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Lansing Dems demand another tax hike while Granholm-Cherry economy destroys mental health

Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

You wanted it, Michigan, you got it.  It took approximately five days for us to learn the amount of the next tax hike Democrats are looking to impose on families already struggling to make ends meet here in the Great Lakes State and it could make the (appropriately) reviled Michigan Business Tax surcharge look like loose change.  Now that I think of it, maybe someone could toss a little loose change into a wishing well because it may well take a little supernatural intervention to stop a 65 member Dem majority in the House from doing whatever they want come January… and what they want, yeah, not so good if you’re a working mom or dad.

The Associated Press reports this morning on the late release of a report detailing the plans of bureaucrats and tax hikers to significantly increased spending on the state’s roads and infrastructure.  The report was due by October 31st, four days before the election, but the panel was stocked with members of the legislature who preferred their names not be associated with demands for giant increases the weekend before voters cast their ballots.

So just how much are we talking, now that they’re finally talking?  Try as much as $950 MILLION.  A year.

The report says Michigan must double its transportation spending and warns that one or two incremental fee increases won’t be enough to meet the need.

“To grow our state, just like anything else, you have to invest in something,” said Rep. Pam Byrnes, a Democrat from Lyndon Township near Chelsea who sits on the task force. “If your driveway crumbles, you need to patch it up or fix it.”

Representative Pam Byrnes, by the way, just won re-election in Michigan’s 52nd House District.  She and her big government compatriots rattled off a variety of tax hiking options that could radically increase the state’s take while dramatically shrinking the wallets and purses of parents across the state.  They might raise the tax on gasoline.  They might increase the sales tax on everything.  They might build toll booths on every freeway and exit ramp.  They might do all of the above.

Read on to find out more about the tax-hikers plans for your paycheck, an emerging employment sector talking Michiganders off the ledge (literally) and another Detroit Democrat who’ll make you yearn for inmate number 200834589.

See, Michigan only gets 92 cents for every dollar we send to Washington, DC, and many of those dollars we only get if we “invest” what they call “matching” funds.  Meaning, for the government in DC to give government in Lansing some of OUR money it requires government in Lansing to take MORE of OUR money.  Neat little racket, right?  And in less than a year Michigan stands to lose nearly $1 BILLION in “matching funds.”  

Byrnes and the other Democrats’ solution?  Raise taxes and never mind the other options.  The whole matching funds scheme isn’t enshrined anywhere in the Constitution.  Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Mark Schauer and Bart Stupak and Gary Peters could use some of what should be considerable DC clout to change the rules and ensure Michigan doesn’t lose that cash.

On the flip side, if our DC delegation of Democrats refuse to act, the Democrats here at home could pick up the slack.  Money is fungible and all they’d have to do is cut a few fancy government programs and offices (the nearly $300K a year Office of the First Gentleman would be a great place to start and taxpayer funded vacations to places like Israel and Jordan for the First Family would be a nice second) and shift those extra dollars towards meeting the matching funds threshold.

But that doesn’t grow the big government pie, so obviously it wouldn’t work.  Raiding your wallet, that’s the ticket, and in the most regressive ways possible.  Gasoline and sales taxes are the opposite of “progressive.”  They tax the poor and those least able to pay at the exact same rate they tax the wealthy.  The folks at the top, they won’t have any trouble paying an extra few bucks at the pump but that single mom who lives down the hall in your building, or a few houses down the block?  Not going to be as easy on her.  And then they wonder why mental health professionals are in such desperate demand here in Michigan lately.  

The Detroit News this morning has a whole write-up on the effect the Granholm-Cherry economy is having on our sanity.

As Michigan’s economy nosedives along with financial markets worldwide, stress levels are skyrocketing for weary Metro Detroiters and many are struggling to cope — calling crisis hot lines, crowding churches and seeking out counseling. Two crisis lines in Macomb County say calls are up. At least one counseling firm with offices in Troy and Sterling Heights says sessions are up 4 percent over last year. Liquor sales, meanwhile, are up statewide, though state officials say they don’t track why…

“People are struggling,” said Cheryl Alexander, a suicide prevention specialist at the Macomb County Crisis Center. “They’re living on the edge and one little trauma pushes them over…”

Detroiters are more on edge than most. The APA’s “Stress in America Detroit Report” found 84 percent of the 235 Detroiters surveyed cited money as a significant source of stress, compared with 72 percent nationally.

It’s no surprise why. Michigan has lost more than 315,000 manufacturing jobs over the past eight years and its unemployment and foreclosure rates are among the highest in the nation.

Just for the sake of clarity, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at BLS.gov Michigan has lost over 300,000 jobs since January 2003 alone.  That’s the last five-plus years, not the last eight.  Coincidentally (or not) that’s the same amount of time the Democrats have controlled the state’s economic policy and direction in the persons of Jennifer Granholm and John Cherry.

The end result, the news media is so far past talking to economists and market analysts about how bad things are and how far the economy is yet to fall, they’re well down the road and talking to freaking suicide prevention specialists.  Now THAT is a record Lansing Democrats can be proud of.  Detroit Democrats too, if their field of Mayoral candidates is any indication.  

According to this morning’s Ivory Tower, one of the Dems seeking Detroit’s top spot, Duane Montgomery, has taken a novel approach to his shady past… he’s talking about it and confessing all of his sins.  

…A knife fight in high school in 1982, two possible illegitimate children from two women whose names he may, or may not, recall; two slumlord violations, an assault charge and more…

Montgomery said he heard rumors about two women who didn’t return to school at Michigan State University after the summers of 1986 and 1987.

“This was in college, where I was a little bit more free with my personal life,” said Montgomery, whose Web site said he graduated from MSU with a civil engineering degree in 1988. “There were rumors why they didn’t come back. I never could confirm anything. I didn’t want the voters to be surprised if a love child did pop up.”

Of course, you know what they say about repentance… it requires a change in behavior and a new start going forward.  If Duane wants to convince voters he’s really a changed man he might want to get Lansing and DC on the horn because the say he still owes the state of Michigan and the IRS a total of $34,697.23 in back taxes, and the man just refuses to pay.

That said, I give the guy points for creativity and for the gauntlet he threw down to the other Democrats making a bid for the Manoogian Mansion.  The man’s published his own misdeeds on his own website and asks the others to do the same.  Let the voters see them all, laid bare, and pick the guy with the cleanest conscience… or cleanest criminal record.  Either way.

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