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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a tax increase today"

Friday, August 14, 2009

"I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a tax increase today"

Governor Jennifer Granholm has a promise for you. She promises to lower taxes in 2011 if you let her raise taxes today. It is a PROMISE, you know, part of a deal. She just needs that tax hike today and then she will lower taxes r-e-e-e-e-al soon - like in 2011. It’s a promise.

From the front page of today's edition of The Detroit News:

Governor backs taxes to help erase deficit
Lansing -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm is proposing an entertainment tax, another 25-cent boost in the cigarette tax and a penny levy on bottled water to help erase next year's budget deficit.

Sources closest to budget negotiations said Thursday the plan -- which would raise about $685 million a year -- also would slightly reduce the state's film tax credit and an income tax break for low-income families. The governor would phase out the widely unpopular 22 percent surcharge on the Michigan Business Tax over three years starting in 2011.

Does Jennifer Granholm have a track record of keeping her promises? Remember this promise by the Governor after raising your income tax and business taxes in 2007:
"The most important thing I learned (this year) is I'm not ever going to raise taxes again. It;s too hard. It's too impossible. Especially in light of our economy and what we've been through. I just don't think there's anybody who's interested in proceeding down that path again."

- Governor Jennifer Granholm to the Associated Press, December 2007

Meanwhile, Granholm is still fighting against any actual reform or cost containment in the state budget.

House Speaker Andy Dillon stunned Lansing observers last month when he announced that he would seek to reduce the cost of government employee health care by creating one pool for all government employees in Michigan. The purpose of the pool was to seek administrative savings and right-size health benefits to match benefit costs in the private sector more closely.

The teachers union declared "war" (their word) on Dillon's proposal and Granholm has been non-supportive as well.

You may recall that the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance hasn't exactly been one of Dillon's biggest fans after his role in the 2007 tax hikes. But Dillon may finally realize that we cannot continue to afford two Michigans: one Michigan consisting of prosperous government employees who enjoy solid job security, high wages, regular pay hikes, and benefits that cost twice as much as the benefits of private-sector citizens; and another Michigan consisting of private-sector taxpayers who pay to support the government class.

Governor Granholm has been consistent in supporting the government-class at the expense of the citizens. Maybe Speaker Dillon is switching to your side.

Friends, this is a great time to call your lawmakers again. Both the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans have passed budgets that contain real cuts and NO tax hikes. But Granholm refuses to sign off on these budget cuts and refuses to support Dillon's proposal for government-employee benefits cost control.

Will the GOP lawmakers stand firm behind their "no tax hikes" budgets, or collapse again like they did during the 2007 tax hikes? Consider this quote from Republican Majority Leader Mike Bishop's spokesperson in today's same Detroit News story:

General tax increases "are a nonstarter for us. But we understand this is a process of negotiations and compromises will have to be made."

So please, just take a few minutes to call your state representative and state senator and tell them to:

1. Oppose any new tax hikes in this year’s budget
2. Support Speaker Dillon's efforts to equalize the cost of benefits for government workers with those of private-sector workers

Not sure how to contact your legislators? Find out who represents you in the state House here and in the state Senate here.

A quick call to your lawmakers will only take minutes. It could end up saving millions of tax dollars.

Leon Drolet
Director, MI Taxpayers Alliance