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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: June 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, HAD to get away..."

Dear Taxpayer,

Look out your window. What a nice day! Are you working today? There’s a far better chance that government workers are taking today off (paid) than the chance that you have the day off.

Next week our state legislators begin the first two weeks of their summer vacations before they reconvene in July - when they traditionally take a few more weeks off.

But state lawmakers aren’t the only ones enjoying generous paid vacations this year. State government employees and legislative staffers will also likely be spending much more time at the beach than you will.

I outta know – for over six years, I worked as a state House legislative staffer. When I was hired back in 1993, I was surprised to find out that I was provided one paid vacation day for every ten days that I worked. This 26 days of paid vacation for a first-year employee was on top of the 12 paid holiday days off (what do you do on your Presidents Day paid holiday?). Two months paid vacation compliments of the taxpayers? SA-WHEEET!

But wait, it got even better for government staffers. In election years, I got election day off, too. Plus, for every five years of service, I was given a bonus of two MORE paid days off. Very relaxing.

State lawmakers and staffers aren’t alone in receiving exceedingly generous taxpayer-paid benefits. Government workers, in general, enjoy far more generous vacation, holiday and personal day benefits than the average private-sector citizen receives. How much more? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that government workers earn $3.24 per hour in paid-leave benefits compared to the average Midwest private-sector employee who earns $1.80 in paid-leave per hour.

Even when the statistics are adjusted to compare full-time positions with full-time positions, the government worker enjoys a 33% advantage in paid-leave benefits.

Well, you’d better stop reading your email and get back to work. Your public “servants” need your taxes to provide for their extra summer fun!

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Politicians to citizens: "Stop lying!"

"Put not your trust in princes."
The Bible
Psalm 146 .3.

"I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live."


A group of state lawmakers want to imprison citizens who lie to politicians for up to ten years, according to a recent Associated Press article.

A bi-partisan group of nine state House members have sponsored a bill that would make it a crime for a citizen to mislead a politician during legislative panels. The lead sponsors are Representatives Dudley Spade (D-Tipton) and Lee Gonzales (D-Flint).

The proposed law would impose felony penalties on a citizen who provides information to politicians in a committee meeting that the citizen "knows is materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent."

Rep. Spade explained his reason for introducing the legislation by saying, "The decisions we make are too large, too important, not to have them based on accurate information." Rep. Gonzales is quoted saying, "...no one should be misleading."

Of course, the proposed legislation does NOT criminalize lies told by politicians to citizens. Broken campaign promises would still be legal. The bill also allows any politician serving on the legislative panel to lie at will to citizens during committee hearings.

It's business as usual in Lansing. The government class wants you to do as they say, not as they do.

Leon Drolet
Chairman, MI Taxpayers Alliance

"Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
George Orwell