Saturday, October 31, 2009

Call Congress November 5

November 5, is Congressional House Call Day. The object is to tell congress at least one more time to keep their hands off your health care. The almost 2000 page bill as it stands today will ultimately lead to government control of your health care.

If you are interested in reading all 1990 pages of the bill, you can click here. If your interested in the breakdown of the important parts, then click here. It is important that we don't give up. We have to keep hounding them until they listen.

This represents 1/6 of our economy and the government makes a mess out of everything they control. Medicare is bankrupt. Medicaid is bankrupt. Social Security is bankrupt. The country's unfunded liability is astronomical. The debt we are leaving to our children is outrageous. More than that, the government should not be making decisions reserved to be between you and your doctor.


video

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Sad Day




You know your getting old when you start reminiscing. Lunchtime was great when I sat down in front of the TV and had it with Soupy Sales. As a little girl, I would giggle when Pookie would sing or White Fang and Black Tooth would show up. I am proud to say I was a card carrying official birdbath. That may not mean anything to some of you but it was a big deal for me.

Some of you never got the opportunity to see his crazy hat and bow tie. I can still do the Soupy Shuffle. The words of wisdom kept me on the straight and narrow.

Those were simpler days. I wish that the kids of today could appreciate things the way we did. I didn't realise until I was grown that we didn't have much money and the special things that magically appeared once in a while were the results of sacrifices by my parents. I am sure that I am not the only one who will miss his slapstick comedy. I throw you all A BIG KISS.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Honor to Honor







We are often accused of being negative. I attribute that to those who would rather call us names than judge our solutions. This time, we are sure our effort can not be misconstrued. When Leon Drolet of Michigan Taxpayers Alliance and I were deciding who should be honored, we found it easy to agree on Mr. Robert Bobb and Mr. Frank Beckmann to receive top honors.

Robert Bob has been doing yeoman's work at the Detroit Public Schools weeding out fraud and abuse. Frank Beckmann has been a voice of sanity and a source of information and taxpayer advocacy for years. This will be an event you will not want to miss. These men deserve to be recognized. For information click here.

Please help us make this a memorable event. Join us and join the fun. Jacket and tie for men and business attire for women.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Call for Resignation

I am respectfully calling for the resignation of Appropriations Chairman, George Cushingberry. He has the most powerful committee in the State House of Representatives. He controls the purse strings for all Michigan residents. He obviously does not understand that as head of that comittee he is supposed to represent all of us. His rant below is a clear indication that he needs to be reminded. I am asking that he appologize and recind his statement or resign.



Please contact him and remind him respectfully to correct his position or to resign from his Chairmanship.

Office Address
S0687 House Office Building

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

Phone: (517) 373-2276
Fax: (517) 373-7186


Toll-Free
(888) 347-8008


Email
georgecushingberry@house.mi.gov

When laws are passed and appropriations are made they effect all of us. Please be polite but firm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Canadian Style Healthcare


It can't be good folks. I am contacted daily, by organizations I admire and trust who warn me, about the dangers in the proposed health care bills which are about to be consolidated into a bill which will be put before congress.

Last night I was part of a conference call of over 10,000 activists, sponsored by American for Prosperity, who listened to and asked questions of Congressman John Shadegg. He warned us of the deals being made. The bill has not even hit the floor yet. As you might imagine, these deals are being made for their constituents and not everyone.

Can you really believe they will cut costs, improve services, and cover more people without raising taxes and reducing accessibility to services. The fact that at present, the Sen. Baucas bill that came out of committee is enforced by the IRS should tell you something.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has put out several videos. I hope you will watch them and contact Senators Levin and Stabenow to oppose nationalized health care or anything that resembles it. Call their local and Washington office, email them, write them, and fax them. Do it more than once so they know you are serious and intend to stay involved all the way to the voting booth.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Election Wayne County Style


On November 3, the residents of Wayne County will be asked to vote on various ballot issues. We encourage you to check ahead to see which issues effect you. All ballot issues go through Wayne County. We have included a link to the Wayne County Elections in the County Clerks Office to assist you. There you will find everything that will be on the November ballot in Wayne County.
That includes city, school millage and all other elections elections. Please check out the list to see those that effect you and then forward the link on to others in Wayne County who are in your address book.

