December 16, 2009 We agree with State Rep. Kevin Daley (see 'Daley News column, page 9-A). State government is too big.
At no time has it been more obvious than this year—with the state's budget problems, the fleeing of our manufacturing base and the resultant mega-job loss. No work means no spending for thousands of families. No spending translates to revenue sources drying up and the downward spiral perpetuates itself.
Scores of formerly secure, middle-aged residents find themselves out of work which sometimes means the loss of a home, retirement savings, medical benefits, and so on. Dozens of highly qualified people find themselves vying for a single job, most of those opportunities outside of the Great Lakes State.
The only area that has remained steady and secure is that of our state government. A bicameral full-time legislative body where as little as two-to four-year's employment can earn a person $80,000 plus $12,000 for expenses annually and benefits for life. Michigan legislators are the second highest paid in the nation, California tops the list...We'll say no more.
And what are many of these relatively secure, well-paid individuals doing with their time? Not balancing the budget by the deadline. Not agreeing on revenue producing proposals. They're regulating neighborly babysitting and passing laws banning text messaging while driving.
Yes, state government is too big. We urge Daley and other Michigan lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to take an unbiased look at eliminating a full time legislative body in Michigan and re-think the lifetime benefits. It would be most interesting for us taxpayers to see what really could be accomplished if it weren't so easy and rewarding to waste resources and time.