Thursday, October 04, 2007

A state-sized temper tantrum

To all of you temper tantrum-throwing adults unhappy with the recent tax increase, grow up and act your age. Never in my life have I been so embarrassed by some of the things I’ve been hearing on the news and reading in the paper. We’re like a huge dysfunctional family. The rest of the country must be laughing their heads off at us.

Why? Because we have Leon Drolet (and his pink pig), executive director of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, organizing a recall effort against Granholm and our legislators over a tax increase that will cost a family of four earning $50,000 a year about $210 dollars. The war in Iraq is costing taxpayers billions and billions of dollars (and was based on a lie), but I don’t hear Drolet calling for Bush’s impeachment.

I also don’t hear taxpayers in Macomb County calling for Drolet’s recall – yet. Drolet serves on the Macomb County Commission and earns $34,069 a year. If he’s spending so much time and energy on the recall, is he doing a good job for the taxpayers of Macomb County? Maybe they should look into that.

We also have the Small Business Association of Michigan following in Drolet’s footsteps, which isn’t really surprising. SBAM and Drolet teamed up and held a teabagger protest against a tax increase earlier this year. The association is now trying to get a proposal onto the ballot that would either repeal or change the tax on certain services such as skiing, consulting and interior design. Sales tax always applied to 26 different services, but the recent budget changes expanded that to 53.

This service tax is a burden and will kill business according to some small business owners, which was the same excuse we heard about raising the minimum wage, yet that didn’t happen. My local television station interviewed a manager at a ski resort who actually said the tax would put them out of business. Global warming may put her ski lodge out of business, but I seriously doubt anyone who spends hundreds of dollars on down-filled jackets, boots and ski equipment will let a 6% tax on a ski lift scare them away.

That same newscast also interviewed the owner of a local gym who said the tax would hurt personal trainers. She said trainers usually charge around $400 dollars and people wouldn’t want a trainer’s assistance if they had to pay an extra $24 tax. Again, I doubt that. If a person can afford $400 for a personal trainer, they’re not going to let $24 stand in their way.

The bottom line is that this is the first income tax increase since 1999 and 36 other states will still have higher taxes than Michigan. And when the new sales tax goes into effect in January, Michigan will rank 27th nationally in the number of taxed services. It’s also worth noting that in 2000 Michigan had 61,493 state employees, but now, under Granholm, the state has 52,259 employees.

If people are going to throw fits and temper tantrums, there are bigger problems they should be focusing their sights on like the war, out-sourcing and the uninsured. Get a grip on reality, people.


abi said...

Great points. And childish temper tantrums really does describe the way Americans react to taxes.

Anonymous said...


Larry said...

He must be mad that the wealthy may have to pay a dollar or two.

Typical Greedy Repug.

CEW said...

People I talked with today at a craft fair (vendors making things with acrylic yarn, doing needlework, carving wood, or making jam -- not rich people) are simply worried that they are going to feel even more squeezed financially. There is a tremendous lack of information regarding the particulars of the state's fiscal situation. People just react to their worst fears. These are not bad people -- some are dems and some are republicans. Overall they are fed up with the partisan dysfunction in the legislature and perceived lack of leadership on Granholm's part in making something happen.
These people are not greedy, but they are stressed, demoralized, frustrated and angry.

It would help the dems to pay attention and reach out to these folks.

BobbyV said...

Having lived for most of my life in New York State, I'm no stranger to taxes of all sorts. In return for our taxes, middle-class workers had access to professional services covering mental health, elder-care, special needs children, substance abuse, adult education, and a host of other family and career focused issues. For the vast majority of hard-working New Yorkers, state agencies were available to help its citizens cope with the injustices dispensed by today’s partisan politics.

Kathy said...

Abi, childish is the key word from what I've been experiencing in my discussions with people. They don't want to give up any services that directly touch their lives, but they don't want to pay taxes that help others either. I guess their parents never explained the concept of sharing with others!

Larry, anonymous just reinforced what I said about temper tantrums. ;-)

CEW, I've sensed the same thing from people I've talked to also, but at the same time many of them don't want to hear any facts. They stubbornly cling to their sound bites and old ways of thinking.

BobbyV, New York sounds great. I think using tax dollars to help citizens cope is a compassionate use of our tax dollars.