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. He used words and phrases like “anti-business”, “job-killing”, and “highly-partisan” in his attack and pushed the not-so-secret fact that three unions are behind the effort.
Funny thing, even unions want our roads fixed.
In his comments, Studley told Beckman, “Our message to you and your listeners this morning is ‘don’t feed the alligators’.” Rather than ask corporations to pitch in to solve this intractable problem, he said, “We should be using user fees to fix the roads. This is a partisan effort to undermine the legislative process where the House and Senate are working to fix the roads.”
That’s a pretty comical statement given that Michigan Republicans have been screwing around with this for over two years and STILL can’t find a solution. They are so bound to their “no new taxes” mantra and they have sucked the middle class and poor people in Michigan so dry in order to given businesses $2 billion every year in tax breaks that they are incapable of doing anything. Meanwhile, our infrastructure crumbles and the cost to repair it skyrockets with every passing hour.
He also made a point to smear the unions supporting the ballot initiative:
Businesses that are thinking about construction projects should think long and hard about whether they want to do business with these three unions. The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters [and Millwrights], the Operating Engineers, and Michigan Laborers have launched an anti-business petition drive that would severely damage Michigan’s economic competitiveness.
The question that Beckman and pretty much every other media person and journalist covering this story always fail to ask is how much damage to our “economic competitiveness” our “Fourth Worst in the United States of America” roads are causing. I am incredulous that these businesses are content to have to ship their goods over roads that are unsafe and that damage their vehicles but will leave the state if they are asked to be part of the solution.
But that’s the Chamber of Commerce for you. They are nothing more than a front group doing the dirty work for the corporate world so that the corporations can keep their hands clean and remain “non-political”.
If you would like to help circulate petitions, go to FairFix.org/take-action and sign up for updates. As soon as petitions are available, you’ll be notified. In the meantime, be sure to “Like” their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @FairTaxesMI.