State spending hits record high
Last fall, 114 lawmakers voted to approve at least $1 billion
of that extra spending, and 41 voted for it all.
McHugh asserts that neither liberals nor conservatives prefer overpriced prisons and police, so this budget is not an ideological battlefield. Rather, the real dispute is between taxpayers and the government employee unions whose interests are at stake if raises are not given, or if government jobs are outsourced to private-sector providers. While conceding that few Michigan residents knew about it, McHugh recounts the "loud demonstrations, e-mail campaigns, and uncompromising letters" that these unions used to exert "powerful pressure" on lawmakers to raise taxes and increase spending. "When the governor announced her budget back in February," he writes, "public-sector union members in T-shirts were already handing out fliers supporting tax increases as an alternative to budget cuts." In short, public employee unions drove the process that led to record-setting budgets in 2008. FULL STORY