Friday, September 28, 2007

MI Government Shutdown

MI lawmakers are working overtime to solve our budget crisis. As the new fiscal year begins on Monday, the legislators have yet to come up with a budget they can agree on (as they do not agree with the one Governor Granholm submitted 8 months ago). Reds fighting blues, reds fighting reds, etc. Now the Governor is ordering a shutdown of all nonessential government operations effective Monday if no resolution is passed by Sunday 11:59. She won't file for an extension (to further work on finding a budget that all can agree on) and spend more money we don't have.

What I really want to talk about is the lottery. In a bulletin posted by one of my friends (a real life friend, even!) it was asserted that the Governor is a hypocrite because she won't sign a budget that has cuts in education funding but her government shutdown would cease lottery sales (money that "funds education"). A math lesson using completely hypothetical low numbers to illustrate how the lottery works:

1) The State sets an education budget. Let's say this budget is $1,000,000. Note: the State sets a budget before having any clue whatever about how much money the lottery will bring in.

2) Lottery funds come in after the budget has been approved. Let's say that the lottery made $500,000. Most people think this is what happens:

$1,000,000 Original budget
+ 500,000 Lottery Sales

This is not what happens. What actually happens is this:

1) $1,000,000 education budget

2) $500,000 lottery sales

$1,000,000 Original budget
+ 500,000 Lottery sales
- 500,000 Pulled back out from original budget
$1,000,000 Back to original budget

Essentially, whatever is made in lottery money only makes it possible for the state to pull out money and redistribute it into the general fund to use where needed. It doesn't matter if the lottery makes $1 or $1,000,000. The state budgets for education first from the general fund and all the lottery does is allow the state to pull money back out.

So, she's not a hypocrite. I'm sure she is, we all are, but not here. That's how lotteries work. They don't help fund education, they help fund whatever the State needs it for. By the way, that's not a Granholm policy. That's the way it's worked in MI under all of the governors and it works that way in other states.

On the subject of the shutdown, I've got to tell you, that woman has balls. Big ones. It's not like, all of a sudden, she didn't get her way and she's going to throw a temper tantrum. This budget stalemate has been going on for 8 months. People suddenly start caring, though, when it's going to inconvenience them. I say that even as it will inconvenience me in two ways, though I'm only sharing one (stolen from NBC's Detroit affiliate):

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