Friday, December 28, 2007

Michigan's Nightmare or America's Dream

Sometime people need support and understanding to help them believe that they are not alone. Many people in Michigan are suffering as a result of the economy and the horrible leadership and the lack of foresight of our governor and the majority of our legislature. The thing that keeps us going is that there is hope of change. It is incredible that we keep voting for change but never seem to get it.
Since the Democrats are not coming to Michigan, maybe you would like to hear some of the Republican candidates in person, speakers from the Wall Street Journal and others at the Michigan Defending The Dream conference. The conference in Washington DC was great. It was energizing to be around other Michigan activists and the conversations were always stimulating or debatable. Most of all, in Michigan it will be like a revival of spirit and hope in the future of our state. I am hopeful that I will be there to meet you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Your Turn

Yesterday some of us went to Lansing to deliver coal to our legislators. Now it is your turn. Just click to select the coal. Then,highlight the piece of coal, select Copy, go back, find your legislator's email address from the links and Paste this piece of coal to the email to your legislators. Tell them what a bad job they are doing. Tell them this is all they deserve for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

They Have Been Very Bad

Members of the Wayne County Taxpayers Association (you and your family and friends) are invited to join a coal-ition of business and citizen associations who will present gifts of coal to the naughty politicians, and a "thank you" Christmas card to good politicians. The event will take place this Thursday, December 13 at 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on the Capitol Building steps in Lansing.

Santa will be there with a truck-load of coal parked in front of the Capitol Building and some personal gifts of coal by coal-ition members will be delivered to the offices of naughty elected officials who raised your taxes. If you want to make signs specific to the event, then try variations of "Coal-ition for Tax Reform", "Tax Reform Coal-ition","Coal-lison of Taxes and Good Sense.

Please come and join us. Thanks in advance for your support!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Troubled Times

So, what is Governor Granholm's job? Is she a hostess? How about a world traveler at public expense? Is she a kept woman at the expense of the public. Maybe a spoiled brat that throws temper tantrums if she does not get her way? How is it that Michigan has survived this long without a Chief Operating Officer? My head swims with questions about this governor. Some of them less flattering then the questions expressed above.

It seems to me we should have a job description and make the candidates read it before they run for office, to see if they are qualified. The governor obviously does not know how to reduce a budget. She can not balance a budget without a tax increase. While we bleed jobs, she travels abroad and brings back a handful of jobs which we must subsidize dramatically. With her bare bones budget, she hires a COO who is a negotiator instead of a business expert. If you detect frustration in my writing, you hit it on the head.

If she were at least merciful, she would fall on her sword and quit to save the state from anymore of her bad ideas.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Uphill Battle All The Way

Sometimes, I feel like Sisyphus. He was an ancient king of Corinth who was condemned by the gods to push a huge bolder up a hill only to have it roll back down for him to begin again. I am sure that other taxpayers in Michigan feel the same way. Just when we think we are making some headway with tax increases, government comes along rolls another tax right by us.

There were few people in the tax movement that did not realize that the recently passed increase of sales tax on some services was a bad idea. Certainly, they recognized it before most of our legislators. When the legislators finally catch on, what is their response? According to Rep. Jack Hoogdyk , "effective immediately, any business that generates over $350,000 in business activity, will have to calculate its Michigan Business Tax liability and then add 22% to that bill. Over 60,000 businesses in this state will see their tax bill, the MBT, go up by 22%. Large corporations will get a break because the maximum liability on the surcharge will be capped at $6 million."

Now I know that I have made this point many times before, but business does not pay taxes, people pay taxes." All these taxes will get passed on to the consumer. If business can be more competitive in another state, they will go there. If there workers can pay less taxes and keep their job they will follow. The legislature, while making bookkeeping easier for some businesses, helped their cash flow and additional costs, they have just shifted the cost to other businesses. They in turn will pass it on to us. So what have they done for taxpayers? Nothing.

This is too important to let this stand. We can not let a bunch of self involved politicians drive this state into deeper despair and recession. It will be ten years before the surtax is set to expire. I am sure that they will not let that happen unless we force them. Lets keep he pressure on them to reduce our taxes and make this state a place where people want to come to do business and take a vacation.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Misplaced Priorities

While our legislators are hunting, vacationing and playing, Wayne County burns. Thousands of homes up for tax foreclosure in 2008 are listed in today's Free Press . Apparently, our legislators could care less. As we are finding it harder to find things to be thankful for, they are off relaxing from doing nothing to help. This is unforgivable. We are expected to take cut after cut to our personal budget through wage cuts, higher deductibles for our insurance, tax increases or job loss. They are content with pretending they are trying to do their job with no sacrifice on their part.

What is it going to take to get you boiling mad. They are taking our homes and wages now without our consent, what will they take next? This holiday season will be horrible for some families. While I think that we all should be as generous as possible, I think it should be our personal decision. By the time the state gets its grubby hand on the money there will be none left to distribute. Do yourself a favor. Check out Let's get some of these guys out of office as a lesson to others. If enough of you contact them, maybe we will not have to take three more years of Granholm's bad policies.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Forgive Me

Yesterday was the clarity hearing at Wayne County for recall language on the petitions for Rep. Andy Dillon, Rep. Marc Corriveau and Rep. Edward Gaffney. Well, I lost it. I must have been having flashback of the McCollough Recall attempt of 1983. I managed to get out two coherent words of the many I spoke. I do not like to loose it like that and don't very often. I was not intimidated - just angry. I should not have let them get to me like that.We knew that the decision was made before we got there. We knew that was part of their strategy to delay the approval until after the November elections and into the coldest weather. The judge who sat on the board admitted he had contributed to Corriveau but did not recuse himself because he thought he could be fair.

