With official revenue estimates that came out this past week showing that the State of Michigan isn't taking in as many tax dollars as expected, word is circulating that Republican leaders in Lansing may be thinking about actually cutting expenses.
Now would be a good time to remind everyone what candidate Rick Snyder ran on in 2010: "Value for Money Budgeting".
Though he was not my choice in the 2010 primary, as a CPA and conservative, it was pretty exciting to hear candidate and fellow CPA, Rick Snyder, talk about the need for state government to measure the outcomes of tax dollars spent and then work to ensure those dollars are spent in a way that maximizes value. Admittedly, it is difficult to implement, because when you identify outcomes that are valued highly...it also means that you are saying other outcomes are not as valuable - which can ruffle feathers. Corporate welfare comes to mind as a "less valuable" way to spend our state money. Empty mass transit buses would be another. Billions have been identified.
During the four years I was in Lansing after Governor Snyder was elected, he visited our caucus seven or eight times. He often asked if anyone had general questions. I regularly asked him, "When are we going to implement 'value for money budgeting'?" The answer was always something like, "We're working on it." Yeah...
There has only been one Appropriations subcommittee chairman that has ever done Value for Money Budgeting - Senator Pat Colbeck. During 2011 - 2014, he chaired the Appropriation subcommittees over the Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs. Unlike any other committee, his hearings entailed wrangling with the state departments over which metrics and performance measurements should be used and what outcomes should be expected with the taxpayer money allocated. That's the right way and he was able to get parts of his work into statute. Senator Colbeck's reward for being the only one who got it right? These next two years, it appears he is the only returning GOP Senator to not be appointed to a chairmanship.