Is your legislator a "player" and a betrayer?
Taxpayers need to know which legislators will be supporting needed spending reductions to the state budget, and which will be supporting tax increases for higher state spending. So the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance will simply ask lawmakers to declare whose side they are on by signing a promise to their constituents that they will not vote for any tax increase this year. The Promise, called the ‘Promise to Michigan Taxpayers’ will be delivered to the offices of state representatives and senators on August 1st, who then will be asked to sign the Promise by August 10 and return it to the MTA.
Why do we need this Promise publicly signed? You see, much like warlords in the Middle East or players in the board game ‘Risk’, citizens are often unsure which politicians can really be trusted to protect their wallets once those politicians get to Lansing or Washington. This is because the incentives are different. Back home, a politician is best served personally by being honest and loyal to his/her supporters. Once in Lansing, the game changes and politicians are rewarded by maneuvering through the halls of power and staying relevant, a “player,” by keeping everyone guessing as to how you may vote on issues. Don’t commit to anyone, keep everyone courting your vote through dinners, drinks, golf outings and campaign contributions. If you publicly declare how you will vote, you are then out of the game, a non-player, and the lobbyists will swarm to those they are still hoping to influence.
What a fun game to play with lobbyists! What a lousy game to play with your constituents who are worried that Lansing is dreaming up a new way every day to raid their shrinking incomes. So the MTA will ask legislators to simply let their constituents know if they can count on them to protect them.
Some lawmakers are proud to let their taxpayers they are ALWAYS on their side. These lawmakers only play ONE game with their constituents wallets - and that is to protect their taxpayers at ALL times. I am referring to those legislators who have signed the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge. They have publicly pledged to NEVER raise taxes. In Michigan, citizens can be very proud of the legislators who have signed the ATR Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Click this link and scroll down to Michigan to see if your legislator is on the list: http://www.atr.org/content/pdf/2007/june/061907ot-statepledge.pdf
Those who have signed the ATR Pledge do not need to sign the MTA Promise, they are already on the right side. Those lawmakers that cannot pledge to NEVER raise taxes, but won’t raise taxes in this current budget battle, can sign the MTA Promise. They are only promising that they are on the side of taxpayers in this current budget battle, but citizens need to know they are with the taxpayers.
The MTA will keep a running total on our website as to who has signed the Promise. Call and thank your representative or senator when they sign. If they don’t sign by August 10, call and ask them why. Those who refuse to sign support raising taxes on you. Or maybe they want to be a big player in Lansing – and a big betrayer to taxpayers.