March 18, 2009 The thing that has surprised me the most as a newly-elected state representative is how painfully slow it is working at the Capitol.
Michigan is facing the worst economic crisis since WWII, but even though we are already more than half way through March, so far we've only passed a handful of resolutions and a few bills (resolutions merely express the opinion of the Legislature but they carry no force of law).
Last week I had to sit through a committee meeting to discuss a resolution urging skyscrapers to turn off lights at night so as not to confuse migratory birds. Never mind that Michigan has had the highest unemployment rate in the nation for 17 out of the past 18 months. Never mind that one out of every 10 workers is unemployed. No, let's talk about birds.
I'm not arguing that lawmakers should rush to pass legislation; in fact I'm inclined to believe we already have enough laws on the books and don't need to be adding that many more. I'm also not saying we shouldn't take time to properly deliberate. But I am greatly concerned that lawmakers are ignoring the real problems in front of us.
Michigan has a $1.5 billion budget shortfall. This is the same size budget shortfall that briefly shut down the government in 2007. Yet there seems to be no sense of urgency in Lansing. With billions of federal Obamabucks coming into our state and free money raining from
the sky, happy days are
Until a year or two from now, when the money is gone and all we have to show for it is another budget deficit and more national debt. It's time to get mad. It's time to kick the Legislature into high gear so we can get our state back on track.
I look forward to hearing your comments on these important issues. Please feel free to contact me by calling 517-373-1800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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