Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let's Learn From History

While I like a lot of what Trump has to say, he has to get much more specific for me. He keeps referencing bringing the jobs and production home, he does not say how he will do it.  I believe I have heard the word tariff twice out of his mouth.  If that is his plan, he has to be very careful.
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." The Great Depression lasted much longer as a result of that policy.

 Smoot-Hawley   Department of State.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of June 1930 raised U.S. tariffs to historically high levels. The original intention behind the legislation was to increase the protection afforded domestic farmers against foreign agricultural imports. Massive expansion in the agricultural production sector outside of Europe during World War I led, with the post-war recovery of European producers, to massive agricultural overproduction during the 1920s. This in turn led to declining farm prices during the second half of the decade. During the 1928 election campaign, Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover pledged to help the beleaguered farmer by, among other things, raising tariff levels on agricultural products. But once the tariff schedule revision process got started, it proved impossible to stop. Calls for increased protection flooded in from industrial sector special interest groups, and soon a bill meant to provide relief for farmers became a means to raise tariffs in all sectors of the economy. When the dust had settled, Congress had agreed to tariff levels that exceeded the already high rates established by the 1922 Fordney-McCumber Act and represented among the most protectionist tariffs in U.S. history.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was more a consequence of the onset of the Great Depression than an initial cause. But while the tariff might not have caused the Depression, it certainly did not make it any better. It provoked a storm of foreign retaliatory measures and came to stand as a symbol of the "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies (policies designed to improve one's own lot at the expense of that of others) of the 1930s. Such policies contributed to a drastic decline in international trade. For example, U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334 million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from $2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by some 66% between 1929 and 1934. More generally, Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster trust and cooperation among nations in either the political or economic realm during a perilous era in international relations.
The Smoot-Hawley tariff represents the high-water mark of U.S. protectionism in the 20th century. Thereafter, beginning with the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, American commercial policy generally emphasized trade liberalization over protectionism. The United States generally assumed the mantle of champion of freer international trade, as evidenced by its support for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Additional Reading:
Barry Eichengreen. "The Political Economy of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff," Research in Economic History, 12 (1989), pp. 1-43.
Douglas A. Irwin. "From Smoot-Hawley to Reciprocal Trade Agreements: Changing the Course of U.S. Trade Policy in the 1930s," in Michael D. Bordo, Claudia Goldin, and Eugene N. White, Editors, The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
Charles P. Kindleberger. The World in Depression, 1929-1939 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973).
Peter Temin. Lessons from the Great Depression: The Lionel Robbins Lectures for 1989 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1989).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Change PA 236

Same principle. The Lansing legislature and governor.

Recently Wayne County transferred a judgment for $49 million to the tax bills of Wayne County taxpayers. The authorization they say comes from PA236 last amended three years before the Headlee amendment.  It is our contention that this was in error. Rather than fight this in court we have decided to permanently amend the statute to leave no doubt that this is illegal and bring it under the Headlee amendment without any doubt as to how the debt should be repaid.    
It is very difficult to identify as most people have escrow accounts and trust that payments for services received are what is being paid for from their taxes. This is a constant problem all across Michigan.

I am not an attorney and am asking for the assistance from those who are, for help with the correct wording.  I am also looking for legislators who would be willing to sponsor or cosponsor the legislation which ultimately requires that judgments come from the general fund of the local government or from voted funds under the restrictions of Headlee.  This might make it necessary to carry liability insurance or if self insured a catastrophic policy to safeguard  taxpayers. This is the my changed copy. Sugestions are appreciated.

600.6093 Recovery of judgment against township, village, city, or county.
Sec. 6093. (1) Whenever judgment is recovered against any township, village, or city, or against the trustees or common council, or officers thereof, in any action prosecuted by or against them in their name of office, the clerk of the court shall, on the application of the party in whose favor judgment is rendered, his attorney, executor, administrator, or assigns, make and deliver to the party so applying a certified transcript of the judgment, showing the amount and date thereof, with the rate of interest thereon, and of the costs as taxed under the seal of the court, if in a court having a seal. The party obtaining the certified transcript may file it with the supervisor of the township, if the judgment is against the township, or with the assessing officer or if the judgment is against a city or village. The supervisor or assessing officer receiving the certified transcript or transcripts of judgment shall proceed to assess the amount thereof with the costs and interests from the date of rendition of judgment to the time when the warrant for the collection thereof will expire.

The supervisor or assessing officer shall set forth in the warrant separately, stating the amount thereof and to whom payable, and it shall be returned in the same manner as other taxes.  The supervisor or assessing officer, at the time when he delivers the tax roll to the treasurer or collecting officer of any township, city, or village, shall deliver to the township clerk or to the clerk or recording officer of the city or, a statement in writing under his hand, setting forth in detail and separately the judgment stating the amount with costs and interest as herein provided, and to whom payable. The treasurer or collecting officer of the township, city, or village, shall  pay the judgment to the owner thereof or his attorney, on or before the date when the tax roll and warrant shall be returnable from the general fund budget, or funds authorized by the voters of the local unit of government, or insurance carried by the local unit of government.  If the local unit of government is self insured and the award is greater than funds set aside for such purposes, they are required to carry catastrophic insurance as a safeguard for the taxpayers. In case any supervisor, treasurer, or other assessing or collecting officer neglects or refuses to comply with any of the provisions of this section he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 and costs of prosecution, or imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 3 months, or by both fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to exclude other remedies given by law for the enforcement of the judgment.

