in Lansing are taking credit for the recovery of the auto industry. The auto industry in Michigan is recovering thanks to President Obama in spite of everything the GOP did to try to destroy it and Michigan along with it.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Not as old as your refuting your quaint numbers DonBee, and ArborComments inability to cite facts regarding polls on the Governors approval ratings. $1.8 billion dollars was redistributed from the poor and middle class to businesses. It's a fact. Keep trying to twist it away, it won't work.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

DonBee, I'm only four comments in, can a make a safe bet and state there's a reference to the &quot;19% approval&quot; down this thread as well?


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

Sparty - NIce try but the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says otherwise. The number of auto sector employees in Michigan is still LESS than it was the month before President Obama rushed GM and Chrysler through a packaged bankruptcy. The automotive sector may be doing better, but it is NOT the reason the state is doing better. Again your mythology on the business taxes is a hoot. The cuts were given to small business - not large corporations. The average small business (of which 300,000 benefited) got a $1,800 reduction in taxes. The owners still pay their personal tax on their income, but don't pay twice on the same money anymore. Refuting your myths is getting old.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

But how much has the auto sector improved, Don Bee? How many tens of thousands have returned to jobs or been hired since it hit an all time low before Obama saved them? And now their money flows to others in Michigan, supporting other businesses, allowing them to grow, hire, expand, etc. in an economic renewal cycle that your simplistic analysis doesn't include. $1.8 billion in tax giveaway to businesses says that businesses are paying less in taxes than before Snyder.


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

You are right Dr. Rockso - There are no tanks in Lansing. As to the auto industry - the Michigan job count for the auto sector according to the latest BLS statistics is still below the month that President Obama help rush GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy. His new business tax increased the amount most large businesses pay the state, but that reality does not fit the current myth.