For state Republicans, not all tax hikes are evil
Pretend for a minute that you're a state lawmaker, and take the following quiz.Do you notice the double-standard? No? Then read on for more background:
• What is always better, more taxes or less taxes?
• What is better, approving a two-cent tax on services that would largely wipe out the state deficit (and cost the average taxpayer about $1.40 a month), or making more cuts in public school funding, likely causing layoffs and other cuts in some districts (including some in northern Michigan)?
• If raising taxes is always bad ("I refuse to balance the state budget on the backs of Michigan taxpayers!”) how can it be good to raise the gasoline tax three cents a gallon per year for three years (as Republicans have recommended).
If you favor a gas tax hike but rejected the services tax, explain the difference.
• Why is it OK to raise the tax on gasoline but not raise the diesel fuel tax to the same level or, as some have recommended, to the even higher national average? Explain.
Republican leaders last week rejected Gov. Granholm's proposed two-cent services tax, the linchpin in her proposal to balance the state budget. Instead, they proposed a $34-per-student cut in state aid. Oddly enough, no one proclaimed "I'm willing to balance the state budget on the backs of Michigan school children.”So, what have we learned? Our state Republicans put business interests before those of average citizens. What else is new?
Republicans have also proposed across-the-board cuts of 4 to 5 percent for every other state program; they have not, however, replaced the $1.9 billion Single Business Tax.
Instead, Republicans are now proposing (with support from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce) to raise the state gasoline tax nine cents. There is no talk, however, of raising the 15-cent tax on diesel fuel (used mostly by businesses) to the same level as the 19-cent gasoline tax, let alone the national average of about 22 cents. [...]
The GOP and the Chamber opposed the services tax because some businesses may find it difficult and messy (claims of widespread businesses failure were pure baloney) and it made great political hay. Who wants more taxes? On the other hand, public schools are the domain of the hated Michigan Educational Association teachers' union, and are fair game.
Awkwardly, the GOP's gas tax hike could actually cost more than the service tax, which was estimated at $16.80 per taxpayer per year; driving 10,000 miles a year at 20 miles per gallon would cost $45 per vehicle. How's your mileage? [emphasis mine]