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Opinion: By R. Al Bain
All to often we support, elect, and trust those representatives that tell us one thing then once in office do another! The drum beat for a part-time legislature keeps pounding and rightfully so. We don’t need to rewrite our whole constitution for this to be accomplished. The Michigan constitution has rules and procedures that would allow for an amendment for a part-time legislature and not a total rewrite of the state constitution.
The problem is that those we elect to office are not willing to pay the price that would be bestowed upon them in lost wages and benefits that would come with a part-time legislature. The new Michigan Legislature was sworn into office Jan. 12. The next day, they were at work on a proposal that could greatly extend the years that most of them are able to spend in Lansing. It just proves that these legislators have their own interest at heart and not those who have elected them with their eyes on things like pensions and healthcare for themselves and family. A part-time legislature is not only appropriate but also absolutely critical.
In 2010 the legislature worked less than half of the 365-day’s excluding weekends! Now, if they were to cut out all the useless time wasted with resolutions honoring fellow legislators, pro sports figures, and a plethora of other meaningless Legislation we could have a sufficient part-time legislature! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.
Legislative goals can be set for appropriations and other governmental necessities aimed at providing the resources and guidelines necessary to accomplish the goals for state government with a part-time legislature. If the citizens can manage their household budgets and those we elect to represent us that have the same experience, should be able to handle our state government in the same fashion.
Ambassador Bridge reports 41% decline in traffic versus ten years ago
Critics say the traffic study used to justify the new $3.5 billion span is flawed and presents unrealistically inflated estimates such as bridge traffic increasing nearly 80 percent by January 2016, when the DRIC bridge would open. Flawed numbers means toll revenue wouldn’t be enough to cover construction and operational costs, which DRIC backers say is how the bridge would be financed. Supporters say traffic is just one reason to build a new bridge, the other justifications being the creation of construction and other jobs and bolstering trade and border infrastructure security between the two nations. Legislation that would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to participate in the Detroit River International Crossing project died in a Michigan Senate committee last month, effectively mothballing the span for now. It’s expected to be revisited at some point by the new legislature.
State Employee Pay Up 46% Between ’01 and ‘08
A 2009 study co-written by Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard reports that the state saved $3.7 billion in wage, pension and health care expenditures and that Michigan state employee wage growth was close to zero between 2001 and 2008. But James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the data does not back Ballard’s figures. Hohman calls the Ballard study incomplete and inaccurate. The average cost of a state employee was $63,474 per year in 2001. By 2008, this had gone to $93,039. That’s an increase of 46.5 percent over the seven years and more than $15,000 per employee above the rate of inflation. This past spring, a 3 percent pay hike was approved for state employees. The total additional cost to taxpayers for this fiscal year is estimated to be $77 million.
Report of select Bills introduced by the new Michigan Legislature
The House and Senate met this week to elect officers and adopt rules, but took no votes on legislation. Because there were no votes, this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest. Of these nine new Bills one peeked my interest! House Bill 4009 (Repeal concealed pistol “gun-free zone” provision) introduced by Democrat Richard LeBlanc to repeal the “gun-free zone” provision of the concealed pistol permit law which would allow carrying a pistol in schools, day care facilities, sports stadiums or arenas, bars, bar/restaurants, places of worship, college dorms and classrooms, hospitals, casinos, entertainment facilities. The reason this caught my attention was that our new Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville introduced this same legislation last year that was met with criticism and was controversial with the academia community and law enforcement! I wonder if Democratic State Representative Richard LeBlanc will reintroduce a new version of the amendment to Public Act 312 that Senator Richardville introduced in (2010 Senate Bill 1072) to the detriment of local municipalities and a benefit to the Unions? To see a list of several newly introduced bills of interest click the link below.
Michigan’s economic future remains uncertain say’s MSU economist
Charles Ballard, an author and a professor of economics at Michigan State University, spoke with Crain’s Detroit Business on the state’s current economic condition, the loss of manufacturing jobs and what sectors could see growth, declining property-tax revenue, dealing with a nearly $2 billion budget shortfall and Michigan’s unemployment.
Why the Government Wants to Hijack our IRA’s and 401K’s
“Nationalization and Confiscate is proposed”
It’s bad enough that we’ve been forced to bail out Wall Street. But now the Obama administration is hatching plans to raid our retirement savings, too. The U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Labor plan are planning to stage a public-comment period before implementing regulations that would require U.S. savers to invest portions of their 401(k) savings plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) into annuities or other “steady” payment streams backed by U.S. government bonds. Crongresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota blogs about this here Hands Off Our Retirement Savings also see Free Republic U.S. Government plots to confiscate your retirement funds This is part of the socialist agenda! The Federal Government will Control an estimated $3.613 Trillion Dollars in IRA’s and $2.350 Trillion Dollars in 401ks. Your Equity will be placed in U.S. Treasury Bonds, that will Pay out an estimated 3% annually. One major clause is that upon retirement, the value of the Your Retirement Account will be placed into Annuities. Once an individual Dies, the Value of the Account will Automatically become property of the Government. The Program will be Structured much like Social Security Accounts (the biggest Ponzi Scheme ever created).
Some States Running Out Of Homebuyers, Foreclosures Continue
The single biggest problem in the U.S. real estate market is simple: There are very few homebuyers. Michigan is listed amoung these states! That seems obvious, but the “buyers’ strike” has caused house prices to drop, along with an epidemic of foreclosures. What’s worse, the long depression in real estate is not over with home values expected to fall further. RealtyTrac recently reported that more than one million homes were foreclosed upon in 2010. Michigan has a home vacancy rate of 15.98%, the ninth-worst in the the US. Michigan’s loss in population is approximately 200,000 people. A previous article originally stated it as 12,000.
Banks repossess 1 million homes in 2010, expect more in 2011
The bleakest year in the foreclosure crisis has only just begun. Lenders are poised to take back more homes this year than any other since the U.S. housing meltdown began in 2006. About 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages and more will miss payments as they struggle with job losses and loans worth more than their home’s value, industry analysts forecast. “2011 is going to be worse,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. The firm predicts 1.2 million homes will be repossessed this year by lenders.
The Great Transmission Heist: The latest scheme to subsidize solar and wind power to the detriment of rate payers
How would you like to pay higher utility bills to finance expensive electricity from solar and wind power, which you would never use? That’s the issue now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and it deserves more public and political scrutiny before it becomes a reality. FERC has a draft rule that could effectively socialize the costs of paying for multi-billion dollar transmission lines to connect remote wind and solar projects to the nation’s electric power grid. If FERC rules in favor of Big Wind and Big Solar, the new policy would add billions of dollars onto the utility bills of residents of at least a dozen states—including California, Michigan, Oregon and New York—that will receive little or no benefit from the new power lines.
The Midwest Wind Surtax
You’d think poor Michigan has enough economic troubles without the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission placing a $300 million to $500 million annual surtax on the state’s electric utility bills. But on December 16 FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff announced new rules that would essentially socialize the cost of transmission lines across 13 states in the Midwest.
Social Security Is in Far Worse Shape Than You Think
For years, politicians and policymakers have reassured the American public that the Social Security system, which sends monthly checks out to 53 million beneficiaries, is safely solvent — and will be for decades to come. But federal spending and income data from the Treasury Department reveal that the Social Security program is already deep in the red, with outlays exceeding payroll tax revenues by $76 billion in 2010 alone.
We in America do not have government by the majority, we have government by the majority who participate.