Some people may not even know there is an election this year. All elections are important. This year in particular as few are able to absorb the increases in taxes.


Proposition O is a renewal of the current millage rate without the increase in millage that has been rolled back under the Headlee Amendment. I am concerned that if property values continue to decline but the overall state rate of inflation increases that there might be an increase through "Truth in Taxation "hearings. We will keep an eye on this for you and you can contact your various government representatives.

PROPOSITION O:

OPERATING MILLAGE RENEWAL

To renew the millage authorized in 2000, shall Wayne County be authorized to continue to levy this millage at the estimated 2008 rollback rate of 0.9529 (about 95 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation) for ten more years (2010 through 2019), and proceeds used to continue existing County services, including programs for arrest, detention and prosecution of criminals, juvenile court and related services, public health, recreation, County parks, job training, senior citizen services, and programs for meeting medical needs of the poor, the disabled, and the aged? This renewal is projected to generate $43,495,573 in 2010.
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Keep in mind that if approved this year, the millage will be rolled back from this years Levy per the Attorney General opinion .

The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)
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STATE OF MICHIGAN
MIKE COX, ATTORNEY GENERAL
TAXATION:
GENERAL PROPERTY TAX ACT:

HEADLEE AMENDMENT:

CONST 1963, ART 9, § 31:
Application of millage reduction fraction to renewed multi-year, voter-approved millages

In the case of municipalities seeking authorization to levy "renewed" millages, the millage reduction fraction specified in section 34d of the General Property Tax Act, MCL 211.34d, is calculated on an uninterrupted basis for each succeeding year as if the voter-approved millage it replaces had never expired. Under MCL 211.34d(11), the calculation of the millage reduction fraction does not commence at 1.0 for the first year of the "renewed" millage but with the fraction utilized for the millage levied in the last year of the millage it replaces.

Opinion No. 7193

March 30, 2006

Honorable Valde Garcia
State Senator
The Capitol
Lansing, MI 48909
Honorable Joe Hune
State Representative
The Capitol
Lansing, MI 48909

Honorable Chris Ward
State Representative
The Capitol
Lansing, MI 48909

OAG No 7131 examined this section at length and explained how the "millage reduction fraction" established by the Legislature as the basis for calculating the constitutionally required rollback was to be applied:

By this measure the voters mandated that the total of taxes assessed against all taxable property within a taxing unit shall not increase from one tax year to the next at a rate exceeding the rate of increase in the General Price Level for the prior year. In any tax year in which the value of all taxable property has, in comparison with the value of the same property for the previous tax year, increased at a rate in excess of the rate of increase in the General Price Level, the Constitution requires a reduction in the rate of taxation so that the revenue realized from such property for the current year does not exceed that which was realized from that same property for the prior year by more than the percentage increase in the General Price Level.

This constitutionally mandated rollback of authorized millage rates has been implemented by the Michigan Legislature in accordance with Const 1963, art 9, § 34, through its passage of amendments to the General Property Tax Act, specifically section 34d, MCL 211.34d. They establish the "millage reduction fraction" (MRF) as the basis for calculating a rollback and describe how the MRF shall be applied.

This fraction is calculated by comparing the value of taxable property that existed in the prior tax year with the value of the same property for the current year. It is designed to arrive at a true comparison by eliminating the increases and decreases in value attributed to additions and losses. Thus, the MRF involves the determination of the ratio between:

(a) the value of the property for the previous year, less losses, multiplied by the sum of 1.0 plus the rate of increase in the General Price Level (the numerator of the fraction); and

(b) the value of the property for the current year, less additions (the denominator of the fraction).

The value lost when property or improvements become exempt from taxation, are removed, razed, or otherwise destroyed in the previous year (losses) is subtracted from the numerator, and the value added by new improvements or other enhancements during the current year (additions) is subtracted from the denominator. Simply stated, losses, which are not present in the current year, are subtracted from the prior year and additions, which were not present in the prior year, are subtracted from the current year. Thus, the values compared are truly "apples to apples." It is the difference in the value of property that is actually present in both years that determines whether a MRF is appropriate, and to what extent.

