Monday, July 16, 2007

LTTE: Lawmakers bad employees

The following letter to the editor appears in today's Grand Rapids Press.

If you were your company's boss, and you had employees who weren't doing the work they were hired to do, wouldn't you get on their case? While Michigan continues to deal with economic and budget woes, some state lawmakers decided to put a two-week vacation above the interests of our state.

Universities and school districts are having to make budget projections based on uncertainty. Businesses considering moving to Michigan are scared away by the state's poor credit rating. Why aren't such lawmakers as Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop willing to work toward a solution to this budget crisis? What's more, many lawmakers oppose a tax increase. Never mind the fact that Republicans raised the gas and cigarette taxes when John Engler was governor, or that our personal income and business tax rates are lower than those of most other states. Or that a bipartisan panel recently said that new revenues are needed to get our state out of the fiscal and economic hole.

I certainly don't fault Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has worked tirelessly over the past few years to fix the enormous problems Michigan faces. Michigan lawmakers are paid a salary of $80,000 per year, more than state legislators in most other states.

What business do they have in the Legislature if they choose vacationing over working?

As Americans, we are the bosses of our elected officials. As Michigan residents, we must remind our lawmakers that they're not paid to fiddle while our state burns.

-- SCOTT URBANOWSKI/Kentwood
There are actually quite a few goods ones in today's Press, including another one that uses the 'fiddling while Michigan burns' metaphor. So if you want a look at what's going on beyond the Morning Sun, have at it. (There's also more illustrious framing of the issue here.)

(I should note that in the version I sent in, the paragraphs didn't break the way they do here. So if, say, the third to last paragraph didn't make sense, now you know why.)

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