Category: Taxes

Appeals court ruling brings an end to big box stores ripping off local communities’ tax dollars

Appeals court ruling brings an end to big box stores ripping off local communities’ tax dollars

Back in 2013, I penned a piece titled “Multibillion dollar Meijer, Inc. finds another way to screw Michigan cities and kids” that went somewhat viral, getting over 60,000 hits. The gist of the piece is that Meijer, along with other so-called “big box” stores in Michigan, have used something called “dark store” valuation when determining the value of their store. This method of valuation – which ultimately determines the store’s tax bill – compares the store to other buildings in the area. Often the comparison building is either sitting vacant and therefore has a much lower value than it would if it were open for business or the site has a deed restriction that prohibits a retail store from reopening on the site.…

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Michigan corporate tax cut chickens finally come home to roost in GOP’s budget crater

Michigan corporate tax cut chickens finally come home to roost in GOP’s budget crater

Cluck, cluck…

When Michigan Republicans took control of our legislature in 2010, they, along with our new Republican CEO Governor Rick Snyder, proceeded to enact a sweeping tax cut for corporations. It was all to bring new employers into the state which, in time, would lead to a more robust economy and a rising tide that would lift all boats. To pay for more than $1 billion in annual tax breaks for businesses, they cut school funding and raised taxes on the middle class and the elderly.

Those tax cut chickens have now come home to roost in the budget crater created by the corporate tax giveaway.…

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Corporate tax avoidance has cost Michigan schools nearly $700 million in the past four years

Corporate tax avoidance has cost Michigan schools nearly $700 million in the past four years

It’s well known that American corporations use off-shore tax havens to shield their profits from taxation. However, a recent report by U.S. Public Interest Group (USPIRG) gives us new details on just how widespread the tactic is and, more importantly, the impact it is having on the funding of education across the country. According to their analysis, this practice reduces tax revenues in the USA by roughly $90 BILLION every year. In Michigan, the impact on education funding is a loss of over $687 million over the past four years.

Americans for Tax Fairness spelled it out in a recent statement:

According to numbers compiled by the National Education Association, over the last four years, Michigan has lost over $687 million in state dollars for education due to corporations not paying their fair share in taxes.…
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UPDATED x2: Michigan House Republicans pass budget-busting road funding bill that ends up lowering taxes mostly on the wealthy

UPDATED x2: Michigan House Republicans pass budget-busting road funding bill that ends up lowering taxes mostly on the wealthy

“Only the Michigan GOP could look at crumbling roads, underfunded schools and struggling communities and think, ‘You know what? We need LESS revenue’.”

That quote from Progress Michigan executive director Lonnie Scott sums up what happened last night in the state legislature perfectly. After more than two and a half years of wrangling to find $1.2 billion annually that experts say is needed to keep our road and highway infrastructure from becoming rubble, Republicans passed a bill that:

  • Doesn’t raise enough funds to do the necessary repairs to our increasingly deteriorating roads for six years.
  • Doesn’t even kick in for over a year.
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Michigan Chamber of Commerce lobbyist insults retirees with pensions, derisively saying they “got a free ride”

Michigan Chamber of Commerce lobbyist insults retirees with pensions, derisively saying they “got a free ride”

Yesterday, the Michigan Board of Canvassers met to decide on a variety proposals destined for the 2016 ballot. One of them is being submitted by Citizens for Fair Taxes that would restore corporate taxes for the largest corporations to 11%. The move would raise roughly $900 million for road repairs in our state.

After the meeting, Michigan Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of Tax & Regulatory Reform Tricia Kinley held a press conference where she continued the doomsday scenario freakout that her group has been engaged in for the past couple of weeks.

Then, in response to a question about corporations being given monster tax breaks that have created a giant crater in our state budget, Kinley decided it was appropriate to insult retired seniors, saying with palpable derision that they “got a free ride” with their tax-free pensions.…

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Michigan Chamber of Commerce in freakout mode over ballot proposal to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes

Michigan Chamber of Commerce in freakout mode over ballot proposal to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes

As the group Citizens for Fair Taxes is rolling out its effort to put a proposal on the ballot to compel Michigan corporations to pay their fair share in taxes in order to get our roads fixed, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is in panic mode. And well they should be. Internal polling by the group shows that 69% of Michigan voters support the effort to rescind $900 million in tax breaks so that we can get our roads fixed without putting it all on the middle class and poor folk in Michigan.

