What was remarkable about tonight’s State of the State address from Governor Rick Snyder was how unremarkable it was.
The state’s budget is balanced without tricks or gimmicks, its long-term liabilities are under control, and there is $500 million in the state rainy day fund. Even the “controversial” portion of One Tough Nerd’s speech – that he wanted to raise road user fees – was not controversial (user fees are a dedicated revenue stream to pay for essential government services).
Yet just two years ago, the state could take none of these fundamentals for granted. Under Jennifer Granholm, the state budget was in perpetual budget crisis, its governor substituted class warfare for serious pension or health cost liabilities reform, and the state’s rainy day fund was nearly threadbare with just $2 million in the cookie jar.
What was once Michigan’s dysfunction is now the nation’s.
President Barack Obama has followed the Granholm formula to a tee, and today Washington is in perpetual crisis, steered by an executive more interested in scoring political points than government fundamentals. “We’re a role model,” cheered Snyder in his SOS speech. “Washington should follow the model we’re using here. We do things right.”
In truth, one-third of Washington is following the Snyder model – the Republican-controlled House, which has passed budgets as well as proposed solutions for long-term entitlement liabilities (typically, Nerd the Non-partisan refuses to give his own party credit). Meanwhile, President Granholm II and his Democratic Senate have failed to pass a budget in three years.
If America has wanted a Michigan model, it would have elected the Nerd’s twin, Mitt Romney.