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A roundup of recent Michigan newspaper editorials The state House passed its version earlier in the week, cutting roughly $283 million from the governor's proposal.
Part of that money is being set aside for future use. The Senate was expected late Thursday to pass a spending plan that trimmed $276 million from Snyder's request, and also sets a large chunk of money aside to be spent later. Holding back some money is not necessarily a bad decision. Both the House and Senate want to have cash on hand to revamp the teacher pension plan, which is underfunded by $26 billion and holds just 60 percent of what is needed to cover future obligations. Republican lawmakers are pushing a plan to shift newly hired teachers out of defined benefit pensions and into 401(k) style retirement saving plans. Doing so will require some upfront funding. Finally moving to head off the coming public pension crisis in Michigan is a smart move. The Legislature failed to pass a reform measure in the last session, but will make another try this year. Having the money on hand to make the legislation possible will increase its chance of passage. But not all of the money sliced from the Snyder budget is being set aside for that purpose. Lawmakers also shifted money to kate spade big sale some of their own agenda items. Included on that list is an income tax cut. Lawmakers failed in an earlier attempt to cut the state's 4.25 percent income tax, but seems determined to try again. The benefit of a small tax cut must be weighed against the programs Michigan must slash to cover the lost revenue. One item sacrificed in the House budget is a significant contribution to the rainy day fund. Snyder has been faithful in building up the fund; it now contains more than $612 million. The governor wanted to add another $266 million this year to bring the fund closer to the magic billion dollar mark. That's a good investment for a couple of reasons. First, it will help spare Michigan from drastic spending cuts should tax revenues drop. And a healthy budget stabilization fund helps keep the state's bond rating higher, bringing down the cost of borrowing. Lawmakers have always had trouble saving that money, but it is just as prudent for the state government to set aside a nest egg as it is for its families to do so. Money was added by the House and Senate to the governor's education budget. Both chambers raised the per pupil allowance. But lawmakers slashed funds from the Corrections budget intended to beef up inmate training and re entry programs. That would be money well spent, since such efforts are proven to reduce recidivism, and should be restored. The budgets now go to conference committee to be reconciled, and the governor is likely to keep lobbying for his priorities. Lawmakers should give much more consideration to saving the rainy day fund contribution, and to postponing an income tax cut until Michigan has met its infrastructure, education and health care needs. Times Herald (Port Huron). May 3, 2017 Our roads get riskier; only you can help Automakers and government regulators tell us that vehicles are safer than they've ever been. One agency's video shows a modern sub compact car colliding with a large, full size sedan from the early 1970s, when bigger meant safer. The mini car tears the wide body classic in half, and the dummies inside the new car would have walked away from the accident. So why are our highways becoming so much more dangerous? For the second year in a row, the Michigan State Police are reporting a 10 percent increase in highway fatalities for 2016. The 1,064 people who died on Michigan roads last year represent the largest number in a decade and continue a trend that only seems to be accelerating. Crashes were up from 2015 to 2016, injuries kate spade canada outlet sale were up, kate and spade bags and fatalities were up from 963 to 1,064. There is some good news in the grim statistics. Alcohol involved highway fatalities fell 11 percent. The number of fatalities involving young drivers ages 16 to 20 fell 7 prices at kate spade outlet percent year over year. But there is bad news, too. The number of crashes, injuries and deaths involving drivers who are impaired by drugs appears to be increasing, the State Police report. Then there are statistics to blame. Analysts suggest that highways here and across the country are becoming more hazardous simply because more of us are driving, and we're driving more. That's because the rebounding economy puts more people on the road going to jobs, shopping and recreation. And lower gasoline prices make all that more affordable. But we also have to believe a larger factor involved is that we are losing our driving skills. Even if we know what we are doing behind the wheel, we are not doing it because we are distracted by cell phones, text messages, vehicle dashboards full of complicated dashboards and the breakfast we picked up at the drive through window. We'd all be better drivers if only we paid attention to driving while we were doing it. Attitudes toward each other and toward the laws designed to protect us are also slipping.
Aggressive and hostile driving, coupled with disregard for simple protective devices like red lights and stop signs put everyone at risk. Yes, it is always the other guy. Just remember the first person to arrive at your next traffic collision will probably be you.
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