Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder, Taxes — February 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Snyder admin budget director claims biz tax cuts created jobs but can’t prove it & says they haven’t kicked in yet


Um, maybe you guys should get your stories straight before you go on tv…

Michigan State Budget Director John Nixon appeared on Off the Record with Tim Skubick this week. Unfortunately for him, the wheels sort of fell of the car when the conversation turned to the impact of the Republicans’ nearly $2 billion in business tax cuts on job creation. Nixon first said, unequivocally, that the tax cuts have created jobs. Then he said he can’t prove it. And then he finished by saying, well, they really haven’t kicked in yet so it’s hard to say.

It gets hard to keep up with these guys sometimes. Here’s the video. The relevant part of segment with Nixon starts at 8:42:

Here’s the transcript:

Tim Skubick: Can you prove that your business tax cut created one job?

John Nixon: Can I prove it? Uh, yeah. It’s created jobs. We have companies who have moved to Michigan, we have companies who have invested their money into creating jobs rather than sending money to government.

Skubick: And they have told that we did that because of your business tax cut?

Nixon: Um, they haven’t told me directly but I’m not interfacing with the businesses on a daily basis. But yes, Tim, if you have more money in your pocket that you’re investing in your company, I’ll bet we could go out and knock on any business door out there and they’ll tell you that, if they’ve hired over the past year, it’s because they’ve had more money to do it with.

Bill Ballenger: But you’re just assuming that’s the case without any direct evidence. You’re not getting reports from your economic development people running to you every day saying, “By God, Mr. Nixon, thank you for doing this because this company created 43 jobs today because of…”

Nixon: Well, we’ve added jobs, we’ve added jobs, and it’s directly to say … is what you did a direct result of this, you know, I think that’s a very difficult thing to do. I mean, we don’t look at things in very isolated instances. There is a much better economic environment for business to operate in. Government is stable, we’re not threatening to raise taxes, and we’ve got great things happening.

Skubick: So, the bottom line: you can’t prove that the business tax cut worked.

Nixon: I think we can but…

Skubick: But you have no evidence to do that.

Nixon: … but as the Budget Director… You need to get Mike Finney here who is the Director of Economic Development and he can bring all the data to show you. But, the thing is, Tim, The business taxes, they just took effect, too, so we need to, you know, it takes time to actually let these policies change. Again, it’s one of these things that, you take on these tough policy issues, the next day you’re not going to wake up … I mean we pass this $1.2 billion for roads and we’re not going to wake up the next day and the roads are going to be plated in gold. I mean, it takes time to actually bend these curves. And the bottom line is, the different recruiting companies, the site selectors are all saying Michigan is much better poised for companies to move to our great state. Then we’ve got a great quality of life, we’ve got a good business tax structure now, we’ve got an abundance of natural resources, we’ve got 15 of the greatest institutions in the country, things are pretty good for Michigan and things are looking up.

So, to recap:

  1. The tax cuts to businesses HAVE created jobs and Nixon can prove it.
  2. Nixon can’t prove it because he doesn’t “interface” with businesses on a daily basis.
  3. It’s too soon to say if the tax cuts have created jobs because they haven’t really kicked in yet.

Meanwhile, the Snyder administration is looking for an additional $1.2 billion A YEAR for road maintenance. But, guess who isn’t being asked to contribute to that? Right: businesses (except for their gasoline bills.)

All of the benefit, none of the responsibility. These tax cuts may not create jobs but they sure as hell are padding some CEO and shareholder bank accounts.

[Hat tip: Eclectablog reader David W.]