The walls were lined with Teamsters, UAW and MEA members. There were also elected officials, lawyers and bunch of political types. You would think that the Teamsters and UAW would be on our side. The only reason for them to come there is intimidation. If I hadn't been so angry, I would have laughed. These are probably the same people who will be sent out to stalk us while we are collecting signatures. If they start pushing me or getting in my face and threatening me they will have pepper spray to think about and of course I will not hesitate to call the police. These people do not believe in free speech. They believe in their speech.

When Speaker Dillon had a town meeting in Redford, I had something else to do and did not feel the need to go because we had been communicating for months. I was told by a reliable source that he had body guards. I do not know what he is thinking about. Recall is the choice to prevent violence. It is operating within the law. It is a rational way to express your dissatisfaction after discussion fails. We have operated with integrity and it is they who wish to resort to thuggery.

How is it they feel it is necessary to thwart our efforts by these means. Could it be they have something much greater to lose then the average taxpayer? Why did I feel the need to ask the obvious? We have put another poll question on our website. It is the language that we submitted on the petition. I can only ask you to be honest and vote once . Remember that the person being recalled gets to put a 200 word rebuttal on the ballot as well. Please take the time to take the poll on the language and if you have not voted on the poll to recall, do that one too.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Recall 1983

I just finished watching a historical presentation on the recalls of 1983. I can not comment on the other recalls, although I knew the people involved, but I sure can comment on the McCullough Recall because I was smack dab in the middle of it. It was one of the coldest winters I can remember. This was truly a grass roots movement. We had next to no money and we only had our anger to keep us warm.

In the panel presentation, McCollough says he sent out people to present his side of the story. They were like thugs. We had to call the police on them several times. They badgered people who came up to sign. I remember him calling us a dogs breakfast and malcontents. We believed and I still do to this day, that it was some of his supporters who signed the petitions more then once. There were probably others who signed more than once by mistake because we were frequently in front of the same stores over a three month period. Some people may have forgotten if they signed. There were three signatures that appeared on one petition which appeared on a petition that were forged according to his handwriting specialist. When we investigated those three people said they did indeed sign the petition and we could not find the signatures on other petitions turned in. My question is who would think to hire a handwriting annalist to look over all those petitions unless you expect to find something.

I will also tell you right now that John Engler never had the authority to stop the recall nor anyone else. They were collected by people who wanted McCollough removed from office and that was not something to be bargained away by anyone in Lansing no matter what they may have said.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Assn.

Good ThingsCome...

It's unbelievable our website is finally whole. Comcast got it together.Now all of you who have been dying to become a member of the Wayne County Taxpayers Association or want information about the recalls can contact us on line. Oh, did I forget to mention we have a donation button. We can now become one of the 15 to 20 people a day to ask you for a donation. I am very sympathetic.

Most of all, I would like to mention that we are in worse shape then we were 30 days ago in this state. We now have an expanded service tax which can further erode our economy. The WCTA has joined the "Ax the Tax" coalition, which is dedicated to repeal the new service taxes (sometimes the lobbyist are right). If we can not do it legislatively we are committed to do it on the ballot. It behoves us to support this because businesses do not pay taxes - people pay taxes. We also have an income tax which also burdens the already suffering taxpayers in this state. As I write the budget 30 day extension is about to run out. If we fail to cut our costs we will go deeper in debt.

There is also a website where you can get information about Recalls. It's like a central sorting house. You contact them and they will put you in touch with the right people. This is not something to take lightly. It is important that our elected officials be reminded who is sovereign. We have to take a few of them out just so they are certain it can be done. If they forget who it is they are supposed to represent then representative government doesn't mean anything.

Our federal government is not doing much better. Instead of doing the peoples business, they are up to monkey business. They are still padding the bills with earmarks and there is political bantering and gotcha politics on every issue.

What is a battered taxpayer to do?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bias in the Freep

I was almost in tears when I read the informational peice on Speaker Andy Dillon in the Free Press. His family loves him. He goes to church. He is good looking, a nice guy and well educated. He is an all american politician. What that has to do with the tax increases he advocated I am not certain. I am sure that there are many in this state with the same qualities who have lost their jobs, their homes or their children to other states or countries due to our business climate and bad policies.

The State Constitution provides a tool to the electorate when your representative refuses to represent you or does something illegal and that is recall. Recall requires that you collect the valid signatures of 25% of the number who voted in the last election for governor in the district. This is not an easy task. In the case of Speaker Dillon aprox. 12,000 signatures would have to be gathered to account for a margin of error. After the sinatures are gathered and certified, the person to be recalled gets to put a rebuttal on the ballot.

So why go through all the trouble? Because good government doesn't just happen. Because it is your obligation to pay attention. The less you pay attention the weaker you become and the more intrusive government becomes. I believe that the tax increases have hurt the people and the business climate of this state. So take a position, whatever it is, and get involved.

Rose Bogaert, Chair

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ax the Tax

The WCTA just joined the Ax the Tax Coalition. The are dedicated to get rid of the most recent sales taxes placed on some services in Michigan. The bill is so poorly written, even some in the legislature have second thoughts about how they voted. Some of the taxes would be compounded like with the value added tax and of course all would be passed down to the consumer. If the legislature can not be persuaded to remove the taxes then we would work to have it removed through the ballot process. It's just one more job killer in Michigan. Contact us for more information.

