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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.
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.…
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.…
“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.…
NOTE FROM CHRIS: Today is the soft-launch of our newest Eclectablogger Judy Matlock. As “judyms9″, Judy has been the most prolific commenter on Eclectablog for two years running according to our WordPress stats. And she’s not just prolific; her comments are insightful, often getting to the heart of the matter and bringing in angles that the author of the post did not include in their piece. Some of her comments, in fact, have been worthy of stand-alone blog posts of their own. Judy describes herself as an activist, retired teacher, social worker, and project manager
That’s why I invited her to join Team Eclectablog.…
This past week, the corporatist front group and bill mill for corporate America, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), held a breakfast gathering for Michigan state legislators. Our friends at Progress Michigan were there and reported that only SIX legislators actually attended. Here is the all-Republican list of attendees:
Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton)
Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle)
Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona)
Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw)
Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake)
Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville)
According to Progess Michigan, Sen. Green and Rep. Nesbitt are Michigan’s ALEC co-chairs and were listed on the invitation to the event.
As Progresss Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott explains, this is a hopeful sign that the Koch brothers-supported corporate lobby group is experiencing a drop in influence, at least in Michigan:
Even one ALEC enthused legislator can lead to horrible public policy.…
In less than 10 weeks from today the voters of Michigan will be asked to vote on the ballot question titled Proposal 1, or as it is commonly being called the “road fix bill”. Here are the main elements of Proposal 1:
An increase in transportation revenue of $1.3 billion, with $1.2 billion a year going to roads and about $112 million going to mass-transit.
Removal of the sales tax from fuel sales.
An increase in wholesale fuel taxes that will result in about a 3-cent-a-gallon increase from the average fuel price.
An increase of $45 million in vehicle registration fees and $50 million in fees for heavy trucks.
Thanks to the division within the Michigan Republican Party, the state legislature which is dominated by Republicans was unable to find a way to fund our roads. Their internal disputes led them to toss the decision to voters who will decide if we should the state sales tax by one-percent to pay for road repairs, help low income and working poor people, and to ensure our schools don’t take a financial hit.
That internal rancor has now manifested itself in the formation of at least two conservative/tea party groups who will fight the tax increase and a promise by a third – the Koch brothers front group Americans for Prosperity – to join their fight.…
Michigan’s legislature is essentially a microcosm of what is happening in Washington, D.C. A small coalition of hard-right tea party types are holding the Republican party hostage, forcing them to cut deals with the Democrats in order to actually, you know, govern. Cast in the role of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger. This gridlock gave Democrats the ability to secure some important elements in the road funding agreement.
The battle to find over a billion dollars in road funding finally came to an end at something like 5:30 a.m. this morning. The final result does a whole lot of things but entirely depends on Michigan taxpayers raising the sales tax from six percent to seven percent.…
The Tea Party of West Michigan (motto: “Influence policy, effect [sic] elections, protect the Constitution”) is a constant source of entertainment and amazement to me. They amaze me because of their impressive ability to turn out their supporters to contact their legislators to get things done according to their distorted worldview in Lansing. They are VERY good at doing this, far better than progressives are.
They entertain me because… well, because of stuff like this:
From: Tea Party of West Michigan Date: December 10, 2014 Subject: Vote on internet tax today.
Call your Reps.and any others you have time to call
Arguments can be made on the merits of a level playing field however what it boils down to in my book is tyranny as it’s just another confiscation of our wealth and the large companies like Amazon who lobbied for this will benefit as it will remove many small business internet companies hence thinning down their competition.
During the 2014 campaign in Michigan, we were told repeatedly that Republicans hadn’t cut education funding. Despite the fact that they had actually taken BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from our schools each year, the told us with a straight face that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, they had increased funding for our classrooms.
Now, just a few weeks later, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger is proposing that we pay for billions of dollars in road and bridge repairs by cutting education funding so that legislators would “not have to raise taxes”.
The plan would remove, over six years, the 6% sales tax now charged on fuel sales, while at the same time converting the 19-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over the same period.…
Tony Trupiano is the host of the online radio program The Voice of the People, M-F, 9 a.m.-noon . He is the author of two books and has been part of the progressive media landscape for 20+ years. Follow him on Twitter @tonytrupiano.