Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the City Annual Follow-up

Each year we've looked at past State of the City speeches to see what was proposed and what was actually accomplished. See last year's analysis, as well as 2004's.

A quick recap: Two years ago, the mayor trumped more money for schools, city-school partnerships in administration, and more environmental education. He accomplished essentially nothing of what he promised in 2004.

Last year, the mayor focused on more government intervention in development, a personal crusade against global warming, and a promise to keep pressing for wasteful and espensive mass transit systems. Once again, not much accomplished here.

The interesting thing is that he has focused very little on actual operations of city government. What does city government do? Or, rather, what should a city government do? Provide police and fire, run a water and sewer system, provide for decent roads, and create an environment where business and people want to move to.

But what, if anything, has the mayor proposed to ensure that these things are provided? Nothing. The mayor confuses the health of the city with the growth of city government. A constant theme in his speeches is that state revenue-sharing has been reduced. City government should remain small and relatively non-interventionist in the economy. Less money for city government means fewer busybody bureaucrats, and that's like kryptonite to politicians.

It's most important that the city stick to core city functions. However, this mayor and city commission continue to insist that it is their role to practice social engineering. When government picks the winners and losers, we all lose.

Monday, January 30, 2006

State of the Statist

Governor Granholm's State of the State speech was a surprising call for expansion of government, even for our current governor.

According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the governor called for 20 expansions of state government and only one reduction in state government. Apparently our governor has yet to take Economics 101. Michigan has been competing to be the worst economy in the nation, and the governor is doing a great job of proposing greater bureaucracy, government, and taxation to make sure things stay that way.

Among the highlights of the governor's proposed expansion of government, and consequently, increased taxation, are:

  • Throw more money at poorly-performing, bloated, public schools
  • A state-run 401(k)-like retirement program
  • More regulation and taxation of the industries in Michigan that are actually creating jobs
  • Expand state-provided health care

    We all know there's no such thing as a free lunch. Our governor apparently thinks that regulation and taxation are appropriate methods for lifting Michigan out of the economic toilet. In the mean time, the auto industry is booming in the southern US, where jobs are being created, factories are expanding, and economies are growing. It's time to take a look at the root of the problems in Michigan and address them.

    Once again, we offer our suggestions on how to fix Michigan's economy:

    - Lift the cap on charter schools so competition, not bureaucracy, drives improvement in public education
    - Make Michigan a Right to Work state so that those who don't wish to join a union have a choice not to
    - Eliminate the Single Business Tax, the most onerous business tax in the nation
    - Reduce the state income tax
    - Dramatically reduce state and local government red tape