(2) In any case where a judgment is recovered against a village which, by reason of holding no municipal elections, or for any other reason has no available assessing officer within the jurisdiction of the court wherein the judgment is rendered, the owner of the judgment or any person knowing the facts, acting on behalf of the owner, may make an affidavit showing that the village against which a judgment is pending and unsatisfied, has no available assessing officer within the jurisdiction, and file it with the clerk of the court wherein the judgment is written. The officer who makes the certified transcript shall attach thereto a copy of the affidavit, the correctness of which copy shall also be certified to in the certificate. Any party receiving the certified transcript of judgment and affidavit may file it with the supervisor of the township in which the village, having no assessing officer is located.

(3) When judgment is recovered against any county or the board of supervisors or any county officer in an action prosecuted by or against him in his name of office, the judgment unless reversed shall be paid from the general fund budget, voted funds or insurance.  If the local unit of government chooses to self insure they must also carry catastrophic insurance in case the award exceeds the amount set aside for such purposes as other county charges, and when collected shall be paid by the county treasurer to the person to whom the judgment has been adjudged upon the delivery of a proper voucher therefor.
History:   1961, Act 236, Eff. Jan. 1, 1963;    Am. 1974, Act 297, Eff. Apr. 1

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Evans Will Veto Commissioners Vote to Not Increase Taxes

Today the Wayne County Commission voted by a vote of 9 to 5 not to raise taxes of $49 million on our summer taxes. County Executive Evans is expected to veto that and place a special assessment on our tax bills unless we can convince one of the commissioner to change their vote to override the veto. Commisioners   Webb, Killeen, Clark-Coleman, Ware and Scott voted no on transferring the money to avoid putting the bill on taxpayers. Alisha Bell was absent. The rest voted to keep taxpayers from getting the extra tax this summer.  
 According to the commission Chair they will try to override his veto in about a week and a half, but will need help from at least one of those who voted against us today.


Distribution List Name:              WC Commission


Com. Al Haidous (
Com. Alisha Bell (    
Com. Burton Leland (
Com. Diane Webb (
Com. Gary Woronchak (
Com. Ilona Varga ( 
Com. Jewel Ware (  
Com. Joe Barone (
Com. Joseph Palamara ( 
Com. Martha Scott (    
Com. Ramond Basham     
Com. Richard (
Com. Richard L Blanc (
Com. Terry Marecki          
Com. Tim Killeen (

Please contact everyone in your address book who lives in Wayne County and tell them to contact their commissioner and others if they can.
Special assessments are completely out of control and used to violate the Headlee Amendment:
Article IX section 31 of the State Constitution limits your ability to tax.

§ 31 Levying tax or increasing rate of existing tax; maximum tax rate on new base; increase in assessed valuation of property; exceptions to limitations.
Sec. 31. Units of Local Government are hereby prohibited from levying any tax not authorized by law or charter when this section is ratified or from increasing the rate of an existing tax above that rate authorized by law or charter when this section is ratified, without the approval of a majority of the qualified electors of that unit of Local Government voting thereon. If the definition of the base of an existing tax is broadened, the maximum authorized rate of taxation on the new base in each unit of Local Government shall be reduced to yield the same estimated gross revenue as on the prior base. If the assessed valuation of property as finally equalized, excluding the value of new construction and improvements, increases by a larger percentage than the increase in the General Price Level from the previous year, the maximum authorized rate applied thereto in each unit of Local Government shall be reduced to yield the same gross
revenue from existing property, adjusted for changes in the General Price Level, as could have been collected at the existing authorized rate on the prior assessed value. The limitations of this section shall not apply to taxes imposed for the payment of principal and interest on bonds or other evidence of indebtedness or for the payment of assessments on contract obligations in anticipation of which bonds are issued which were authorized prior tothe effective date of this amendment.
History: Add. Init., approved Nov. 7, 1978, Eff. Dec. 23, 1978

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Debate Over the Export-Import Bank, Explained in 90 Seconds

I wanted to share this with you. As you probably know the Wayne County Taxpayers Association is one of the organizations which are composed of thousands of members, who have indicated that we want congress to let the Export - Import Bank authorization expire in June. If you have not contacted congress please do so.


I wanted to give you an update on the fight to end the Export-Import Bank.
I don’t have to tell you that 87% of the Ex-Im’s loan guarantees went to Boeing, GE and Caterpillar, that it doesn’t create jobs, and that all GOP presidential candidates oppose the bank. You already know that.
What I do want to remind you is that we have a real chance to shut down this government agency.
Thanks to your grassroots pressure and our Capitol Hill team, momentum is growing and each week we add more and more names to the list of representatives who have publicly come out in opposition to the bank.
And I have great news. We now have 88 lawmakers on our list.
These lawmakers are taking a bold stand against corporate cronyism and we thank them for their efforts. Two lawmakers who came out publicly last week under extreme special interest pressure were Jody Hice and Brad Wenstrup.
Rep. Jody Hice’s Georgia district is home to a new Caterpillar factory. Rather than giving into cronyist culture, he publicly came out against the bank. Jody Hice is representing the best interest of his constituents, not the special interest lobbying groups in Washington.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s Ohio district is home to GE Aviation, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Export-Import Bank. He is proud of GE’s innovation and technology, but understands the company doesn’t need taxpayer subsidies to thrive. Brad Wenstrup took a strong stand for principle.
Thank you for engaging in this fight with us. We are optimistic the bank will NOT be reauthorized on June 30 and that it will be shut down forever.
Lets keep the pressure up as we finish the fight!

Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action for America