Speaking of killers, our website is only partially up and running. If you have us in your favorites, please delete us and put us back in because Comcast has changed the address. You can still reach us at but it must be routed differently. Keep in mind we are only partially up and running. Apparently they are short of their high speed power stuff. You can not join, pay by credit card, donate or take part in our survey. You can, however, contact government, read our newsletters, read and look stuff up. They asked that we be patient. They would pick the quality that I lack most.

Rose Bogaert, Chair

Thursday, October 18, 2007

High Speed Internet Service.

For those of you who have been trying to contact our website, we have been hijacked by the webmaster at Comcast. They have been changing to their new bigger and better service. So, of course, we now have no website. They say they are working as fast as possible. It is now going on 48 hours. If you need to contact us you may do so by phone. The WCTA number is 313-278-8383. It makes it harder to conduct recalls if no one can contact you. Hopefully they will not lose all our data.

In the meantime, you can contact the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. They will transfer Wayne County inquiries to me. (You don't think this can be a left wing conspiracy do you? Naaaaa. )They would just shoot me. This thing is not personal with me. It is about what these tax hikes can do to the state. It's about how many people will get hurt as a result of these bad policies. These tax hikes are not a temporary inconvenience. They are a permanent blow. Michigan's bad economy has taken its toll on hundreds of thousands of Michigan citizens. We are still doing thing the way we always have. Poorly!

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Ass0ciation, Inc.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Turn

Since the passage of the income tax increase and the passage of the expansion of the sales tax to certain services, I have been fielding questions about state legislators who are being recalled in Wayne County. What I can say is that if anyone is interested I can steer you in the right direction, give you procedural advice and act as a contact source. Most of the calls I get, want the governors head. There has been no official filing on the governor as yet, but don't let that deter you. If enough of you are interested, there will an attempt .

The problem is that we must collect 1,500,000 signatures to insure we have enough to recall her. We have 180 days to collect recall signatures after language has been approved but they must all be collected within 90 consecutive days. You need a heck of an organization to get that done. Don't let that keep you from contacting us or the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance for direction or encouragement.

I personally have the distinct honor of attempting to recall of House Speaker, Andy Dillon who is responsible for orchestrating the increases and bowing to the governor. If you look at those people who contributed to him, you can see why. It is not like either party could not see this coming. They have all been responsible for the mess the state is in. For thirty years I have been hearing that we have to diversify business in Michigan and they just haven't bothered to get it done.

The tax increases could well be the last nails in the coffin in this state. We can not do any worse than having the highest unemployment. The exodus of our educated and unemployed from this state does nothing to help. The worst offense of all is the reluctance to cut spending and transferring the burden on to those who are having trouble keeping their homes, experiencing wage reductions, larger deductibles on insurance and an uncertain future. As far as the taxes on services, businesses do not pay taxes people pay taxes. They just pass the tax down to the consumer

Get involved and help save our state.

Rose Bogaert, Chair

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Pertinent Anachronism is "CYA"

All the blustering and bloviating in the legislature in Lansing amounted to nothing. If it were within my power I would ask for the resignation of almost every one of them. I would also extend a special request to our governor. According to the WCTA poll thus far 76% of those who voted would sign to recall their legislator if they voted for a tax increase. We hope that they will make the effort and do just that.

The worst part of all this is that our elected officials have no respect for us. They pat themselves on the back for making deals which would have the least political impact on them. They deserve to be confronted on their lack of concern for the future of this state. Even the lobbyists, who think they have won, have not. If there are less people, there are less teachers. If there are more taxes, there is less business. If there are fewer jobs, there are less people. If there are less people, there is less revenue. The spiral will continue and will be repeated over and over again.

This legislature has missed an opportunity to turn Michigan's economy around. They have failed to uphold the constitution which they swore to uphold. They have caved to a governor who talks down to her constituents and can out and out lie with a straight face. As she awards a multi million dollar no bid contract to her friend or takes trips abroad at taxpayer expense to bring back handfuls of jobs, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs to this continued policy without hope of recovery. Notice I have not let the republicans off on this issue. They are enablers. They are part of the wheeling and dealing.

They passed a replacement for the Single business tax ,which was to be revenue neutral, with the Michigan Business Tax that is expected to bring in $750 million more in revenue. They expanded the sales taxes on to some services. Wait. It will not be long before we will be right back to the same place. They will not have enough money and we will revisit the value added tax or an increase in sales tax.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the taxpayers must come together and stay together no matter what party or political persuasion or we will become more crippled than we are. We need a constitutional amendment to clarify and restrict these politicians from foolishly spending so much of our money. We need a term limited, part-time legislature so that they will be harder for lobbyist to get at and more available to us. We need competent legislators who do not think that it takes more than six years to learn their job. We need statesmen who reflects the concerns of their constituent and if there is something we have wrong, explain honestly and not ignore us.

The status quo will not do. Join us.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tick Tock

This is Sunday. There will be no rest for our legislators. At about one o'clock they are about to get locked into session for the third day. I suppose I should feel sorry for them. Somehow, I feel that if they had seriously thought about running the state correctly before this, they would not have this problem. Its not as if you could not see this coming.

