By Derek Melot/Bridge Magazine
“It is not power that corrupts, but fear; fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it” – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democracy activist and Noble Prize winner.
* How well does Michigan do versus other states in public investing? Not great, based on figures from the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.
For example, on a per capita resource basis, Michigan is No. 50 among the states for investing in highways. And it’s No. 45 for public safety and No. 47 for natural resources.
The state does better in other rankings: Michigan is No. 13 for investment in K-12 and No. 12 for corrections.:
* Believe it or not, but Michigan is a matter of weeks from the start of budget season. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature will start work on the fiscal 2014 state budget. For some perspective, it’s helpful to know what’s in the budget now. For example, for the current (fiscal 2013) year, the state’s general fund budget is $9 billion.
As you can see on page 8 of this report, four categories of spending (corrections, human services, higher ed and community health) consume $6.9 billion of the general fund – or 77 percent. In other words, if you hear a neighbor or your local lawmaker talk about how easy it would be for them to cut state spending, refer them to this document:
* Gov. Rick Snyder, in his special message about the environment and energy last week, made reference of a blue ribbon panel report on the state parks system. Here’s a link to it:
* Lost in all the rancor over what isn’t getting done – or what might get done but shouldn’t – at the Capitol these days is a bit of actual policy on transportation. Legislation to create a regional transit agency for Southeast Michigan is advancing, as Michigannow.org reports:
* Just in case you thought the spirit of the season had taken hold in the chambers of the State Capitol, take a look at some comments by Rep. Lisa Brown – of vagina fame – about the Michigan House of Representatives: