Amid all the publicity of the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy and bailout, the scramble to find money for road repairs and school superintendents who have spun funding increases as reductions, what may be lost is that the overall state budget is projected to increase by $2 billion in fiscal 2014-15.

In fact, the state will spend about $4.7 billion more than it did in 2011-12, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. An increase in federal money accounts for $2 billion of that $4.7 billion increase over the past three years.

The state has appropriated $53.12 billion for 2014-15. The overall state budget was $48.42 billion in 2011-12, then increased to $48.55 billion in 2012-13 and is at $51.15 billion this year, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. Those figures include federal dollars. For the 2014-15 budget that has been proposed, $21.73 billion is federal money.

“Am I surprised? No,” said Jason Gillman, a tea party activist from Traverse City.

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“Truthfully, people have given up trying to keep track. Are other people going to be surprised? They aren’t going to care. If they cared, they’d see it coming, too.”

The state’s economic rebound has caused tax revenues to increase even after business tax cuts and a slight reduction in the personal income tax rate, said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

“It’s all the more reason to be skeptical of policymakers demanding more taxpayer money,” Hohman said.

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See also:

Low-Hanging Fruit Can Help Fund Roads

Budget Watchdog: State Has Billions In Unbudgeted Costs


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A “bottlenecker” is someone who uses the power of the government to limit competition in the market and artificially boost their own profits. Bottleneckers use a variety of methods to achieve their goals, including tax loopholes, regulations, occupational licensing requirements, minimum wage laws and many more. The end result when these special interest bottleneckers succeed is fewer choices and higher prices for consumers, fewer job opportunities for workers and less innovation throughout the economy.

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