Friday, May 18, 2007

GET READY FOR SMOKE AND MIRRORS FROM LANSING

Newly released economic data will be spun by Lansing as good news. DON’T BELIEVE IT! Although collections will be higher than last year much of this is due to timing differences caused by when the infamous Single Business Tax (SBT) is actually collected. Not only is the temporary impact of this timing difference likely to return to trend in June, but future collections will be worse than anticipated. The reason is simple – Michigan is not creating new non-manufacturing jobs. Given the millstone of extraordinarily burdensome healthcare and pension costs schools will be forced to sacrifice more jobs on the inflexibility alter in Lansing. Not only is there NO MOVEMENT on containing healthcare and pension costs; irresponsible and (apparently) economically incompetent legislators like Andy Meisner in the House have passed legislation designed to ensure NO ALTERNATIVE cost savings measures could be pursued outside of the restrictive, expensive, and politically tainted collective bargaining process. That these legislators cannot see that teacher jobs will sacrificed in the name of such madness speaks to their slavish adherence to party/union demagoguery. Please see my prior post; I'm stunned that this incompetent, ill advised, and economically suicidal legislation passed in the house. This kind of lunacy not only contributes to our current problems - it pours gas on the fire. Apparently Andy and his friends live in an alternate universe. Maybe they should read what their own agencies publish. This passage is directly from the State Fiscal Agencies own document:

State and national economic data support our conclusion that actual collections are weaker than they appear to be. University of Michigan economists noted the following in their most recent state forecast (The Michigan Economic Outlook for 2007-2008 April 2007 Forecast Update by Joan Cary and George Fulton):

“The revised data suggest that the current employment situation is considerably weaker than originally depicted. Job losses during the past two years are now roughly double the previously reported decline. More troubling, the new data reveal that the one relatively bright spot in the employment picture, modest job growth in the private non-manufacturing sector, began to evaporate in late 2005.”

Lansing’s inability to act on the budget, the lack of any initiatives dealing with overdue structural changes, and a troubling propensity to disregard basic economic facts has created Michigan’s own Cerberus. Standing in stark contrast to the personality of the Cerberus that is gaining control of the Chrysler group, the clear personalities of this three headed legislative dog include ignorance, incompetence, and decay. Local schools are left with to deal with Lansing's inaction while teachers, staff, tax payers, and children are the ones that are paying the price.