Feb 8, 2007

Republicans refuse to give up a cup of coffee a week to invest in their community

It makes you a little, actually a lot, sad that my fellow Michiganders, mostly Republicans, refuse to give up one lousy latte mocha at Starbucks a week to ensure our most vulnerable senior citizens can stay in their homes, children will be protected, at-risk children will get the head start on education they desperately need to succeed and we are able to keep up the infrastructure that truly attracts businesses and companies to an area.

As part of a plan to make-up a $3 billon shortfall in the state budget without even deeper cuts in essential services that residents depend on, the Governor proposed her budget today that calls for a combination of spending cuts and a 2 percent levy on services. For the average family that will mean an increase of about $1.33 a week. Now, I know there are some very stingy people out there who want a free ride and refuse to pay their fair share, but not wanting to part with an extra cup of coffee to invest in their own state and local community is just sad.

The Governor has signed 93 tax cuts since she took office in 2002, and she has had to do this while making cuts to erase the budget deficit left in her lap from the previous Governor.

Taxes have been cut every year for the last 15 years, and there is simply nothing left to cut and still stay competitive and provide essential services. We have less state employees now then we did in 1973, despite having more than a million more residents. Dedicated child protective workers from the Department of Human Services are seeing huge increases in their caseloads, and many workers are responsible for almost a 100 at-risk families.

Since September 11, 2001 when all we can talk about is being safe, protecting our borders and keeping us safe from terrorists we have 1,600 less police officers on the street. Think about that. That in itself is a crime, and yet the Republicans refuse to give up that cup of coffee a week to help keep police officers on the street.

This plan is not even an increase in revenue. All it’s doing is putting the brakes on a race to the bottom that we cannot and should not win, and the closer we get to the bottom the worse off we will be.

To make the situation even worse, you have grandstanders like former conservative Republican lawmaker Leon Drolet from some group called the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance actually talking nonsense about recalls, like those that occurred in 1983.

I wonder where this “nonpartisan” group was when John Engler raised the gas tax, among other tax hikes.


Republican Michigander said...

Store coffee is a rip off. I brew my own.

$2 there, $2 there. Eventually it adds up to serious money investing in a money pit full of incompetent fools who are not trustworthy enough to spend my money.

Government f'ed it up to begin with, and government wants us to bail it out. If you want the taxes, set up a tax me more fund. I'm not interested.

$60 for me is a lot of money. I don't have George Soros or Jon Stryker money. Let those rich leftists pay for it.

Kathy said...

Sixty dollars is a lot of money, but so is all the money we're spending in Iraq. Republicans have no problem asking taxpayers to sacrifice for the war on terror (which in Iraq's case was based on a lie), but they snap their wallets shut when it comes to helping their fellow neighbors. They remind of the kind of person who drops $100 bucks on dinner, but refuse to leave a tip.

Michigan's share of the war in Iraq has cost nearly $10 billion so far, and it ain't over yet. That money could have gone a long way toward helping Michigan and it's citizens. If I'm being asked to sacrifice for the war, then I don't mind sacrificing for my state. In fact, I'd rather spend the money where I live than send it to Washington where it pads the pockets of cronies and profiteers.

Communications guru said...

Coffee costs $2 a cup? I had no idea. So you think less than a cup of coffee – say a bottle of soda pop – a week is too much to pay for the average family of four to have as many cops on the street before 9/11, health care for the working poor, to allow senior citizens to live their last days out in their own homes instead of in a sterile, expensive nursing home and our to give our children a quality K-12 and post secondary education to allow them to compete globally?

You are truly, a sad selfish man.

You honestly believe less than 20 cents a day is “serious money? I can afford $65 a year less than you, but I will set up a “tax me more fund” because there's a big difference between me and you, dan. I love my state and country, and I’m willing to defend it under arms and pay my fair share to live in it and support it. You will do neither, and you leave it for other people to defend the country for you and pay for the essential services that benefit all citizens and you utilize.

Are George Soros or Jon Stryke the only millionaires you know? Maybe if me had some of the record $45 million the Amway guy blew trying to buy the Governorship we could solve our budget problems.

Communications guru said...

I know Kathy; it’s obscene the amount of money being wasted on that senseless occupation. It amazes me how selfish some people can be, and dan here is a perfect example. People like him always want to live off of someone else’s dime. Why is it that the people who have the most want to give the least?

liberals Hate America said...

Now For The Rest Of The Story.

A tax is a tax is a tax. You mean to tell us there is not one ounce of Fat to be trimmed in the State of Michigan. That is a foolish statement. Maybe Granholm could stop shuttling her kid 4 times a year to Mackinaw Island to play, Why does her husband need 4 aides.

Michigan’s State/Local Tax Burden Above is already above the National Average.
Estimated at 10.8% of income, Michigan’s state/local tax burden percentage ranks 16th highest nationally, above the national average of 10.6%. Michigan taxpayers pay $3,965 per-capita in state and local taxes.

