That should be the headline after today's House Subcommittee hearing. To the delight of those in the history community, a substitute for the Senate bill was approved and moved to the full Committee that effects a 10% cut, due to the revenue hits the State continues to feel, but maintains the Michigan Historical Center intact, as a unit, to continue safeguarding and promoting our heritage.
For numbers conscious folk, the '08-09 budget is $52,874,200 (and includes "Arts" and "Libraries"). Subcommittee voted out $47,892,800, nearly a $5 million reduction. But Michigan's core history programs are kept intact.
All three members of the Subcommittee said good things about the importance of Michigan history and culture. Tough time with tough decisions, but, eg, when a certain Department budget that is a background service provisioner is over $400 million (yes, we need computers and systems, but we need quality of life around here as well), it sure says that we can the right thing here. And, no, I am not in favor of any new mandatory taxes.
Hats off to Chair Shanelle Jackson, who clearly understands the value of history to our State's future. Rep. Lee Gonzales also spoke to the value of the State Historic Preservation Office programs and their link to the federal historic preservation review process that aids rebuilding Michigan cities and renovating historic structures all across these beautiful peninsulas.
Let's hope the full Committee follows suit. Keep the Center together. After all, nearby states -- eg, Illinois -- aren't breaking up their history agencies despite their budget problems.