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.
Sounds innocuous but it’s that “$700 million in existing general revenue” bit that’s the kicker. I wish somebody had told us that they would slash and burn existing programs if Prop 1 hadn’t passed.
Anyway, that’s not all. If the state tax revenues outpace inflation, they’re going to start cutting the state income tax, too. Why? To “control the size of government”:
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, is proposing future reductions in the 4.25 percent income tax cut that would be depend on general state tax revenue growth exceeding inflation.
Meekhof wants to pair it with a 15-cent, three year increase in Michigan’s 19-cents-per-gallon tax increase as part of a plan to generate $700 million in additional revenue for repairing the state’s crumbling road and bridges.
“If we have an opportunity to control the size and scope of government, then we’re going to get that as well,” Meekhof said Tuesday. “It’s good public policy.”
See, they aren’t just tightening the belt in lean times. They want to be sure that the lean times are here to stay. Luxuries like well-funded public schools and robust investment in infrastructure and protection of the air we breathe and the water we drink and ensuring the social safety net is there for our citizens are all just too damned expensive. If Republicans have their way, our state budget won’t be a belt that can be loosened or tightened as needed. It’ll be a steel band forever set in place.
Or what they like to call “good public policy”.
While I love the Democrats’ idea of a graduated income tax in Michigan, it’s just one more great idea that will die in the state legislature, strangled in its crib by callous, discompassionate Republicans who want to eliminate any tax they can’t siphon off into the bank accounts of their corporate benefactors.
We sure taught them a lesson by shooting down Prop 1, eh?
And, of course, all this forced-austerity will be voted on, signed into law, and implemented well before the 2016 election so that they are no longer on the minds of most voters who are more interested in the current shiny thing in the news than in the policies and voting records of the people they are voting for.
You have to give Republicans credit. They have an impeccable sense of political timing. One needs to look no farther than our state to know that.