A tax on services not only would hit low-income families, but also would be burdensome for businesses -- both those who pay and those who collect the tax -- and generally bad for the state's economy.

It's worth remembering that voters traded a higher sales tax a dozen years ago for lower property taxes. Sales taxes went up to 6 cents from 4 cents on the dollar. Now, they're again being asked to pay more in sales taxes -- with no compensating reduction in other personal taxes.
Granholm says this will cost the average resident $65 a year. But the cost will be much higher on the small businesses that have to deal with the paperwork. And it will be a drag on the one segment of the economy that's still creating jobs.
Businesses headquartered outside Michigan, but operating here, would pay an additional $100 million annually. That's an invitation for those companies to close their Michigan operations first when they need to make choices about where to cut.
Michigan residents' per capita personal income is now at about 95 percent of the national average. It hasn't been this low compared with other states since the early 1930s, during the Great Depression.
Yet the governor proposes to ask hard-pressed state residents to part with an even greater share of their diminished purchasing power to support state government. And she will seek to impose additional taxes on cigarettes and liquor.
The Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll last week showed that almost two-thirds of Michigan adults prefer budget cuts instead of higher taxes.

Almost all economists agree that taxing business-to-business transactions, which is estimated at more than half the service tax base, is a bad idea. It has the potential to pass a lot of taxes accrued by businesses onto consumers and distorts business decision-making.
The experience in two other states, Florida and Massachusetts, where sweeping expansions of sales tax to services were enacted (in 1987 and 1990, respectively) may also be instructive. Both were inspired by the kind of reasoned analysis that has characterized the discussions in Michigan.
Both, when implemented, were public relations disasters that were mostly repealed.
Don't forget the 38% pay raises the legislators voted for themselves a few years ago. Also, remember that a private sector secretary earns $30,000 while a state secretary makes up to almost twice that. On top of that, they get free pensions and healthcare. A state secretary effectively makes more than I do and that secretary isn't sharing any pain with the taxpayer.

Let's make one thing clear: This so-called two-penny tax (2%) will cost consumers much more. For example, your neighborhood barber (or similar service-only business) now has additional bookkeeping, administrative and related annual tax preparation services to deal with. So your $10 cut won't just increase to $10.20. More likely, the increase will be to $11 or $12. Welcome to the ten-penny to twenty-penny plan!

And getting businesses to pay their "fair share" only means that tax increase will be passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Businesses are not going to go broke to cover their tax burden. Once again, the cost will be borne by you and me.

Communications guru said...

Well we know why you refuse to ante up 19 cents a day to better your state because you hate Michigan, hate America.

No, taxes are an investment in the country, state and community. It was with taxes that someone had the wise, forward thinking idea to invest tax dollars into the highway system that allows us to live in places like Livingston County and able to commute long distance to our jobs.

We have had 15 straight years of “trimming the fat” in Michigan.” We have less state employees in Michigan now than we had in 1973, despite having more than a million more residents. The republic party yells and screams about protecting us from terrorists, but we have 1,600 less police officers since the largest terrorist attack on our soil in 2001. That is criminal. This governor has had to cut spending every year she has been in office to clean up the mess the un-jolly fat guy left us and fled. I would like for you to show me the proof of this BS about the governor “shuttling her kid 4 times a year to Mackinaw Island to play.” Hell, I would like for you to give me a reference for any of this post.

Michigan’s tax burden is nowhere near above the national average tax burden. An Anderson Economic Group study commissioned by former House Speaker Craig DeRocher last summer puts Michigan's best ranking at 27 out of 50 states in total taxes paid by businesses as a percentage of profit earned within each state. That’s below middle, and that obviously places it below the average. Again, where’s your source for the info you’re trying to push?

I see where you got the $3,946 per employee figure, but you are the one only telling half the story. This is from a study last summer by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research that concluded that Michigan has lagged behind the rest of the nation since 2000 almost entirely because of the decline of Michigan's automakers. It says, at http://www.upjohninst.org/michreport.pdf, that state and local business taxes in Michigan are estimated to be about $3,946 per employee, which is equivalent to a little less than $2 per hour (Average hourly wages in the U.S. are about $18 per hour, so straight labor costs, even excluding employee benefits, are over nine times state and local business taxes. That is, again, nowhere near above the national average for tax burden.

You are correct that a sales tax on services will also hit low-income families. That’s why I favor an income tax increase, but this is needed too. Our economy is changing from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy, but the tax structure has stayed the same. This addresses it. The simple fact is business taxes have little to do with companies moving here, and we need companies to move and stay here. Economists say that the effects of state and local business taxes are so small as to be negligible.

Are you serious? “With no compensating reduction in other personal taxes.” What do you call 15 straight years of tax cuts and 93 by Gov. Granholm alone?

No, the cost will not “be much higher on the small businesses that have to deal with the paperwork, nor will be a drag on the one segment of the economy that's still creating jobs.” It’s simply time for that segment of the economy to start to pay its fair share for the public services they have been using for free.

