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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: November 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do it Anyway!


Is there any hope? Should I even ask you to spend a few minutes of your time to contact legislators and ask them to demonstrate common sense? Or, as we witnessed in the wee hours on October 1st, are Lansing's politicians so unbelievably incompetent that they can't possibly do anything right.

State Senator Valde Garcia's new service tax on Michigan's job providers (those that remain) is scheduled to take effect this weekend. Next week, every shoe-shine guy, lawn maintenance person, financial advisor, ski hill operator, janitor and a whole bunch of other seemingly-randomly-targeted businesses (that already pay the state's Michigan Business Tax) will have to begin filling out more Treasury forms and collect a 6% sales tax from their customers.

Now, everyone in Lansing claims to hate Republican Senator Garcia's devil-child of a tax increase, but a majority of them voted for it. As of last night, the House and Senate passed different versions of a replacement that would increase the state business tax by between 14% (Republican plan) or 33% (Democrat plan). Wow! That will really encourage business to locate and expand in Michigan.

Why, why, WHY isn't there a credible push in Lansing to replace this stupid tax increase with BUDGET CUTS?! The 2008 budget passed in October increases spending from the '07 budget by over 8% (General Fund spending), by 2.5% (overall spending) and by over 7% (the budget for the legislature itself). The Mackinac Center for Public Policy lists $1.4 billion in suggested budget cuts on their website that could be used to replace the $700 million that Garcia's new tax will take from citizens and send to Lansing. Check their list here: http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=9059.

So, should I even bother to ask you to call Speaker Andy Dillon and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and demand they cut spending? Dillon simply won't listen. He has been perfectly consistent in his preference for higher taxes and increased spending. Bishop will sympathetically tell you that it is too late, the Governor has already signed Garcia's tax hike into law, and she would simply veto any spending cuts even if they reached her desk.

You know what? Bishop is right. He missed his chance. But call Dillon (517-373-0857) and Bishop (517-373-2417) anyway - just to tell them how angry you are. Don't use profanity, but don't be respectful. They haven't earned it.

In other news: yesterday, Michigan Recalls Committee (www.michiganrecalls.com) sent legal requests for expedited hearings to judges in Macomb and Wayne Counties that are sitting on appeals to legally approve recall petitions against tax hiking politicians. Including the recall of House Speaker Andy Dillon. Stay tuned.

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance

Monday, November 26, 2007

Granholm's Job Performance Lower than 36%?


Both Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes and Crain's Detroit Business report today that a new poll done by polling firm EPIC-MRA finds that 83% of voters polled rate the state legislature's performance as “total negative” and 64% disapprove of Governor Granholm's job performance.

I do NOT believe this poll is close to accurate. I mean, how is it even possible that 17% of voters think the state legislature is doing a good or "okay" job? Who are the 36% of voters that think Governor Granholm is doing a fair or good job?

I know that there are bankruptcy attorneys, real estate auction firms, moving companies, and such that are prospering in Michigan right now. But people employed by such a narrow segment of the overall market cannot comprise 17% of the state population. Even if you throw in state employees who have received two pay increases in the last several months, you don't hit 17% of population. You get closer to 17% when you throw in all government employees (like university professors, county employees, and others) who continue to receive guaranteed pay increases propped up by Lansing's tax increases. But what about the 36% who like Granholm's job performance?

Ah, but wait. The firm that conducted the poll, EPIC-MRA, is owned by pollster Ed Sarpolus. Sarpolus worked for the Senate Democrats as a communications specialist back in the early 1980s. His job as a liberal spinster for the Senate Democrats was to make a massive hike in the state income tax sound popular. He lost that job when citizens recalled former state senators Phil Mastin and David Serotkin for voting for the tax hike, and Democrats lost control of the state Senate. Sarpolus went on to create his own polling firm.

Since that time, Sarpolus' firm has earned the nickname in Lansing "ERROR-MRA" for its' frequently left-skewed polling results. Sarpolus' polls always had the 2006 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative as losing or fading in voter support. About a year ago, even the left-leaning Detroit Free Press stopped using his firm for their polls.

So, ERROR-MRA's Ed Sarpolus is at it again - releasing poll numbers that skew in favor of Governor Granholm and state legislative leaders by overstating their support. Yep, we can be pretty certain that 36%, or even 17%, of Michigan voters are not so stupid as to believe that Lansing has been pointing Michigan in the right direction.

We will find out soon enough when lawmakers are forced to face voters in early recall elections.

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance