Friday, September 28, 2007

Michigan Government Shutdown Countdown

It looks like we are on track for a state government shutdown at midnight Sunday evening. The governor went on TV last night to announce that all "essential" government services will continue. The question arises - then what isn't essential? Can we do without the non-essential "services?"

The legislature continues to debate a tax increase. Do you want an 18% income tax increase from 3.9% to 4.6%? Do you think that will help our state's economy? Do you think that serious government reforms should be part of the deal? Be sure to call your state senator and state rep today to let them know. They are set to reconvene at 1pm to continue the debate. This point in time is critical. We can either have long-term systemic government and budget reform, or just another fleece of the taxpayers.

Local Representatives and their contact information:
72nd District - Glenn Steil Jr., 517-373-0840,
73rd District, Tom Pearce, 517-373-0218,
75th District, Robert Dean, 517-373-2668,
76th District, Sak Michael, 517-373-0822,
77th District, Kevin Green, 517-373-2277,
86th District, Dave Hildenbrand, 517-373-0846,
Not sure who your Representative is? Go Here.

Local Senators and their contact information:
28th District - Mark Jansen - (517) 373-0797
29th District - Bill Hardiman - (517) 373-1801
30th District - Wayne Kuipers - (517) 373-6920
Not sure who your Senator is? Go Here.

The question always comes up. What could be cut so that taxes don't have to be increased? Here is the list of $1.9 billion in potential cuts.


  1. Yes, I do want a tax increase. Going from 3.9% to 4.6% is peanuts (which is why you have to keep referring to it as an "18 percent" increase - it sounds worse that way); it's well below Vermont's state income tax rate of 9.5%.

    We could also switch to a progressive tax system like more than 30 other states have - that wouldn't bother me either (and it would negate the anti-tax arguments by making the system fairer for lower-income working folks).

    I'd also like to see an increase in the tax on beer as well (and I'm a regular consumer), which has been a measly $.2 for decades; but which has been fought by the alcoholic beverage lobby.

    That list of cuts from the Mackinac Institute is hilarious; it's full of vague and empty suggestions as well as short-sighted policy. For example:

    - The suggestion to turn state roads over to county law enforcement claims there's zero cost, which is complete bunk and ignores the principle of economies of scale.

    - It suggests eliminating MSU's cooperative agricultural extension at a time when agriscience is at the forefront of emerging industry (biofuels and organic farming).

    - It suggests eliminating the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which would eliminate the money being used to retrain displaced workers (another short-sighted move).

    - It suggests slashing the funding for the Michigan Merit Award, taking thousands of students out of contention for higher education (and keeping Michigan's educational attainment rate below the national average at a time when the information economy is dawning on us).

    And then there's the usual popular conservative programs: de-funding public education, kicking people off of medicare, slash wages and benefits for public employees (funny how conservatives only want workers to make concessions in bad economic times - never the CEOs or management of private corporations even if they're bleeding cash), and privatizing everything. What a hoot.

  2. It's interesting to me that those who support tax increases most are those who live off public funds, such as yourself. You might want to take a walk over to the economics department at GRCC and learn a thing or two about the economic affects of increased taxes, peanuts or not. A lot of peanuts add up to a big pile.

    Or just read the link at the right of your screen, called "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat.

  3. It's interesting to me that those who support tax cuts also live off of public funds, such as Leon Drolet and Mike Bishop (the latter of whom is currently keeping buried a bill that past nearly unanimously in the house to reduce the compensation of state legislators who have good pay and one of the best health care deals in the world; 90% coverage for only 6 years of coverage - after which they're stupidly term-limited out of office)

    If I take a walk over to GRCC's economics department, I might also learn a thing or two about the economic effects of increased government spending (especially given that virtually all economic development in the private sector is heavily subsidized by government).

    I'm on board with some of Bastiat's theory, but many of the arguments he would make for deregulation have not proven true over the past few decades in which such policy has not resulted in increased competition, lower prices, and better service for customers (quite the opposite in fact).

  4. I also find it interesting that the so-called pro-business, pro-life, tough on crime conservatives oppose a modest tax increase.

    Right now the wind is howling outside my door and it is snowing to beat the band, yet I know that my road will not be plowed, which not only effects my ability to go out and spend but also effects the ability of emergency vehicles to respond to accidents, as well as leads to more accidents.

    There are fewer police on the roads and in our cities at a time when crime rates are rising. Cause and effect?

    Kicking people off medicare and medicaide will lead to more premature deaths from neglect and or the ability to pay, that or will lead to still higher insurance premiums as hospitals pass their costs onto those that can afford them.

    And, to look at the larger picture, this country is now almost 9 trillion dollars in debt. We pay over 120 billion dollars a year in interest to countries like China, who are then using our tax dollars to bolster their own economies. True patriots, those who continue to espouse increased debt over fiscal responsibility...NOT!!

    It's interesting to note as well that as we have gone deeper into debt as a state and a nation that our overall fiscal health has plummeted, and that, after WW2, when all those vets came back home and went to college on the GI Bill, that we made the greatest technological in the history of mankind. Your tax cuts have ended all that, ended our technological edge, ended the open access to education that so many enjoyed, plunged hundreds of thousands of students into debt that they cannot afford, removing that money that they would normally spend on themselves from the economy.

    Conservatives have turned this country into a nation where everyone looks out for themselves, and no one looks to the good of the country. Bravo.

    One final comment:

    If you look around, you will find a copy of a report, put out by Congress, that purports to show the adverse impact taxes have on the economy. (I can't remember the name, but it was put out in 1999 or so).

    If you take the two graphs in that report and overlay them, you will see that, with the exception of WW2, there is absolutely no correlation between taxes and GNP.

    Greed, shortsighted fiscal policies, and a complete and total disregard for the good of the United States of America are the halmark of Conservatives and are reflected in their drive to constantly cut taxes. But I gotta hand it to you, so long as the good of the USA is not what you are aiming for, tax cuts are good party politics. appealing to the lowest attributes of human behavior usually works. At least, until the damage becomes evident.

  5. scottvanderploegMay 18, 2008 at 5:43 AM

    no more tax cuts for big business every one should pay the same. this is why we are in trouble now. big business is just that big business big pocket books why should they get tax breaks for comming hear? i say screw that! pay for what you own and make. if every one paid the same tax rate it would be fair. and we wouldnt be in trouble. welfare make it incentive based get a job and we will help you dont want to work sorry cant help you. the system is bleed dry from every one lining thair pockets. oh and you state workers tighten your belt like every one else take a cut like every one else. you want change but cant take some of the cuts?you want the money train to keep going, well guess what its about to derail and your in the first car! lets see if i cant aford some thing i dont buy it take a hint lansing zero balance means zero balance in every one elses check book!