The Great Recession has meant tough times for state governments. Michigan has been hit extra hard and leaders in the state have been fighting over a shrinking budget for several years. These budget battles have led to brief government shutdowns in years past. But with the new fiscal year starting October 1st, leaders in the state seem to have resolved their differences.
The leadership is putting the budget proposal in front of their caucuses today to gauge support. The Detroit News reports the proposal "includes a 3 percent cut in the budgets of most state departments and an early retirement program for state workers."
Leaders are trying to close a $484 million dollar budget gap. The heat is turned up on legislators because the State's Constitution says "proposed expenditures from any fund shall not exceed the estimated revenue thereof." That means they have to have a balanced budget every year - no deficit spending.
Other's have argued that elected officials should have their pay and benefits cut if they don't pass the budget ontime. Here's what John Logie, the former mayor of Grand Rapids, proposed in an opinoin piece in the Grand Rapids Press:
"IF, on or before June 30, the House of Representatives and Senate have not both passed a complete budget, and the Governor or Lt. Governor has not signed it into law, all pay and benefits for all 150 elected officials is suspended per diem until the foregoing is accomplished; whereupon payment and benefits will recommence, without recoupment."
What do you think? Should elected officials be held accountable this way?