The Governor has held a series of televised townhall meetings stumping for her budget plan (released as actual, ready-to-go legislation earlier this week), in opposition to persistent Republican naysaying and citizen anxiety.
Most controversial in Granholm’s plan is a new 2 percent “service tax” on services such as hair cuts, oil change and movie tickets. Although they’ve groused about her plan for a month — and glossing over the fact that Granholm already slashed $3 billion from state spending — Michigan’s Legislature has been unable to produce their own plan to make up the remaining $1 billion budget shortfall with spending cuts alone.
In response to Granholm’s townhall stumping, State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop has rejoined that the Republican-controlled Senate has a plan, a great plan, a big fat list of $900 million in painless spending cuts . . . a super secret plan no one can see, lest it become “a political football” — although, judging from the three times I heard it reported this morning on the radio, the Detroit News article, and the blogosphere buzz, it seems that a top secret budget plan (now a month late), is just as much of a hot button as simply letting us see the list.
If I may make a humble suggestion to cut spending: I’ve noticed that Michigan has between one-third and two-thirds too many legislators, each with a base yearly salary of $80,000. Thinning those ranks will put $4 to $8 million back into the coffers. It’s meager, but it’s a start, and at least it’s a plan I’m willing to publicly announce and acknowledge.