With its shrinking manufacturing base and debilitated automakers, probably no other state has had to endure the continuous wave of fiscal misery that Michigan has over the last decade. But The Times reports today on its front page that the Wolverine State has a $457 million surplus and is projecting $632 million in additional revenue over the next two years. We’ll find out today if Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will spend it, sock it away or a combination of the two when he presents his budget today.
“After a decade of declining revenues, it’s pretty doggone good news,” state budget director John E. Nixon told The Times. “Things have turned.” A lot of the actions taken by the first-term governor to affect the turn, such as reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit and taxing public employee pensions, certainly whacked the middle class and working poor.
Still, I greeted Nixon’s quote with the same “Hell yeah!” enthusiasm I did Clint Eastwood’s ad for Chrysler that aired during the Super Bowl. The one where the Hollywood icon and Republican says, “How do we come from behind? How do we come together and win? Detroit is showing us it can be done. And what’s true about them is true about all of us. This country can’t be knocked down with one punch. We get right back up again.” Rove condemned the car commercial as “a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.” Surely, “the Architect” is equally none-too-pleased by Michigan’s change in fortunes, right?
After a lot of pain and adversity, a company has scrambled off the mat, a vital U.S. industry is getting back on its feet and the state that depends on it is rebounding. As the University of Michigan fight song goes, “For Michigan, we cheer for Michigan.”