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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: January 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

State of Michigan Taxpayers Address

Friends,

Michigan homeowners will soon receive their new property tax assessments. For most homeowners, the value of their home will have fallen, yet their summer and winter property tax bills for 2008 will actually increase due to the legal but unforeseen consequences of Proposal A.

Also, Michiganders will likely watch their per-capita real income fall for the fourth consecutive year while paying the 12% increase in the state income tax which passed this past October.

Michigan's small and mid-sized businesses will be paying the new 22% "surcharge" on the Michigan Business Tax passed by the legislature starting this past January 1st. Michigan's employers will be forced to pass this tax hike on to consumers in the form of higher prices or lay off employees in an effort to keep prices competitive.

Governor Granholm proposed in her State of the State last evening that these higher taxes would be used to pay for select tax breaks for some companies, specifically the "fifty fastest growing industries" as selected by government agencies. Granholm specifically mentioned tax cuts for the film industry, an aviation center in Houghton and some kind of pie factory in Saugatuck.

Governor Granholm’s new, centrally planned economy would include using taxpayer-backed, state employee pension funds to gamble on high-risk start-up company investments. This program is apparently in recognition that private investments in Michigan are unlikely due to our high taxes and regulatory structure. This new program is in addition to her 21st Century Jobs plan from two years ago that has actually created a few jobs; I think both of them are grant writer positions at public universities.

Worried? Don’t be. Granholm's central planning has a cure-all, sure-fire magic wand that will save Michigan's economy. Its called "diversifisustainalterntivegreenability" economics. The theory is that if our state's elected leaders say certain key buzzwords enough, the cumulative effect will be the creation of a new, alternative "buzzconomy" fueled by free-range granola and fossilized hippie remains that will supplant old notions of an "economy" based on calculated investment risks made for the purpose of turning actual profits.

Of course, this diversifisustainalterntivegreenability buzzconomy only works for government. The tricks of this buzzconomy employed by Lansing (things like borrowing against future tax revenues and restructuring bond payments) are not available to your family. Your increased taxes this year will have to be paid using the old form of currency - actual money. Your money.

Leon Drolet
Michigan Taxpayers Alliance
www.mitaxpayers.org

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blockers vs. Gatherers continued

Friends,

Today's recall signature gatherers vs. blockers battle at the polls in Grand Rapids and (to a lesser degree) in Royal Oak and Madison Heights was way more interesting than the Michigan Democratic Party primary.

Supporters of a recall election against State Rep. Robert Dean battled to collect petition signatures at polling locations where 'blockers' attempted to stop voters from signing the petitions. The blockers outnumbered the signature gatherers by more than two-to-one. Check out the Grand Rapids Press story here:

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2008/01/dean_petition_drive_gets_feist.html

The blockers were not very proud of their activities and refused to talk to reporters. They usually retreated to their cars when media appeared and, if confronted, usually refused to identify themselves or their employers.

Nick, from the web blog RightMichigan.com, caught several blockers on video. Check out his posts here: http://www.RightMichigan.com (you may have to scroll down a few stories).

Recalls are difficult - as they should be. But Michigan is not Pakistan, and voter intimidation should not be tolerated.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blockers Disrupt Petition Gatherers

Friends,

Today is Presidential Primary Day in Michigan and the voting precincts in Grand Rapids are a war zone. Not between Mitt and McCain, Huckabee and Paul, but between citizens collecting signatures for the recall of State Representative Robert Dean (D-Grand Rapids) and the organized, paid, liberal 'blockers' hell-bent on stopping voters from signing the recall petitions.

Blockers were already at the polls when the Dean-recall volunteers arrived this morning to collect petition signatures. And they are nasty! One senior citizen who tried to sign the recall petitions was yelled at by blockers who told her that she was "breaking the law and signing an illegal petition". These same blockers followed the senior voter to her car, taking repeated, close-up snapshots with a camera and demanding that she produce photo identification to them (the blockers). Police were called, and (as I write this) are trying to sort things out.

The blockers' primary tactic is to lie. First by claiming that Robert Dean didn't vote for any tax increases, and then by telling potential signers that the petitions are illegal and that they are committing a crime by signing. The blockers continue to harass citizens attempting to sign by getting right-up into the signers faces with a camera and taking multiple photos of the citizen's face. Their tactics would be the envy of a third-world dictator attempting to suppress democracy at the polls.

And that is EXACTLY what the blockers are determined to do: suppress citizens' democratic involvement in their constitutional right to engage in the petition and recall process.

Another type of blocker was at the polls today. These blockers were there to discourage voters from signing any Right to Work (RTW) petition that unions thought might be organized at voting locations. These blockers encountered no Right to Work petitioners, and were, at first, confused and mildly entertained by the recall blockers' engagements with recall signature gatherers. Until they witnessed the unvarnished vitriol spewing from the recall blockers toward voters who attempted to sign petitions. I am told by several of the recall petitioners that the RTW blockers have sided with recall petitioners at the polls, after being appalled at the aggressive, grotesque behavior of the recall blockers.

I don't know how many of the 8,700 signatures needed to force a recall election for Rep. Robert Dean will be collected today. It depends on overall election turnout in Grand Rapids, how long petition gatherers can withstand the cold and snow, and how well these petition gatherers and Grand Rapids voters can fend-off the offensive blockers who seek to undermine civility and even democracy itself.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

AFP Defend the Dream Summit

Friends,

The Michigan Taxpayers Alliance will be participating in an exciting event taking place this Saturday in Livonia. The event, a conference called the "Defending the American Dream Summit," is sponsored by the free-market, limited-government group called Americans for Prosperity. MTA board member Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform and author and co-host of ABC News 20/20 John Stossell will be among the featured speakers. Presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney are confirmed speakers and Congressman Ron Paul has been invited.

AFP describes the event as such: "Help turn our state around, by joining hundreds of citizen leaders from across Michigan for our Defending the American Dream Summit. This is your opportunity to send a powerful message to the politicians, special interests, and media that we've had enough of the out of control spending, taxation and regulation that has stifled our competitiveness."

The summit takes place at Laurel Manor in Livonia and starts this Saturday, January 12, at noon, concluding at 5:00pm.

Here is a link to AFP's website for more info and registration:

www.defendingthedream.org/MI/

I hope to see you this Saturday, drop by the MTA booth!