The question now is, will those who we have elected choose the expedient way by raising taxes, or the correct way by bringing spending in line with revenue? I do not think Michigan can take any more business as usual. The people out here are suffering because of job loss, loss of their children who have had to leave the state to find a job, loss of their homes because of taxes, reduced wages, higher insurance deductibles or even loss of insurance.

A tax increase will not get them a job, will not attract business, will not attract people to move to Michigan and it will not increase the family budget. Residents should not expect to reduce their budgets while the legislature continues to spend without making the appropriate cuts. Some of our legislators have done nothing to even attempt cut and have even suggested increases.

Speaker Andy Dillon has said that he will keep house members locked up for however long it takes to get them to vote for a income tax increase. Too bad he did not put as much emphasis or time into reducing the waste in state government or improving the business climate. I hope his prisoners of war are strong enough to withhold the pressure. As we speak they are making deals with our money to bribe for enough votes to pass the tax. They are offering things that they should not. We are not talking compromise. We are talking possible bribery.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Monday, September 10, 2007

One Day at a Time.

It has been three full days and only a hundred people have responded to our poll. Obviously our members have not got the word. The question will be on our website for a while - at least until after our newsletter goes out. I think people want to find out what the legislators and the governor are going to do to us before they decide if they should or should not sign a recall petition.

The very fact that they have done nothing except think of ways to raise our taxes should be reason enough to convince us to sign. That October deadline to balance the budget is almost upon us and they have done nothing but throw some things into committee. The governor keeps going around with the same old ideas, which all entail spending more of our money. No matter what they say about cutting the budget, they still manage to spend more each year.

I find it humorous that the legislators blame all their troubles on, Leon Drolet, the head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. There is no question that he can raise hell but he can not do it alone. They complain because one man is making $39,000 for doing something he believes is good for the State and its taxpayers, while they take almost $80,000 plus benefits for doing next to nothing?

If he or anyone else says something untrue, legislators can easily rebut the accusations from their pulpit. Some started by saying this was a bare bone budget. I can not believe they thought anyone bought that. Then they proceeded to spend money they didn't have. Then they pretend they didn't spend it by pushing it into next years budget. Now that the liability is greater for next year, the obvious decision for any rational being is to make a promise to spend more. NOT! It is either cut the state budget or our budget. I pick the state budget.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

For Your Voting Pleasure

We have just placed a poll on our website in a moment of insanity. This poll is not scientific. Just a matter of curiosity. The question reads " Are you willing to sign a petition to recall your legislators if they vote for a tax increase?" We have to believe there are people out there that are mad about the legislators lack of action with regards to reducing spending.

Over and over again legislation is thrown together at the last minute. As I recall (no pun intended) before the last recall, they were in session well into the night deciding to raise taxes. The same is true when then State Senator Debbie Stabenow put forth a proposal to eliminate funds for schools so that the method of funding would change. The republicans, not to be outdone, said me too. That is how we got the now troublesome Proposal A. I am sure people will want to stay here after college or move here when they find out their taxes will almost be double that of someone living here in a similar house and neighborhood since 1994, especially if they can not find a job.

Perhaps the legislators feel that close to $80,000 with full benefits isn't enough for what is really a part-time job. Maybe they feel they are above the State Constitution. Maybe they do not think they should loose their job for doing nothing about the budget and voting for nonsense half the time.

Remember politicians, staff, those in the MEA, AFT and government workers you only get one response in this poll.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Recall Madness?

The real madness is expecting the taxpayers of Michigan to continue to follow the line that a tax increase is the answer to Michigan's problems. What is the poor taxpayer to do but take drastic measures, when the people they elect to represent them refuse to hear them. What I can not understand is why our elected officials feel put upon when they are expected to do their job within the financial limits of the state's income.

It also makes me laugh to hear them blame Leon Drolet, of Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, for everything. Do they honestly think that he can collect the thousand of signatures necessary to recall them by himself? While he is an effective spokesperson, every signature gathered is a statement on the part of a voting taxpayer. Every person who steps up to form a committee is an emerging leader/activist for the taxpayers of Michigan. Any legislator who complains because he/ she has helped solved a problem for a constituent in the past has lost sight of the fact that is what he/she was elected to do. By the way, Leon Drolet was a little young in 1983 when two senators were recalled. As far as tactics, huge pink pigs, signs and rallies get attention. Unlike the lobbyists, most taxpayers do not have large funds to draw on for an advertising budget.

If you need assistance or information just contact the WCTA. We will help coordinate in Wayne County. We will buffer, if you want anonymity, until the Recalls are necessary.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Some of you have expressed a desire to recall your State Representative or Senator, if they vote for a tax increase. The WCTA will be glad to facilitate you buy filing the appropriate paperwork with Wayne County to form a committee, find out the number of signatures required to recall them from office, set up the proper documents to establish a bank account at LaSalle Bank for your committee and will even help you file a return if you collect more than $1000. (Chances are you will not even come close.) It will cost you very little, if you do it right. It will cost them a great deal to defend themselves.

We can act as a contact point to match up anyone interested in helping recall. Helping you contact each other is half the battle. We will answer any questions which you may have. All other facets must be done by the committee itself. Anyone else who is interested should call us or email us.

You may choose to file a committee and not follow through without penalty but with the proper help, the signature gathering while time consuming, is not difficult.

Ask your like minded friends for help. You may also wish to contact the Wayne County Election Division. You may do it from our website or click on this link . You may give our number for the initial contact (313)-278-8383.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Standing Down Wind

Let me see if I have this straight. Governor Granholm is going on a five day fishing trip to Sweden and Germany to catch jobs for Michigan. She is trying to get more automotive
and alternative energy business.

Her trip is being paid for by funds solicited by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Foundation whose members are recipients of taxpayer money through corporate welfare from both the state and federal government. Having received this money, they are now financially able to make a contribution to pay for the governors trip along with between 6-25 people from the governor’s office.

The governor contends that the passage of the Michigan Business Tax, which replaces the Single Business Tax, is supposed to be revenue neutral and will now allow different businesses to pass the taxes down to the consumers (taxpayers). Added with the states’ 21st Century Jobs Fund it will ensure that “our tool kit is very robust”. She indicates that it will lure more business to Michigan. She will be looking for companies that will be eligible for more taxpayers dollars
through the Michigan Economic Growth Authority grants.

According to the University of Michiganfrom 2001 to 2005, Michigan lost 308,900 jobs. There have been tens of thousands lost since then. This will be the Governors fifth trip overseas and thus far it has netted us 2,300 jobs. It would seem to me that it would be more productive for the governor to stay home and fix the problems of overspending, poor management and high taxes that exists in the state than to go traipsing all over trying to bring a few more jobs here to Michigan.

To lure these businesses here they are usually offered a tax abatement. That means all or a portion of their property taxes will be forgotten for a period of time. This would mean that the cost of government services would be transferred to the remaining taxpayers. Let’s face it business moved to other states for a reason. If we fail to address those problems, we can not expect business from abroad or from other states to locate here.

In June of 2003 the Mackinac Center for Public Policy put out a report entitled “Does the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Even Matter?” In that document they indicated that economist consider the Gross State Product (the value of goods and services
produced) to be one of the better indicators of economic health.

Every state in the union has an economic development program. In 1996 Michigan ranked 9th (in the top ten) in per capita spending on economic developmentand 24th in GSP. Texas
was dead last in economic development per capita but had ranked 18th in GSP. In 2001 Michigan ranked 20th in economic development expendituresand 30th in GSP. California was 41 in economic development expenditures and 8th in per capita GSP. These were only a couple examples of the study.

Through “regression analysis” The Mackinac Center came to the conclusion that there is no correlation between state spending on economic developmentand GSP.

Economic Development Funds create jobs for those companies that receive them and loose jobs among their competitors by giving those who receive the fund an unfair advantage. The success
of a business should not be decided by the governor or legislature but by owner competence.

Rose Bogaert, Chair
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tax Hikers Deserve the Boot

On June 25, I attended the first of the "Recall Boot Camps" to teach people the law and procedures for recalling someone from office in the State of Michigan. The thing that amazed me is that over 50 people showed up and the legislature has not decided what taxes, if any, (besides those which will be passed on to consumers by business) to raise. People must really be upset by this do nothing legislature to make that effort.

As one who worked hard and almost recalled her senator in 1983, I know how difficult this is to do. At least, we caused him not to run for reelection. Chris Kliesmet and Orville Semyer from Citizens for Responsible Government in Wisconsin, who have helped recall 15 politicians in their state, are helping the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance educate Michigan citizens about their constitutional right to recall politicians from office by teaching state laws, and recall techniques and tactics.

Another boot camp was held in Lansing and now the next series will be held in three other locations across the state:

Monday July 16th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm:
Traverse City, MI
Park Place Hotel
300 E State St, Traverse City, MI

Tuesday July 17th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm:
Mt. Pleasant, MI
Holiday Inn
5665 E Pickard Rd,
Mt Pleasant, MI

Wednesday July 18th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm:
Kalamazoo, MI
Radisson Plaza Hotel
100 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI

If you have the opportunity you should take the time to attend. It is entertaining and informative. Most of all, a couple of these guys from both parties deserve to get dumped if they raise our taxes. It is already to hard out here for taxpayers. It seems we have been unable to stop them in the past but we sure slowed them down. Sacrifices deserve to be made even if it is some of them.

From the Chair

Sunday, June 17, 2007

So Easy A Caveman Can Do It

So, the State Legislature has agreed on a revenue neutral business tax. While they figure out if it is truly revenue neutral and vote on bits and peaces to put it together, we have to keep in mind that business does not pay taxes. People pay taxes. Business just passes those cost down to the consumer. All the businesses that will flock here, according to them, will bring employees with them. Let's think about this.

The majority of the legislature still wants revenue enhancement (a tax increase). People are loosing their homes at unprecedented numbers, they are finding it difficult to meet their monthly bills, they are being attacked for money on every level of government and the unemployed have little luck in finding a job in this state. Why would anyone want to move here to pay more taxes?

A more pointed question is, why should we pay our elected officials so well to just raise taxes? If that is the best they can do, let them go home and earn a living in the real world. It takes no skill or talent to just get money when you need it. If you are lucky enough to still have a job, I challenge you to go into your boss and tell him of your economic woes. Inform your boss that there is no alternative but for him to give you a raise. Of course, if you think you know what he will say and feel you might jeopardize your job, I suggest that you go home and find ways to economize.

That is exactly what they need to do in Lansing. Economize! It amazes me that they feel so proud of themselves after doing so little. They are arguing not about spending less but rather about on what and who will cause the biggest reaction if they do not get enough money. After all, they can weasel it from the taxpayers by misrepresenting the effects and the necessity and still get contributions for their next run for office.

