Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wasting Our Money

What is the matter with government? What part of we are all tapped out do they not understand? Their fixation with useless transportation projects that we can not afford has me stumped.

Traffic has dropped off dramatically between Canada and the United States due to the economy and the loss of population in Michigan. You now need a Passport to cross over into Canada. Only government would want to build another bridge to hold less traffic and lose money, when we already have three ways to access Canada from Michigan. They expanded the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron just a few years ago.

The proposed train down Woodward Ave.,it's use would be for what? Who would be riding it and where would they be going?

These are not little projects. We neither need them nor can we afford them. Millions and millions of dollars would be spent on these projects guaranteed to operate at a loss and be subsidized by the taxpayer year after year.   Let the governor and your representatives know this is nonsense.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Now Is The Time to Tweek

This is the first time since 1994 that the Taxable Value of property has been so near the State Equalized Value of Property. While there are laws prohibiting the increase of taxes without a vote of the people there is no law prohibiting the reductions of taxes.  It is time to restore justice and uniformity. In 1994 Proposal A passed.   It was concerned with the taxable value of individual property and the way we finance schools. It capped annual increases in your taxable value at the CPI (inflation) or 5% whichever is less. Millages are applied against the taxable value.

The red line in the graph is the State Equalized Value (SEV) and the Blue is the Taxable Value.  For years, they have been talking about tweaking Proposal A.  The problem is that suggestions were not always in the interest of the taxpayer. The suggestion that I have found to have the most value is the elimination of the "pop up". Under Proposal A, whenever property changes hands the new owner's taxes "pop up" because he now must pay on the SEV.  If you notice in the graph there was quite a difference between the SEV and Taxable Value when property was increasing in value.  As a result, two identical houses in the same subdivision could be paying dramatically different taxes because one person had been living in the house since 1994 when Proposal A Passed and another bought a house at the height of housing values. What that means is that there could have been almost a 50% difference in the amount of taxes paid for the same services.

The legislature should act now to eliminate the "pop up". and bring everyone down to 50% of their true cash value which is what the SEV should be and which is also in most cases the present Taxable Value. We need to bring some sanity back to the system.  The Constitutional limitation that prohibits increases in taxable value to inflation or 5% which ever is less would remain in effect.  Revenue for government units woulds be regulated by the Constitution (Headlee Amendment) and voted millages by the people.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Insanity

How can the American public expect to cut the budget on any level of government if they are unwilling to give their elected officials the tools they need to do the job? Even if  you are sympathetic to the unions and collective bargaining, you have to realize that the only area where you can cut a significant amount of dollars is in a service business, and that is what government is supposed to do, union wages and benefits are where the largest costs are.  You have to understand the conflict between unions, who contribute to the election of a candidate, and the benefits that they are able to have awarded in contracts.  You should also be able to understand that they can not be allowed to strike, because, of the damage that causes to the common good of the taxpayers.

Public unions have managed to negotiate salaries and benefits that are 47% higher on average, than the private sector.   To those people who are working for far less than unionized employee's and also to the unemployed,  the suggestion of a tax increase or the refusal of unionized public employees to take a cut is overwhelming.  To the unions taking less pay and benefits does not sit well, but the lines need to be drawn that are equitable for both the unions and the taxpayers. It is not that we do not appreciate the work they do, when they do it, but rather that it is unfair for the taxpayer to be overburdened supporting such unfair advantages.
The American people have to wake up. The recent attempt by states to deal with these problems has met stiff opposition with resistance by some who profess to want budgets and deficits cut.  This "anyone except me" attitude will surely drive us over the edge into certain bankruptcy.  What can you say about a society that seemingly is willing to steal from their children and grandchildren?  This is an immoral and selfish position that shows in and of itself the manner those involved wish to engage in in order to maintain their greedy unfair conduct.

The success of the vote in Wisconsin I hope will give courage to other states to follow through.