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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: December 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa Delivers Coal to Lawmakers


The MTA recently participated in a Coal-ition of citizens that gave some Lansing politicians a well-deserved Christmas gift. The press coverage from the event is below. Enjoy!

Lansing State Journal: Santa delivers coal to lawmakers who raised taxes on Michigan residents

Anti-tax groups figure Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers who raised taxes deserve lumps of coal for Christmas - so they delivered a pickup full to the Capitol on Thursday.

The Coal-ition, as it called itself, included the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, the Michigan Fair Tax Association and Americans for Prosperity, among others.

"The Legislature doesn't deserve a very Merry Christmas. It deserves these lumps of coal this year," said Leon Drolet, executive director of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "Our objection is the way they handled the budget and tax situation."

They took a wheelbarrow of coal over to Granholm's office. The state encountered an hours-long partial government shutdown on Oct. 1 before Granholm and lawmakers agreed to raise the state income tax and apply the sales tax to some services.

The service tax fueled outraged by businesses and individuals, and the Legislature repealed it just as it was taking effect. The tax was replaced with a surcharge to the Michigan Business Tax.

A spokeswoman for Granholm said the tax groups were off base. Liz Boyd said the group should be applying the same treatment to Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester. Bishop voted against the tax increases but permitted the votes to take place.

"If anyone deserves a lump of coal, it might be Leon Drolet. He's not telling the whole truth," Boyd said. "This was a bipartisan agreement with plenty of Republican support and plenty of support from the business community and that protected citizens from massive cuts."

Scott Brown, a Grass Lake resident, shoveled coal from the pickup parked on Capitol Avenue into a wheelbarrow. He said he took the day off work to come to Lansing.

He said 18 people at the engineering firm where he is employed are laid off.

"I'm not a Republican against a Democrat. I'm a citizen against people in our state government that refuses to restructure and wake up and start thinking outside the box like we are forced to every day in business," he said.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hip, Hip, Hooray?

The legislature agreed at 11:00pm Friday night to eliminate the scheduled 6% sales tax on certain services. Lansing and the media are reporting this as a big, bi-partisan win for Michigan. Fantastic.

What did they replace the service tax with? Spending cuts? How about a nice 22% "surcharge" (sounds better than "increase") in Michigan's business tax. Yep, that will help entice businesses to add jobs in Michigan. As a further selling point, this little 22% tax increa, oops..I mean surcharge...is only temporary. We can tell businesses that it is scheduled to go away in 2017!

Remember that the legislature replaced the old Single Business Tax (after a citizen petition drive forced them to) with the new Michigan Business Tax that they designed to take $220 million more out of the economy than the old SBT did. And that was before this new, "temporary" 22% "surcharge" which will soak at least $700 million more out of the pockets of Michigan's remaining businesses. Prosperity is right around the corner.

Are you feeling a little pinched economically lately? Lansing's not. The budget for legislators went up over 7% for the '08 budget. Things are nice and comfy at the Capitol.

What to do? Well, you can do as Lansing tells you - "shut up and pay up" or you can do something. Citizens have two logical options: leave the state or support recalling the politicians that are destroying Michigan.

Ready for battle?

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance

A Christmas Poem


Back when I was in the state legislature, I mailed newsletters to update constituents and supporters on policy issues. Back then, the state income tax rate was actually scheduled to be reduced. For the November, 2003 newsletter, I included a poem which is (eerily) almost as appropriate today as back then. The poem and disclaimer that preceded it are below:

"Dear Friends of Liberty,

I present this poem as a warning. Right now, the Governor is not proposing a state sales tax on services to balance the budget. Such a tax, however, has been discussed.

The extension of the sales tax to Internet purchases and the freeze of the scheduled income tax cut are being promoted by the Governor as this issue goes to print. Already, new taxes on some brands of cigarettes, higher fees, and increased tax collections on alcohol have passed.

I'll keep fighting to protect your wallet here in Lansing.

I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous 2004!"

"T'was the month before Christmas and all through the state House,
Plans to balance the budget are spread by the clicks of a mouse;

Michigan taxpayers are nestled all snug in their beds.
While visions of the promised income tax cut dance in their heads;

"Economic recovery!" was their toast before beginning their snooze.
But others, in Lansing, toasted higher taxes on their booze;

And the Governor was awake, talking on a conference call,
About how that income tax cut shouldn't be coming at all;

Meanwhile, a tax on Internet purchases is crafted quietly with care
In hopes of catching holiday buyers unaware;

But something was driving the Governor's budget bureaucrats nuts;
"Even with these tax hikes," they fretted, "We'll still have to make cuts."

When from the Governor's office there arose such a clatter,
Those bureaucrats sprang from their cubes to see what was the matter;

Into her office, the bureaucrats flew,
Where Governor Granholm gushed to them, "I know just what to do."

"The state sales tax now applies to purchases of products (except food),
But we'll make people pay taxes on their services, too!"

"On haircuts! On health clubs! On mowing of lawns!
On lawyers fees, doctor visits, and tanning salons!"

"On advertisements! Dry cleaning! The shining of shoes!
A sales tax on services is just what I'll do!"

"The budget deficit will disappear! Oh, what a neat trick!
To my special interests in Lansing, I'll be just like St. Nick!"

"How brilliant," said one bureaucrat with a beaming grin,
"But how will we get the Republicans to buy in?"

But the Governor (so slickly), said "Leave that to me,
Remember how they bought into our hiking of fees?"

With a wink of her eye, and a twist of her head,
Governor Granholm went home and sent the bureaucrats to bed.
So let's hope their plans fail, for the economy's sake;
Dear taxpayers: Spend this holiday season AWAKE!"

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance