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.