Feb 2, 2007
In the face of the Michigan Senate Republican’s proposed replacement to the Single Business Tax that cuts $300 million from a budget that’s expected to have an $800 million shortfall in the current budget year along, the Associated Press is reporting Michigan families have seen their state tax bills decrease by as much as a fourth.
Despite Republicans pushing the myth that Michigan is a high tax state, the AP reports “After 15 years of tax cuts, including drops in property and income tax rates, Michigan families have seen their state tax bills decrease by as much as a fourth, according to an Associated Press computer analysis.”
Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to layout a plan to keep the services and infrastructure that really attract and retain businesses and companies to Michigan, and at the same time still keep us competitive with other states over tax rates in her State of the State address Tuesday.
The Republicans have not officially grown enough backbone to tell voters what they plan to cut to balance the budget with that huge loss of revenue, but Livingston County’s Legislative delegation said Medicare services not mandated by the federal government, such as in-home care and certain prescription drug programs could be possible targets for reductions. Rep. Chris Ward took the shortsighted view that programs that allow prisoners to earn high school diplomas while incarcerated may be cut. This is typical of that shortsighted view the Republicans take to any problem.
It would be much cheaper and more humane to let a senior citizen spend their last days in the familiar surroundings in their own homes with the occasional help of an in-care provider, but Ward refuses to see that.
Just today the Livingston County Sheriff declared an overcrowding emergency at the county jail because it has been over capacity for 25 straight days. It’s Republican policies that ensures released non-violent offenders are not going to have the skills they need once they are released to make it on the outside, and they will be back. It costs an enormous amount of money to house and feed 51,000 Michigan prisoners.
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Justice found Michigan’s incarceration rates were the 2nd highest in the 12-state Midwest region, and our rate is the 11th highest in the nation, according to an excellent report in the February newsletter of the Gray Panthers of Huron Valley.
We spend more money on Michigan prisons, $1.9 million, than the $1.6 million we spend on our 13 public universities.
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan said the state’s incarceration rate is 40 percent higher than those of otter states, due to longer sentences and lower parole rates. Michigan is spending millions to hold, feed and house thousands of low-risk, non-violent inmates instead of looking for inexpensive ways to ensure their success on the outside or other alternative forms of punishment.