The costs to replace the lead service lines in Flint is estimated to be north of $50 million. Governor Rick Snyder estimates that it will take $2 billion a year to fix and maintain Michigan’s roads and bridges. Disinvestment in education and our cities has schools being closed and cities on the brink of insolvency. When you add it up, our state is perched on a financial precipice.
So what is the solution?
For Michigan Republicans, it’s to cut the state income tax and blow a $1.1 billion hole into the state’s budget:
The opening round of a fight over tax cuts went to Republicans on Wednesday when they voted to gradually phase out the personal income tax, blowing a $1.1-billion hole into the state’s budget in the first full year of its implementation.
After less than 90 minutes of testimony, the house tax policy committee voted on a straight party-line 7-4 vote to cut the income tax from 4.25% to 3.9% on Jan. 1, 2018, and by 0.1% in every subsequent year until it’s eliminated 39 years down the road.
Republicans claim the tax cut won’t impact education. That means this annual loss of over a billion dollars will come from other state spending – infrastructure, healthcare services, social services, aid to municipalities, public safety. It’s hard to imagine how a state in such a precarious financial straits can weather such a draconian cut to our revenues. And don’t forget that they have already hamstrung our state with their handouts to corporations in the form of tax cut give-aways dating back to 2011 when they came into power.
But that is the Republican Way™. There is no problem that can’t, in their irrational brains, be solved by a tax cut. It harkens back to the West Wing episode when Arnold Vinick, the Republican candidate for president played by Alan Alda, was asked in a debate about debt relief for impoverished countries. “Senator, are you saying you’re opposed to debt relief for impoverished countries?” Vinick is asked by the moderator.
“No,” he replied. “We should forgive the debts but it’s not going to help… that’s not going to help those countries very much.”
When he’s asked what will help them, his answer is, of course, “Tax cuts”.
When Republicans tell you government is broken and non-functional, remember that, at least in Michigan, Republicans ARE the government. And they seem bound and determined to prove that government is broken and non-functional.
So, let’s not let ourselves be too distracted by the SCROTUS (So-Called Ruler of the United States) and his clown show in Washington, DC. We have major problems staring us down here in Michigan and we need all hands on deck to fight the Republican effort to use Shock Doctrine tactics to eviscerate our state government. There are too many lives at stake and too much potential harm that will impact our most vulnerable citizens to let that happen.