The budgetary crisis should be causing a reassessment of priorities. As an example, Chief Justice Taylor's budget is $160 million . It is small by state standards but they expect him to cut his budget by $2.9 million at last count. While state law prohibits salary decreases for judges, Judge Taylor and his other appellate court judges offered to reduce costs by eliminating use of state vehicles for private use. This is more symbolic given the size of the problem, however, his type of thing needs to be done throughout the various departments. While asking him to cut, they are adding a million dollars worth of new judges. Justice Taylor suggested the elimination of 10-14 trial judges and 4 appellate court judges. This would amount to real savings although it would limit the ability for political patronage by the legislature.

It behoves us to keep up the pressure on the legislature. They have a tin ear until they are personally effected. I know we will be if an increase in taxes happens.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Phantom Mills Strike Again

In February 2005 the Crestwood School District in Dearborn Heights and the Grosse Pointe School District, with very little turn out, and certainly little understanding on the part of the electorate, voted in millages in excess of the 18 mill limit on non-homestead property allowed under Proposal A of 1994. We were horrified to discover that this was not the first time this had happened and that it was becoming a way of life in districts across the state. We believed that this was a violation of the Headlee Amendment contained in Article IX of the State Constitution.
By holding mills off to the side and not levying them until after the rollback required by the Headlee Amendment, when revenue exceeded the rate of inflation, they could override the amendment years into the future without bringing it to a vote. This had the effect of compounding the effect of the value of the portion applied to bring the millage levy back to the 18 mills each year, since it would not be effected by the rollback and clearly was not legal under law or charter.
In April of that year, a request to the Attorney General was made on our behalf by Representative Fulton Sheen, who served as Vice Chair of the Tax Policy Committee. Along with that, an 11 page report was submitted in support of our position by the Anderson Economic Group out of Lansing. The report is still available under Special Reports on our website and is titled Phantom Mills.
An answer was not forthcoming from the Attorney General’s office. Our repeated requests were ignored. We had waited almost a year then we thought we could solve the problem with the “Stop Over Spending Petition” that was going to close the loopholes being used to get around Article IX Section 26 -32 of the Constitution. That petition effort was sabotaged by special interest. We collected over a half million signatures but deliberate multiple signatures (one signing as many as 11 times) caused the drive to fail.
Now "Phantom Mills" are spreading to sinking funds for schools, charter millages for cities and eventually counties, if this has not already happened.
The last month we have been attending meetings in Dearborn where their charter commission just voted to place a charter proposal before the council which would allow a 15 mill maximum levy with an additional mill used to override Headlee in the future.
We can not allow this to continue, the electorate will have no way to determine what they are voting for and the Headlee Amendment will become useless. The WCTA will start over to attempt to stop this.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Show Us All the Spending

The Michigan Taxpayers Tea Party in Lansing was a success. Hundreds for taxpayers showed up to tell the governor an legislature not to raise taxes. In the same spirit the Wayne County Taxpayers Association has joined a coalition of taxpayers from around the country in an effort how state money is spent.

As you may know, last year President Bush signed S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, into law. The legislation creates a searchable online database that the general public can use to track the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal grant and contract expenditures. We deserve the same access to state government finances.
Creating a similar website on the state level would entail little cost, but it would greatly increase transparency in the distribution of precious tax dollars and help hold all elected officials accountable for state spending. By acting now, we in Michigan have the opportunity to lead the nation in making spending more easily accessible to the public. Tell your legislator: "Show me the spending!"

By participating in the letter campaign you can help convince your legislator to support legislation. You can see pictures and a video of the rally and send letters to you legislator from our website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Recall 1983

It is almost upon us. Tomorrow, Wednesday April 18 at 11:00 AM, taxpayers from around the state will converge on the steps of the State Capitol to protest the the possibility of a tax increase. Just like in 1983 the people in this state find themselves faced with unemployment, foreclosures an an economic woes and the solution offered is to raise their taxes. The result in 1983 was the attempted recall of Gov. James Blanchard and the recall of two State Senators. A third senator was almost recalled but the campaign was sabotaged by those who wanted to put and end to the recall movement.

Just like then, people are plotting to sabotage taxpayer influence. The Michigan Federation of teachers and Artserve have changed their lobbying day to coincide with this rally. The Michigan Liberal Blog has sugested that their readers show up and behave outragiuosly before the media to convince them we are rightwing nuts. We suggest that you bring a camera and, if you see them, take a picture. You can also interupt an interview and tell them that this person does not represent you or the majority of other people at the rally.

Bring you camera, have a good time and we will see you there. I'm proud of you!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

On the Road To Lansing

Momentum is building and people are calling and communicating that they will be in Lansing on Wednesday, April 18th at 11:00 AM, for the Michigan Taxpayers Tea Party. If you plan to come, and we hope you do, get there early. Bring your cameras and take pictures. There may be disruptive individuals or others taking pictures who may be trying to discredit participants of our rally.

These are not new tactics. They have been used before. There may be those among us who are on the side of the taxspenders. We have seen this behavior at other rallies and while people are trying to gather signatures for petitions. Don't forget your enthusiasm and commitment. You may be able to shape the future of this state. You may be able to influence the badly needed change in direction that this state needs.

Bring your sincerity and a smile. Bring your family, friends, a teabag for the Governor and a sign. Please leave the front of the capitol in the same condition as you found it (taxpayers have to pay to clean it). If you have time, visit your Senator and Representative while you are there and tell them NO MORE TAXES. Help us create jobs and economic developement through the proper environment and not selective government intervention.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Governor and Taxspenders to Taxpayers: Game On!