On Monday, Chamber of Commerce president Rich Studley went on the Frank Beckman Show on WJR to begin the fear-mongering that this proposal will kill economic development.…

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Citizen-initiated ballot proposal would bypass Michigan legislature & governor to fix roads by restoring corporate tax fairness

Citizen-initiated ballot proposal would bypass Michigan legislature & governor to fix roads by restoring corporate tax fairness

Michigan legislators met for two days this week (without taking attendance or casting any votes) then folded up shop and went home for a one-month recess. They did this as our state’s roads continue to crumble and without passing any legislation to deal with the ongoing road and bridge repair crisis.

UPDATE: @EmptyWheel reminds me that they did actually take a vote to declare July “Ice Cream Month”. So they aren’t completely useless.

Why does @Eclectablog hate Ice Cream month? https://t.co/GvcSvJbOP3

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) July 24, 2015

With the inability for state Republicans to take action on the abysmal state of our roads – we have the fourth worst roads in the country – a group of citizens is taking matters into their own hands.…

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Michigan Republicans plan raise $1.4 billion for roads AND cut the state budget AND cut the state income tax

Michigan Republicans plan raise $1.4 billion for roads AND cut the state budget AND cut the state income tax

Not just predictable. Predicted..

Republicans in the Michigan Senate have a plan to fix the roads and they are going to raise $1.4 billion to git ‘er done. It’s going to happen by raising the gas tax, something I am 100% unequivocally totally completely entirely supportive of. That’ll raise about $700,000,000 by their reckoning.

So, where does the other $700,000,000 come from? By cutting existing programs:

Sen. Mike Kowall, the GOP floor leader, said an emerging plan calls for a 15-cent gas tax hike over three years to generate $700 million when fully implemented and earmarking $700 million in existing general revenue for road repairs.
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Michigan Democrats propose changing constitution to create a graduated state income tax

Michigan Democrats propose changing constitution to create a graduated state income tax

Thirty-four states along with Washington, D.C. have graduated state income taxes where wealthy people pay a higher percentage than people who make less money. This is also how our federal taxes are configured. Michigan, however, does not. We are one of only seven states with a flat tax.

A recent EPIC-MRA poll shows that an astonishing 66% of Michigan voters would support this change, including a majority of Republicans. According to Democratic State Rep. Jim Townsend, we could raise an additional $700,000,000 of revenue in the state and still lower taxes for 95% of Michiganders.

There are three ways to put the issue before votes which is necessary because it requires a change to the state constitution.…

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As if on cue, Michigan House Republicans announce plans to start slashing state budget to fix the roads

As if on cue, Michigan House Republicans announce plans to start slashing state budget to fix the roads

Not just predictable. Predicted.

The dust hadn’t even settled on the epic crash and burn of Michigan’s Proposal 1 yesterday when Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter began discussing his plans for slashing the budgets of other areas to come up with over a billion dollars needed to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.

He gave a glimpse into his thinking on the House Republicans’ webpage:

Yesterday, the people of Michigan were heard loud and clear: focus on the roads, find a simple solution and keep taxes low. Today, the challenge is to follow their direction and find a way to properly invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and fix the roads.…
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With the failure of Prop 1 Michigan voters gave Republicans a mandate to continue their dismantling of our state

With the failure of Prop 1 Michigan voters gave Republicans a mandate to continue their dismantling of our state

“Proposal one goes down in flames!,” gloated Todd Courser last night on his Facebook page. “Time to get to work and come up with a solution that will fix our roads without raising taxes! The money is there… all we lack is enough legislators with the political will to make the hard choices necessary to prioritize spending.”

“The taxpayers sent a very clear message today with their rejection of Proposal 1: no new taxes,” said state Sen. Jack Brandenburg. “We in the state Legislature now need to move in the most aggressive fashion to free up funds badly needed for road repair.”

With these comments and many others like them from the Republicans who control our government, the era of post-Proposal 1 Michigan was kicked off.…

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