On May 5, 2015 Michigan voters will be asked to vote yes or no on a proposal to raise the Michigan Sales Tax from 6% to 7% to fund road repairs, and bring with it a long line of other tax increases. Governor Snyder cut taxes on Michigan businesses in 2011 while raising taxes on poor people and old people for what he called, “shared sacrifice.” Four years later, poor people and old people just don’t have as much money as corporations making billions, but the governor decided if we want roads sans potholes, it will be up to those of us with no money to pay the bill.
Rather than pay their fair share of taxes, Michigan businesses instead formed a committee called Safe Roads Yes! and raised $3.2 million dollars to convince Michigan taxpayers they should be the ones to pay for fixed roads those businesses need to do business. Most of the donors to this committee are businesses with a stake in the road construction business, so if this bill passes it means our tax dollars will pay them to fix the roads.
A list of businesses making donations to this committee include:
And $3.2 million is just the beginning, the committee will donate up to $15 million if necessary to fight the Proposal 1 nay sayers and fight to get the bill passed, if the opposition groups can raise enough money to put up a fight. So far, those groups haven’t come close in fund raising.
If people vote yes on this proposal and it passes, then ten other bills will also be triggered and become law. They include a raise in fuel taxes, raising and modifying vehicle registration fees so that the amount will never depreciate, taxing electric car owners because they don’t pay gasoline taxes, and the only good thing that will come out of passage of Proposal 1 (and the incentive to get poor people to vote yes), the restoration of the Earned Income Credit.
It’s hard to say if the $300 million in promised education funding is real. Snyder’s voodoo accounting claims per pupil tuition will increase by $75. According to one school superintendent who took the time to crunch the numbers – because that’s what school superintendents do – the actual increase in student funding would only be $2 per pupil. What Snyder isn’t telling the people of Michigan is he’s cutting some other important school funds while increased costs for schools in Michigan add up thanks to adopting Common Core, and yet another new state standardized test – M Step – that will only be used once.
Snyder and the state legislature must be pretty confident that Proposal 1 is going to pass in May. How confident? Just today the state house voted to take $250 million out of the School Aid Fund and put it into the General Fund to cover a deficit in the state budget. Corporate tax cuts means less money coming in, and that makes it harder to balance the books. Being an accountant, the Nerd should have known that.
Be ready for slick ads on the radio and TV telling you to vote yes for Proposal 1, because it’s going to fix the roads and help our kids. Like a carrot on a string, the people of Michigan are expected to keep walking because they’ll eventually get what they want, if they just keep going.