Roger Kahn on State Budget Crisis

Posted In: Politics, State, Opinion,   From Issue 646   By: Roger Kahn

04th October, 2007     0

Editor, the Review;

By now many have heard that the budget problem in Lansing has been addressed. The eventual solution was a mix of spending reforms, cuts and tax increases.

The tax component of the package raised our income tax from 3.9 to 4.35 percent.

Legislation also passed that expands Michigan's 6 percent sales tax to certain services like tanning salon visits and landscaping.

I have received a tremendous amount of contact from people in our area urging me to oppose additional taxes. Thank you all for taking the time to write and call my office. I voted no on these tax increases as the cost to our families is simply too great.

My focus has always been on reforms. They offer true savings year after year by changing the way government operates. Both tax increases and cuts only provide one-time revenue or savings, and are just quick fixes.

The better approach is bringing fundamental reform to government.

That's why I was pleased that two very important reforms I have sponsored were included in the final budget deal.

The first requires government efficiency studies so we in Lansing make sure we are spending your tax dollars wisely. The second reform allows for third-party service providers for mental health care in our prisons. This will allow us to unify the delivery of mental and physical health and therefore improve the quality of correctional care. We can also find the most efficient providers.

An additional component to the agreement was the signing of a 30-day continuation budget. I have publicly urged Governor Granholm to come back to the bargaining table so that we could avoid a shutdown.

With the continuation budget now signed, vital services continue without interruption.

There have been many tense moments leading up to this eventual agreement. Emotions run high in times like these, but that only illustrates the importance of the work you've elected me to do.
This budget did not go far enough in reforming government, but it is an important start. Within this agreement is an acknowledgment that there are reforms to be made. I will work to make sure more reforms are enacted in the coming budget year.

My first focus has been and remains retaining and creating jobs in Saginaw and Gratiot counties. With a reform-oriented approach, I believe it can be accomplished.

That's what I'm fighting for in the Michigan Senate.

Roger Kahn, M.D.
State Senator
32nd District


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