Michigan — January 4, 2012 at 8:12 am

Slashing school funding and revenue sharing to cities has its benefits: a $1.3 billion surplus


Funny thing, when you slash funding to schools by $1 billion and stop sending tax revenues back to the cash-strapped cities where they were collected, you end up with a pretty big surplus, despite the massive tax cuts given to businesses. How big? Just over a billion dollars big.

The state is bringing in more money than expected. That’s according to a report by the non-partisan Senate Fiscal Agency.

The agency says Michigan ended the fiscal year that ended September 30th with a $1.3 billion surplus. An improving economy and lower income tax refunds are largely credited for the surplus.

The Snyder administration and Michigan Republicans are sure to tout this as evidence that their programs are working. This is clearly absurd of course. They didn’t begin implementing their programs until less than a year ago. The slow turn around in our state’s economy has far more to do with seeds planted by former Governor Jennifer Granholm and by the policies of the Obama administration than it does with what Michigan Republicans have done. In fact, as their policies drive more and more school districts and cities into financial emergencies, we may actually see these gains evaporate in time.

Hopefully by then all the massive business investment and hiring they have promised us will kick in. We’re going to need it.

It’s my hope that some of this surplus will be given back to the schools rather than socking it away or using it to pay for even more business giveaways. We have issues NOW that need to be addressed. As Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer said last May when there was talk of using a small surplus to bolster the Rainy Day fund, that would be “like putting money into your 401(k) when you can’t afford to pay your mortgage.”