Last week, a Lansing reporter informed Leon Drolet, President of Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, that a Governor's staffer had told him that the Gov was aware of the April 18 Taxpayer Teabag protest planned at the Capitol - and was preparing a "surprise" for protesters. What "surprise"?Turns out that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have moved up their lobby day in Lansing to coincide with our tax protest. They support Granholm's plan to mandate government preschool for all children. And they are not alone. An organization called "Artserve", which supports more tax dollars being spent on art, has also changed the day and time of their lobby day to April 18. It appears those that demand more and more spending and higher taxes will try to outdo taxpayers that day.

According to the AFT Michigan website, they are planning to bus public school teachers in from around the state. It is now even more important than ever to spread the word to all taxpayers about the Taxpayer Protest Rally! Everyday taxpayers need to show up at the Capitol in Lansing on April 18, bring a teabag that we will deliver to the Governor, and tell Lansing politicians to balance their budget by cutting spending and enacting reforms; NOT BY RAISING TAXES ON CITIZENS!

Get to the Capitol around 10:00am. Rally starts at 11:00am, but you will need time to park. Taxspenders are planning to hijack this rally, and demand more and more of YOUR money. We cannot allow the voices of everyday taxpayers to be drowned out. Take the day off work, clear the calendar, gather your family and friends, and head to Lansing on April 18!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rallying the Taxpayer Troops

Our “Virtual Teabag Campaign” is moving along nicely. People are coming to our website copying our virtual teabag and sending them in emails to their elected officials in Lansing, Michigan. You can also locate your Senator and Representative from our site.

The Wayne County Taxpayers Association is also helping to sponsor a rally on Wednesday, April 18, at 11:00 am, on the steps of the state capitol in conjunction with the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance and Americans for Prosperity . We want to tell the State government – Hell No! Don’t raise our taxes. WE INVITE EVERYONE TO JOIN US!

Make sure to come early because parking may be difficult. We are also planning to have a truck and car caravan around the capitol building. We hope to have some local celebrities to attend and speak. BRING A TEABAG AND A SIGN. Don’t forget your enthusiasm.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tea Party inspired by Boston

We are encouraging everyone to send their State Representative and Senator a tea bag. Remind them of the people they represent and their responsibility to represent them. Tell them not to raise taxes. In a state budget of $43billion dollars they should be able to find things to cut. With people leaving this state in droves, we do not need another reason to drive them away. We also don't need to drive away the business that is still located in this state.

For those of you who do not drink tea, you can use our virtual tea bag. Just right click on the bag, copy and paste it to your email. You can also locate your legislators email address by clicking on the links below the picture .

I hope we can generate enough interest to make them sick of tea and enough volume to to convince them not raise our taxes

Friday, February 23, 2007

Taxing the Tapped Out

It's time to fight back. I was in Lansing when Governor Granholm presented her budget. While there, I visited the office of my representative who happens to be Speaker of the House Andy Dillon. He provided me with a copy of this years budget and said see if you can find ways to balance the budget. I took it determined to try.

When I got home I began to look at what he had given me. Then it came to me. We are paying all those people up there very well to do a job. We, as their bosses, have a right to expect that they do it. We do not have a staff at our disposal or departments that can answer any questions we have or follow our directions. We can not order department heads to cut their budgets-but they can. We couldn't hand our bosses our bills and say adjust my pay so that all the bills can be paid and, by the way, include enough for some other things I want. Why should I go through all the trouble when it should be done by them and has been done by other larger organizations. They wouldn't take my advice anyway.

Our job is to set the financial limits of government and theirs is to decide the priorities. With that in mind, we have placed on our website a discussion between Frank Beckmann, WJR Radio host, and Economist David Littman on how to cut the budget. We also have a letter drafted on behalf of Michigan residents by the National Taxpayers Union which will enable you to easily contact your state senator and representative, so you can tell them not to raise your taxes.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

State of the Mess Address

I suppose that Governor Granholm should be a cheerleader about the future of Michigan in her State of the State address but I was absolutely horrified at the number of times she used the word invest as a substitute for spend taxpayer money. Apparently she believes that those who still have jobs in this state should assume the burden of retraining everyone who is unemployed, pay for everyone's children to go to a community college and provide everyone with health insurance. I wonder if she is aware that those who are educated are already leaving this state in droves to get employment in other states. I am not saying that education is not important but education alone will not save us. It already receives 37% of every dollar the State spends and if it is exported after it is paid for by Michigan taxpayers it certainly will not help the State.

The govenor talked about taxpayer funded student loans which implies acquiring the bureaucracy that that goes with it to administer and collect the debt. She calls on local governments to consolidate and share services or threatens the loss of revenue sharing from the state. These are funds that are better administered by local units of government and are better overseen by local taxpayers. Who will be deciding the necessary criteria? She talks of the need for infrastructure repairs but the state is unwilling to lower the weight that trucks can haul which tears up our roads and bridges or to supervise the poor quality of material and workmanship of those who are repairing them.

She has requested that business pay its fair share. Businesses do not pay taxes. People pay taxes. Any costs must be passed on to the consumer. In addition to the cost of the tax we must also assume the cost to keep the records and file the returns. It should not be up to the governor or the legislature to decide who succeeds in business. It should also not be their job to decide who gets taxpayer money to operate. It is their job to create an environment where business can grow and prosper.