Who are these “Almost all economists who agree that taxing business-to-business transactions, which is estimated at more than half the service tax base, is a bad idea?” Name me one. Where did you get this crap because I know you didn’t write it? Probably from the right-wing Detroit News editorial page. Again, from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, “the effects of state and local business taxes are so small as to be negligible.”

Again more BS passed off by you without a reference or source. How much does a “state secretary” make? No one in state government is making more than the private sector, and since there are fewer employees now than there were in 1973 and under big government advocate John Engler their workload has to have doubled at least. No one gets free health insurance, and a 401 K is not free either.

Business will use any excuse to “pass on the cost to the consumer,” and this is just one more. But I am ready to pay that because unlike you, I don’t hate America or my state, and I am willing to invest in it.

Chet said...

Your absolute hatred and vitriol against people who believe that raising taxes would hurt the country, and then labelling them as "America haters" because they won't agree with you on the need for raising taxes, is disgusting.

This type of attitude is part of the polarization we currently see in America. You could make the points you've made (which aren't that bad) without the nastiness and insults.

Communications guru said...

You must be joking, Chet. I appreciate you taking both the time to read the blog and post, but you are 100 percent wrong.

You are accusing me of labeling people as America haters when I’m responding to a person with the disgusting and untrue screen name of “Liberals Hate America?” Well, me and Hate America have debated back and forth many many times on both this blog and on another conservative blog in Livingston County where I was called everything in the book, my personal character was questioned and my professional judgment was attacked.

I stand by everything I wrote, and to me it seems disingenuous that people claim to love their country but refuse to help pay their fair share to support it or don a uniform to defend it. Now, obviously they don’t hate their country, but I see no proof that they love it either.

Now the so-called “polarization we currently see in America” can be traced to election day in 1992 when the right began their personal witch-hunt against the elected President that saw things like the Arkansas project and millions of tax-payer dollars wasted on a personal witch hunt. It did not start with me. I have not seen anything like it before or since

Chet said...

You know, I didn't really notice that the psuedo of the poster was Liberals Hate America. In that light, your SECOND post takes on some more context.

Your first post response predating LHA's appearance was to Republican Michigander, a person whom I have no reason to believe is the same person and have not seen -throughout my internet travails - him produce anything too wild, called him a sad, selfish man, in response to what appeared to be an off-the-issue discussion of how he saves money on coffee and an on-topic point that the state should try to save some. Before that, the very post itself characterizes all Republicans, or at least those who believe in spending reductions first (that's most of us, and most independents, too), as selfish, and even criminal. So I think my criticism is quite fair, even taking out the LHA counter-response (which itself generalized and was an over-reaction). This whole thread, from point one, was over-the-top rhetoric, itself failing to meet the standards of proof you task (properly) LHA for.

As to "paying a fair share," I think most conservatives have no problem paying their "fair share" - but's that's such a loaded and subjective term. What's "fair"? Which spending programs are fair? Which taxes?

Frankly, I don't think its "fair" for me to be paying, both through tuition or my legislative-tax contribution, Mary Sue Coleman's outrageous salary. If you - and you are asking - are going to ask me for more tax money, I'm going to insist that she share some of the pain. And the 200 plus 200K plus salaries as U-M should share, in a progressively disproportionate fashion (that is, if progressive taxes are fair, so are progressive salary cuts on the wealthiest public employees). Higher ed (U-M) spending increased by 17% annually on average (annual changes were quite bumpy, but this is a 10 year average) from 1985 to 1995, while legislative appropriations to U-M increased an average of 8.5% (twice inflation). As a "relative" percentage of U-M's budget, legislative appropriations therefore fell from 18% to 12% (50% from the base 12). That's a mathematical reality of the massive administrative growth of U-M. James Duderstadt then used the last tidbit of data to accuse the legislature of "not doing its fair share" and "shorting" U-M over that 10 year period. But it can hardly be argued that the legislature (the people) that generously donated twice as much as inflation was not doing its fair share. Talk about near criminal.

And the MEA needs to share the pain if we're going to help children in K-12. Want more money? Not a dime until MESSA gives up its $250 in excess profits(measured technically as economists would measure it - by comparison to the market). These are two egregious examples of near "criminal" (to use your words) soaking of taxpayers.

The only way we can get efficiency out of the government is to "trim" whenever and through constant vigilance. Does that mean some, if not most, conservatives won't spend some money on the important things? No. But it does mean we start first by looking what to cut - not add. Does it mean conservatives are going to tear up (or not rebuild) the roads? No. We're not going to burn schools down either - but throwing more money at schools without stringent oversight and insistence on results is the surest way to pad administrators pockets, etc.

Every piece of the budget needs to be analyzed. If you can defend its necessary in the realm of public debate - and we finish a process of haggling out those issues - then, and only then, will you have earned a right to ask me or RM for more money.

Chet said...

Oh, I should have said at the top that LHA's psuedo is inappropriate. I sort of implied it - but want to make it clear. That doesnt' make the broad-brush response right - and I'm sure I've been guilty of it before too, but I try hard to avoid it.