If the value of such property for the prior year (properly adjusted), multiplied by the sum of 1.0 plus the rate of increase in the General Price Level, is less than the value of the identical property (again, properly adjusted) for the current year, then the value of such property has appreciated at a rate greater than the rate of increase in the General Price Level. To reduce the excessive increase in revenue that would result if the original millage were applied against that increased value, the effective millage (rate of taxation) is multiplied by the determined MRF, a number less than 1, so that the amount of revenue received is properly reduced. [OAG No 7131 at p 28; footnotes omitted.]

Section 34d of the General Property Tax Act (GPTA), MCL 211.34d, addresses your inquiry and warrants quoting in pertinent part at length:

(6) The number of mills permitted to be levied in a tax year is limited as provided in this section pursuant to section 31 of article IX of the state constitution of 1963. A unit of local government shall not levy a tax rate greater than the rate determined by reducing its maximum rate or rates authorized by law or charter by a millage reduction fraction as provided in this section without voter approval.

(7) A millage reduction fraction shall be determined for each year for each local unit of government . . . . For ad valorem property taxes that are levied after December 31, 1994, the numerator of the fraction shall be the product of the difference between the total taxable value for the immediately preceding year minus losses multiplied by the inflation rate and the denominator of the fraction shall be the total taxable value for the current year minus additions. For each year after 1993, a millage reduction fraction shall not exceed 1.

* * *
(9) The millage reduction shall be determined separately for authorized levied millage approved by the voters. The limitation on millage authorized by the voters on or before April 30 of a year shall be calculated beginning with the millage reduction fraction for that year. Millage authorized by the voters after April 30 shall not be subject to a millage reduction until the year following the voter authorization which shall be calculated beginning with the millage reduction fraction for the year following the authorization. The first millage reduction fraction used in calculating the limitation on millage approved by the voters after January 1, 1979 shall not exceed 1.[1]

(10) A millage reduction fraction shall be applied separately to the aggregate maximum millage rate authorized by a charter and to each maximum millage rate authorized by state law for a specific purpose.

(11) A unit of local government may submit to the voters for their approval the levy in that year of a tax rate in excess of the limit set by this section. The ballot question shall ask the voters to approve the levy of a specific number of mills in excess of the limit. The provisions of this section do not allow the levy of a millage rate in excess of the maximum rate authorized by law or charter. If the authorization to levy millage expires after 1993 and a local governmental unit is asking voters to renew the authorization to levy the millage, the ballot question shall ask for renewed authorization for the number of expiring mills as reduced by the millage reduction required by this section. If the election occurs before June 1 of a year, the millage reduction is based on the immediately preceding year's millage reduction applicable to that millage. If the election occurs after May 31 of a year, the millage reduction shall be based on that year’s millage reduction applicable to that millage had it not expired.
* * *
(16) Beginning with taxes levied in 1994, the millage reduction required by section 31 of article IX of the state constitution of 1963 shall permanently reduce the maximum rate or rates authorized by law or charter. . . . The reduced maximum authorized rate or rates for 1995 and each year after 1995 shall equal the product of the immediately preceding year's reduced maximum authorized rate or rates multiplied by the current year's millage reduction fraction and shall be adjusted for millage for which authorization has expired and new authorized millage approved by the voters pursuant to subsections (8) to (12). [MCL 211.34d(6), (7), (9) – (11), (16); emphasis added.]

Where the terms of a statute are clear and unambiguous, albeit complicated, they must be applied as written. See Storey v Meijer, Inc, 431 Mich 368, 376; 429 NW2d 169 (1988). The italicized text of MCL 211.34d(11) is determinative. For a renewal millage, the millage authorized is subject to a MRF identical to the MRF that would have been applied to the millage which it replaces had it not expired. For the first year of levying the renewed millage, the calculation of the MRF starts not at 1.0 but rather at the MRF of the expiring millage.

The millage about which you inquire was approved in 2004 after May 31.2 By its passage, the voters authorized levies in 2006 and subsequent years. No levies of the "renewed" millage are to be made until 2006.

