Saturday, September 29, 2007

Michigan Government Shut Down?

Yes, I usually avoid talking politics, but this time it can't be avoided. The Michigan legislature has so far yet to agree on a budget for the next fiscal year which means we are facing a government shut down. Please this is embarrassing.

So what does a state government shut down mean? Well all state government employees (except the legislature - who are causing this mess in the first place) are sent home for a week of unpaid vacation. That's 35,000 people in a state.

So what won't run when the state government shuts down... State Police (85% of them) won't be working, State Parks will be closed, no Food Inspection, Rest Areas will be SHUT DOWN, no renewing your drivers license or license plates -- if you live on Mackinac Island there will be no trash pick-up or manure pick-up (for all the horses), no state lottery ticket sales, there will be a drawings still because of presale tickets, however if you won the lotto you won't be able to claim your prize, speaking of gambling you won't be able to bet on the horses -- horse racing will be shut down. With the state gaming office closes, the Governor tried to close the casinos in Detroit but a judge ruled against her.

The Michigan Supreme Court - Closed.

EDUCATION: All Department of Education operations will shut down, except for the Michigan School for the Deaf. If Department of Education employees have not returned to work by mid-October, the state school aid payment due on October 22 will not be made.

NATURAL RESOURCES: All DNR operations will be shut down, except a minimal crew to maintain the state’s six fish hatcheries and a small contingent of forest firefighters needed to continue containment operations at the Sleeper Lakes fire in the Upper Peninsula and to respond to other fire emergencies.

TRANSPORTATION: All road construction, routine maintenance, and administrative operations will stop. In addition, six of the state’s lift bridges, in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations, will be locked in the up position, allowing only water traffic to pass. Those bridges are located in Manistee, Bay City, St Joseph, Port Huron and Detroit.

So let's get to work in Lansing... all I have to ask is what where these people doing all summer? Why did we have breaks in the session if this wasn't solved? Why did all the republicans head up to Mackinac Island two weeks ago to hob knob with presidential candidates when there was no budget? Democrats you are not off the hook either.

I just hope that all this political crapola can work itself out by Sunday at midnight to avoid this... because frankly.. it sucks. Not for the politicans but for all the hard working state employees that will be sitting at home with unpaid leave. Ironically the state will still be sending out unemployment checks -- does this mean that the 35,000 state employees are eligible - but how will they sign up the people who would normally take their application will be standing in line right next to them. So let's avoid this and get a freaking budget.

Someone suggested that we elect our stae representatives and senators by lottery from now one... I say why not. The ones we elected don't seem to be working.

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