Who’s gonna get the money? It’s expected that the state of Michigan might well have a few hundred million in surplus revenue in this year’s budget … and the competitors for a share of the bonus are already lining up.
Certainly, Michigan cities and other governmental units are looking for a bigger share. Municipalities have been short-changed for years. Need we mention our public school systems? But our deteriorating roads (we have the highest big-trucker load limits in the land) and the price for repairs are another big factor clamoring for attention.
Lurking in the background of all of this is that if the city of Detroit goes bankrupt, along with some other Michigan cities, the tab for Michigan taxpayers who are constitutionally liable for public employee entitlements could be a big one. But that one’s still up in the air and down the road.
Our cities, which have seen shrinking revenue sharing for several years now, should get some early help. Our cities’ schools, to the extent that money would go for actual classroom offerings and expanded academic opportunities should get help also.
Money for cities and schools should be measured against their individual efforts to cut expenses in the form of sharing services and controlling entitlements.
Our roads make a mockery of our claim to be the automotive capitol of the country. Serious thought should be given to making our most traveled freeways toll roads. That’s a real-time user-pays system. Why not investigate how much I-94 and I-96 are costing us, and whether the big truckers using them are even buying their fuel in Michigan?
We’re taking modest steps to solve some very big problems. But let’s be thankful for the gains we seem to be making.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.