Editorial: Good economic news a welcome change for state

A number of positive signs regarding the state’s economy were reported this week.

A University of Michigan economist told state officials he predicted nearly half, or 44 percent, of the jobs lost in Michigan over a decade-long recession should be restored by the end of 2015.

Obviously, that is still a year and a half away and even then, 56 percent of the lost jobs will remain unfilled. Still, in a state that experienced the worst effects of the recession than any other, it gives pause for optimism.

Coupled with that news was this from the Treasury Department – tax revenues for the 2013-14 fiscal year are projected to be up $200 million. Even better, tax revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year are up between $650 and $700 million since January, when the last estimating conference was held.

There is a catch, however, and that is much of the boost seems to be a one-time event. As Alpena News columnist Steve Fletcher has shared in previous columns, state officials believe a significant portion of that extra revenue stems from extra capital gains and dividend income from those who, fearing higher tax rates from Congress to deal with the national economy, cashed in stocks at the end of last year.

The reality remains, however, state officials will have more money with which to work in budget preparations. State officials are using June 1 as the target date to have a new fiscal year budget in place for consideration.

After years of negative economic news in Michigan, any good news is cause for celebration.