Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You can fool some of the people some of the time...

State Republicans got called on the carpet by the Traverse City Record-Eagle for their double-standard on taxes:

For state Republicans, not all tax hikes are evil
Pretend for a minute that you're a state lawmaker, and take the following quiz.

• 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.
Do you notice the double-standard? No? Then read on for more background:
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.”

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]
So, what have we learned? Our state Republicans put business interests before those of average citizens. What else is new?


Lew Scannon said...

That gas tax increase is reeally going to suck when gas prices skyrocket after we attack Iran next month.

abi said...

So, what have we learned? Our state Republicans put business interests before those of average citizens.


I wish I could say it was peculiar to your state.

CEW said...

Is attacking Iran really in the President's day planner?

I am so tired of partisanship at the state level. The state cannot afford the partisan dance much longer.

What can we do?

1. Urge legislators to take view beyond the election cycle, detach from partisanship, and look in the same direction--forward.

2. Begin to see Michigan as a whole entity--one Michigan (Our Michigan), rather than a constellation of opposing, adversarial binaries (red/blue, urban/rural, rich/poor, labor/management, white/non-white).

3. Accept our special history and relationship to the automotive industry, but promote diverse economic development. Encourage small business and promote local economies that can sustain communities and cultivate local culture.

4. Educate children to become human beings, engaged citizens, and independent thinkers, not mere "good workers." Help them develop an appreciation and love of their home state, so that they might want to stay here, and improve the place, rather than become migratory workers in search of better opportunity.

5. Embrace Motown at the state level as the cultural gem that it is.

Kathy said...

Lew, it does look more and more like gas prices are responding to the situation in Iran. Oil prices spiked $5 a barrel yesterday.

Abi, I forgot, you come from Romney territory. He raised taxes in a sneaky way in your state (while claiming he didn't raise taxes), but did back down on some business taxes when they starting crying.

CEW, I'd say there's a very real possibility the president plans on attacking Iraq. This lays out some of those reasons in a pretty articulate manner.

Moving closer to home, you make some good points, and I see signs that some of them are already evolving and being implemented, but we certainly have a long way to go, especially on your 5th point. Detroit has the potential to be every bit like Chicago, but we need everyone in the state to support the city, not just a handful of high profile business people or citizens.

Libby Spencer said...

Why am I not surprised?