For 2006, it is necessary to determine an MRF for the renewed millage. The MRF will be the same MRF as would have been calculated for the expiring millage and applied to it had it not expired. In other words, the calculation process does not start over but rather continues uninterrupted.

Like the situation addressed in OAG No 7131, the factual setting you present calls for a reduction in the rate of authorized taxation whenever the revenue monies to be realized from taxing property (after adjustments for losses and gains) at the voter-approved rate would result in realizing more tax revenue for the year of the levy than would be realized by multiplying the authorized rate of taxation by the taxable value of all property (after adjustment) times the rate of increase of the General Price Level for the preceding year.

It is my opinion, therefore, that in the case of municipalities seeking authorization to levy "renewed" millages, the millage reduction fraction specified in section 34d of the General Property Tax Act, MCL 211.34d, is calculated on an uninterrupted basis for each succeeding year as if the voter-approved millage it replaces had never expired. Under MCL 211.34d(11), the calculation of the millage reduction fraction does not commence at 1.0 for the first year of the "renewed" millage but with the fraction utilized for the millage levied in the last year of the millage it replaces.

MIKE COX
Attorney General

1 This subsection, MCL 211.34d(9), prior to its amendment by 2005 PA 12 (effective April 28, 2005), specified May 31 as the "cut-off" date rather than April 30. The change is not critical here as the election underlying your request was held after May 31 in 2004.

2 See n 1.


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http://~bogaert/Opinion.htm
State of Michigan, Department of Attorney General
Last Updated 04/03/2008 13:29:45

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Defending the American Dream III


I thought that the best way to communicate the incredible list of speakers that were at the final day of the convention was to provide a link to C-Span , who taped the whole thing. You can slide the gage to the speaker of your choice or listen to the whole list of speakers. I don't think you will be disappointed. They obviously are public speakers for a reason.

At Lunch we broke up into our state meetings. During lunch Lana Theis and I received awards for our efforts with AFP. Mine was a one time award given for "Lifetime Dedication to Limited Government and Economic Liberty". I am humbled by this award but it is not just mine. It is also for all those who have been with me since the beginning of our efforts and those who have joined over the years and have worked so hard. I thank you, Michigan AFP and anyone who joins the WCTA for making this possible. Please continue to support us and join in the effort.

After Lunch we had short updates from the state directors of each state. Next,we had brake out sessions where we trained in topics of our choice. They included topics concerning emerging issues in 2010:The Lefts Strategy and Our Solution, Grass Root Training, Detecting and Countering Media Bias, How to Impact your Legislators, Investigative Reporting Skills, State budget Crisis, and much more.

In conclusion we had the final reception and farewell speech by Tim Phillips. You should consider attending next year if you can, it is fun and informative.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Defense of the American Dream Continues




The morning of the first day was great. It started out with specialized grassroots training sessions on internet activism, grassroots activism and training on methods. It wasn't in anyway as subversive as it sounds. It was just good clean suggestions on methods.

In the afternoon, most people prepared for the rally and after that meetings with their legislators, which mostly turned out to be their aids. The above video was taken by AFP. Their cameras are so much better than mine.

That evening was the "Tribute to Ronald Reagan Dinner". We had some great speakers. Laura Ingram, radio host and best selling author was the keynote speaker. She was funny and thought provoking. She was followed by Congressman Mike Pence, who not only gave a very engaging speech but did great imitations of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. They were followed by Dr. Jim Miller, former Reagan Budget Director and Art Pope who is AFPs Chairman.

More tomorrow.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The American Dream Begins Again


I am writing to you from the third annual American Dream Summit in Washington DC sponsored by Americans For Prosperity. This year they have over 2000 people registered for the conference. This morning we had seminars on blogging and Grass Root training. In reality they are lessons in communication - ways to attract people to your organization and how to communicate your ideas.

In the picture above you see the attendees loading on to buses to go to a Capitol Hill town hall and news conference. After the rally they will go to meetings, organized by state delegations, to talk with legislators. Most likely they will be talking to aids or bureaucrats, as the legislators are not in session. I hope that you will get involved by calling or emailing your legislators and telling them to leave our health care alone. More later.