Thursday, September 27, 2007

Budget Boondoggle

For those that still think that the state government has "cut to the bone" with no more that can possibly be cut, and that our income tax should be raised from 3.9% to 4.6% (as the Governor is pushing for), check out the below news clip from WXYZ in Detroit.

The short introduction is this: Governor Granholm is having a new State Police headquarters built to replace the one that the state currently leases from MSU for $1 a year. The price tag? $116 million - $42 million more than it would cost the state to build itself. And who is the contract going to for the construction? A friend and campaign contributor of the Governor's. The legislature has the power to stop it, but they haven't. The video is entertaining to watch - especially as the Governor tries to squirm away from the reporter's questions.

Video Part 1
Video Part 2
Video Part 3


  1. That's nuts, isn't it?

    Now we're hearing they'll vote to raise our taxes 18% TODAY with no significant cuts or reforms.

    Gotta love the Lansing Democrats.


  2. Wow - soo much factually wrong, where to begin?

    1) For starters, the price tag is $45 million, not $116 million; that $116 million price tag is the total annual operations cost of leasing the facility over the next 25 years. I wonder; what sort of cost savings is associated with leasing the space as opposed to hiring however many state workers would be necessary to maintain the facility (and pay for their future health and retirement costs).

    2) Saying it would cost "a dollar a year" to stay in the current facility is complete bullshit; the aging facility costs $370k/year to maintain and needs $2.3 million in repairs.

    That cost also doesn't include the extra future expenses of retrofitting the building (which is decades old) with all of the electrical and telecommuniations equipment that will be needed down the road. It's extraordinarily expensive to run modern cable through these old buildings that predate the advent of the Internet.

    3) This is being used as a way of attacking Granholm, but I don't see any IRS filings that show she's a recipient of campaign contributions from Joel Ferguson. Moreover, this project began under Engler and was awarded without being bid by Engler, not Granholm. You/Young are making all sorts of insinuations about Granholm's relationship with Ferguson, but I find no IRS filings that show he's ever contributed to her campaigns (despite Young's claims):,%20Joel&txtState=MI&txtAll=Y&Order=N

    Moreover, I notice nobody is talking about Gary Granger - the other developer involved in the project - because he's a big-time Republican supporter (and I guess that wouldn't fit in with Steve Young's slanted coverage):,%20Gary&txtState=MI&txtAll=Y&Order=N

    Mike Cox and Terri Lynn Land (republicans) who had the power to stop this project did far more to squirm away from Young's questions (Granholm actually answered them) - but I notice you're not talking about them at all.

  3. More Reading:

    State Police will move headquarters to Lansing despite opposition
    By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press Writer | August 7, 2007 Tuesday 8:32 PM GMT

    The bipartisan State Administrative Board on Tuesday unanimously gave final approval for the Michigan State Police to move to a new headquarters despite some criticism that the $45 million project is too expensive and inadequate.

    The state is leasing the existing headquarters from Michigan State University in East Lansing for $1 a year. The contract runs through 2030.

    Under the plan passed Tuesday, the State Police will move into a new building in downtown Lansing as early as 2009. The state will pay about $3.7 million a year for rent with the option of buying the building outright. Construction will take about 21 months.

    State officials said the current headquarters is more than 70 years old and requires $340,000 a year in maintenance and needs $2.3 million in repairs. They added that the project will make the State Police more efficient, create 540 construction jobs and help boost the area's economy by locating 560 employees in Lansing.

    State lawmakers on the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee had signed off on the project in March by a 14-3 vote.

    But Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Sturgis, attended the administrative board's meeting to urge a "no" vote, arguing that State Police leaders privately do not like the site of the new headquarters.

    While the site will not have a helicopter pad or staging area, State Police Director Col. Peter Munoz said he supports the project. Brown had accused Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration of not letting State Police leaders speak freely.

    Brown said the original intent of the project was to consolidate State Police operations into one central location, but the department still will be spread out at three spots.

    "At a time when our state budget is so tight we have to lay off troopers and park the cars of those still on duty to save gas, what message are we sending to the men and women in uniform and the taxpayers of Michigan by approving a brand new $45 million headquarters?" he asked.

    But Edward Woods III, spokesman for the state Department of Management and Budget, said the current headquarters is deteriorating.

    It would be unusual to consolidate emergency operations and administrative operations in the same building, he said. Woods argued that the state will save money because the new headquarters also will house the Office of Highway Safety, the criminal justice information center and other offices which currently are spread to other buildings.

    Woods stressed that while the state pays $1 to lease the existing headquarters, it also pays $2 million in rent for two other State Police facilities. The state ultimately wants to use state-owned land so it can get federal money to cover the cost of a new emergency operations center, he said.

    The seven-member administrative board includes Granholm, Lt. Gov. John Cherry and three cabinet members the state treasurer, Department of Transportation director and superintendent of public instruction along with Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn land, both Republicans. Representatives for the officials attended the meeting and voted 7-0 to approve the project.

  4. To Rollnggrnade :

    You're right, there is plenty of blame to go around. Republicans and Democrats play the same games. I hope you're not trying to say it's OK because Republicans are doing it too. Both sides are wrong. This site is decidedly not a friend of Republicans or Democrats. Power-hungry tax-wasters exist in both parties.

  5. I agree: cronyism is wrong no matter who's taking a paycheck from it. In fact - in the US congress, it's been nothing but disappointing to watch the Democrats squander the momentum for lobbying reform and against earmarks that existed after the recent spate of politicians being arrested for bribery or the attention focused on earmarks like Ted Stevens "Bridge to Nowhere".

    It would appear they're just as beholden to those suckling at the federal government's teets as any other party.

    I'm all for federally-funded elections (after all, the broadcast airwaves are a public trust that we all own - so we have every right to use them for our electoral process) so that our legislators can spend their time legislating on behalf of their constituents and not special interest groups that shower them with soft money.