I look forward to seeing the governor's budget priorities.It is her job to submit a balanced budget under the State Constitution -not one that requires an increase in taxes.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tax and Spend Experts

The membership of Gov. Granholm’s special commission on the budget reads like a meeting of tax increasers anonymous. As for bi-partisan, they belong to the party of tax and spend.

Lets start with the best known Republican, Gov. Milliken. He really is bi-partisan. He supported Dem. John Kerry in the last election for president. When he was the governor, he let us drink PCBs in our milk rather than chance a cut to state revenue.

Next we have Gov. James Jobs Jobs Jobs Blanchard. When he was Governor., he gave us a 38% increase in our income tax and caused the recall of two senators who supported him.
Former Rep. Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow we believe never met an increase in taxes for education, good or bad, that he didn’t support. He also lost the support of his party for his attempt to run for Attorney General.

Former Dem. Attorney General Frank Kelly, had a long run in office and knew how to play politics. He also was one of the main reasons there were so many violations of the Headlee Amendment allowed. (Article IX Sec. 26-32 of the State Constitution)
The list goes on. If Governor Granholm thinks those of us who have been around for a while thinks this is anything but making someone else responsible for her decision to raise taxes, she has another think coming.

Raising taxes should not be a consideration. Unlike in the past , the auto industry will never come back to its glory days in this state nor bail us out of this mess. We must look to other states to see how they have succeeded. We must diversify and compete with other states. We have to give our graduates a reason to stay in this state instead of leave for another.

In desparation to bring some sense to the issue we created an audio public service announcement on our website in hopes that people will forward it other in their address book. You can also contact your legislators from our website. I am hoping that others will take the time to do so as well.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

An Appealing Year

If you are thinking about selling your home anytime soon, this is definitely the year to appeal your property tax assessment. The housing market across the state is tanking. Foreclosures are up for nonpayment of mortgages. They are also up for non payment of taxes. Since the State has changed the rules to allow foreclosure after two years of nonpayment of taxes, many people have lost their lifetime investment due to job loss or wage cuts. This is a buyer’s market. Home prices are dropping so they can be sold and be affordable. Tax increases are expected to be requested at all levels of government. (The worst solution possible)
Many people chose to ignore their right to appeal their SEV, which should be half of the true cash value, because they are being taxed at the Taxable Value which was capped with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. This limited the taxable value increases to the rate of inflation or 5% which ever is less. If you have been living in your home since Proposal A passed, you are likely paying more than 35% less in taxes than someone who just purchased a similar home. Remember, the assessment cap is removed when the property changes ownership. New owners are stuck paying taxes based on the State Equalized Value.
Don’t forget, if you live in the city of Detroit, you must first appeal to the Board of Assessors before mid February to appeal to the Board of Review in March. Everyone else should call their city or township and inquire when their Board of Review will be meeting. Make sure you do the work necessary to make a successful appeal. You should be able to get sales that have occurred in your area from a local real estate office or the city assessor. You should also be able to see the SEV of other houses in your area and the worksheet they keep on your home to insure accuracy of information.
If you need information on how to appeal you can contact us by phone, mail (include your phone number) or online.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cobo Conspiricy

It seems like every two years Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit suggests the expansion of Cobo Hall. This year he got his buddy County Executive Robert Ficano to do the deed for him. Its not that the idea is such a bad one, it is that the taxpayers never seem to get relief from the Cobo expansion project. They don’t seem to care what laws they break, what rights they trample or how much the taxpayer pays to achieve their goals.
At least the project has gotten less ambitious. At one time they wanted to build a new facility and attach a hotel without any idea what they were going to do with the old one. The price tag under Ficano seems to have dropped some as well, but we still have to consider that the bonds from the 1989 expansion will not be paid for until 2015. That has not been the only costs assumed by the taxpayers. We have been paying through Downtown Development, Tax Increment Financing and local taxes.
Of course, any new project must start with an Authority made up of individuals who have not been elected by anyone. Then, they are authorized by the legislature and appointed by some elected official(s). The State seems to want to be involved on this project too and will be represented if it flies. I think this is so the $16.2 million grant that was given to Cobo Hall in 2006 will not have to be given this year but rather extracted from taxpayers as is customary in a different manner.
It is proposed that this non elected body be given the authority to bond for this plan to the tune of $968 million for the 270 sq. ft. expansion. We should be grateful that this amount includes paying off the existing bond balance. Cobo Hall would then be turned over to private companies to be managed. Of course there is no guarantee that they will not buy $500,000 worth of artwork like the mayor did in 2002 when they were expected to lose millions of dollars.
Article IX Section 25 of the State Constitution says we should have the opportunity to vote on such matters. This is something they conveniently forget all to frequently and it certainly has not stopped them in the past. To insure that the counties and the legislature approve the plan, $233 million from the 22 year extension of the of the hotel and liquor tax would be split up between the 83 counties.
Few of these projects ever live up to their expectations (Pontiac Silverdome, Poletown Plant, first Cobo expansion, etc.). Cobo Hall loses tens of millions of dollars each year which leaves the taxpayer holding the bag. Even if they expand Cobo Hall there is no guarantee that the massive expendatures will produce the desired results.
If business is expected to benefit so much by this expansion, then they should be willing to foot the bill. Businesses are not the only ones who have been ravaged in this state. Taxpayers pay all the bills as consumers, even those imposed on business. With all the problems on the state and local level, more taxes for a car show or possibly a few more conventions makes no sense as a solution.