Expected state budget surplus bad news for Gov. Rick Snyder's Michigan reinvention plan

| Tuesday, May 17, 2011
| |

Former White House chief of staff turned Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Emanuel made that statement to a group of CEOs just weeks after President Barack Obama was elected and faced the worst U.S. economic crisis in 70 years. Emanuel elaborated:

"Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."

Gov. Rick Snyder is describing Michigan in similar terms. He's taking swift, controversial actions to right the state's fiscal ship.

But the state's financial crisis is beginning to ease, threatening Snyder's momentum in cutting costs and implementing a long-term fix for the state budget.

Economists on Monday agreed that Michigan is likely to end this fiscal year with an unanticipated surplus of $429 million. That's touched off a debate about what to do with the extra cash. Restore some cuts to K-12 education and universities? Rebuild the state's rainy day fund? Undo the tax on pensions?

What do you think?

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