A few weeks back, in what I knew would be a predictable response to my support for Proposal 1, MANY of you took me to task for my “fascist” and anti-Democratic reasoning to why I supported Proposal 1 (which you can read here). You have that right, I have that right, and we now find ourselves approximately eight weeks away from the May 5 election decision that looks like a much higher mountain to climb than I thought it would.
Soon, as we know, camps on both sides of this issue will be spending the small fortunes they will have amassed to fund their point of view in an attempt to try to persuade you and the “undecided’s” why you should see things their way. Chances are it will be money poorly spent and, in fact, I am beyond confident that it will be money greatly wasted. Why? The “Pro” Proposal 1 folks will try to convince you this is about your safely first and foremost, which it is, but it also so much more than that. The “Anti” Proposal 1 people will tell you that you cannot afford not one penny more in taxes and that you elected a legislature to make decisions and because they didn’t, well, you should not reward them by voting for something they didn’t have the stones to do themselves, and they would be right, to a degree.
As a quick reminder, my reasoning for supporting Proposal 1 had to do with three simple words: But then what? In context, what that means is that if Proposal 1 does NOT pass, we have to ask, but then what?
OK, so here’s my take on all this after a few weeks of getting hammered by many of these wonderful readers, and I mean that sincerely. You were all, well, for the most part, quite thoughtful, articulate and correct on much of what you offered.
I agree that:
- This is a regressive tax.
- It disproportionally taxes those who can least afford it.
- As mentioned already, why should we do the job the legislature couldn’t do themselves?
- We have no guarantee that the money that the constitutional amendment would mandate, if passed, will actually go where it is supposed to go.
- This is exactly what the Republicans wanted us to do, which is, vote for it, so they can blame the Liberals, etc.
It’s the last two points that I want to focus on, and yes, there were others, but these were the key arguments many of you shared. You also had many great alternatives that will and would never pass this legislature, and some of you actually admitted that, with great angst, but you did recognize that reality.
So, here’s the deal, and you’re not going to like this one either, but it is what it is.
On a recent airing of my radio how, Tony Trupiano: The Voice of the People, I had as a guest State Representative Jeremy Moss, a fervent supporter of Proposal 1 for the same reasons I am. It raises the money to fix the roads. It puts almost $300 for every child into every school in the state. It restores the Earned Income Tax Credit that Governor Rick Snyder coldheartedly took from the working poor of this state, many of them single mothers who work multiple jobs to barely get by, if they are getting by at all, and it also provides needed funds to every community in the state to support dilapidated or disappearing services, including maintaining police and fire staffing levels. And, now pay attention here, I asked him directly, without nary a room to wiggle around the answer, if this money, if Proposal 1 passes is guaranteed to go to where it is promised and he said without hesitation it DOES GUARANTEE that the money, if approved by the voters, which does raise the sales tax from 6% to 7%, will be spent exactly as presented in the ballot proposal.
Now, and this is the number one argument I received from the vast majority of you. You believe with complete and utter certainty that the Republicans are holding you all hostage and the plan all along was to throw you all a bone with the Liberal stuff in this proposal that you will be forced to vote yes and then they can blame it on us Democrats for once again being the “tax and spend Liberals” we have always been.
Guess what? You have it exactly, completely and utterly wrong.
They are again outsmarting many of us, and how? Republicans HATE Proposal 1, I mean they despise it with pure and unfettered vileness. They do not want this to pass for the reasons they think you would want it to pass, if you weren’t being held hostage, of course, or that your political ideology weren’t offended at so many levels, they truly thought that they could count on most Democrats to vote for Proposal 1 and could not be any happier that so many of you fell the same way they do, for very different reasons, but you have the same goal they do: Do NOT pass Proposal 1 at any cost.
Their reasoning is simple. They do not want to pay one cent more in taxes than they do and in fact want to lower our taxes at a time where we have a huge budget deficit and massive uncertainty in how we are gong to make up that shortfall. They also actually do have a plan B, so in that observation I was wrong. And that plan B is this: Cut the current budget to make up the $1.2 billion the roads need. Denying the extra money for schools, NOT restoring the EITC and no more money for cities and townships in revenue sharing. See, they get exactly what they want because you are giving them exactly what they want, and because you aren’t listening to them, and I get why you aren’t aware of this, for the most part. But, I am listening to them and I hear their message loud and clear. The Liberals are actually doing their work for them. Notice how few Republicans are saying anything at all about Proposal 1, and why should they. You are doing the work for them, whether you realize it or not.
So, vote no and when you are outraged when they start slashing budgets for needed services, hen you come unglued when massive state employee layoffs are mandated, you can celebrate your moral and political victory. But when they start looking for any money they can find in the current budget, which is already so short of funding for what has already been approved, when they find that money by cutting essential services, remember that you thought things could not get any worse. And you will learn that you were wrong.
Oh, and that new Senate office building that the Republicans are insisting will only cost $70 million dollars, which we now know will cost $134 million, well that won’t get cut but rubbed in your face as our tax dollars pay off the bonds; that our tax dollars will have to cover and while they are smoking cigars and drinking expensive scotch in their newly appointed, modern digs, with a great view of the Capitol, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your no vote was a moral victory for you.
This is what happens when the Left and the Right end up agreeing…it’s a complete, perfect circle.
How do you think that will feel? Just curious.