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Old 04-20-2015, 10:11 AM
 
8,407 posts, read 11,232,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan83 View Post
Well I can promise that my cat, my dog, my deceased great grandmother and I will all be voting yes. So that's at least 4 votes.
Then you deserve the government we have.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,882 posts, read 19,090,128 times
Reputation: 3911
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmichigan View Post
Quote:
I'm not sure whether I should be more dismayed by your conduct as a so-called CD "Moderator"...or whether I should feel flattered by your supposition that what I wrote must have been copied and pasted from elsewhere. You can rest assured that those were my words, written rather hastily at the spur of the moment. The only fact that I had checked on previously was the amount of the 41.7 cents/gallon tax which will be levied against both gasoline and diesel should Proposal 1 pass. This is in addition to the 1% sales tax increase...and in addition to the increase in license registration fees, etc., etc.
That 1% increase in the sales tax will not apply to fuel. In fact, all fuel will then be exempt from sales/general use tax.
Quote:
I realize that my words were harsh--but they were accurate. I have been a long-standing critic of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)--ever since I worked at the State Capitol and analyzed MDOT's policies and practices. Their history of waste and misguided policies are unmatched in state government. Of course, that part is my personal opinion, but it is based upon years of observation. I have also seen, firsthand, some of the deceitful proclamations (some would call them outright lies) that MDOT officials have made to federal officials to gain approval for highway expansions, most notably the I-275 extension in southeast Michigan which is now called M-5.
I agree, I'm not a fan of MDOT, and I think there should be a moratorium on all expansions until all the bonds/debt is repaid, the roads are predominantly brought up to "good" standing, and 10 years from now, whichever comes first.

Quote:
And lest you think that I'm just a right-winger who opposes all tax increases, I'll have you know that at one point in my career I drafted a significant portion of the platform for the Michigan Democratic Party. Proposal 1, however, is something that both conservatives and those of a more liberal persuasion should unite to oppose. On the one hand, Proposal 1 is simply a bad, complicated tax plan; on the other hand, it provides a windfall to an agency which has a long history of wasteful and destructive practices as they've promoted urban sprawl, the destruction of our cities and the fragmentation of our northern environs--with little regard for true transportation needs.
It's a complicated plan because our current funding is a complicated and unnecessary mess, duct-taped together over the last 20 years. Don't people want to see this mess untangled? I do.

Quote:
To more than double their budget, with no change in their overall policies--and no prioritization towards maintenance--is a potential recipe for disaster. Given their history, I do not trust MDOT...and, I believe, rightly so.
It doubles their budget from woefully neglectful funding levels to marginal. I've even read that any reasonable increase will still not be enough.

Quote:
You may have swallowed their baseless and deceptive arguments hook, line and sinker--and that's your prerogative to do so--but there are clearly more efficient and less onerous options available to fund actual maintenance needs for Michigan roadways.
I have no idea how MDOT feels about this. I read scientific reports and news articles about how bad the roads and bridges are and how funding is way below what is needed. Even by independent sources.

Quote:
You have claimed that what I wrote about Proposal 1 was "mostly false". I will counter that your claim is patently untrue...and I challenge you to point out ONE point which was false.
You got it.

Quote:
Ten percent of U.S. states do not charge any sales tax. Those states are Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware and Oregon. I only mentioned that to remind people that high sales taxes are not universal. Colorado's sales tax is 2.9%.
You totally skirted my point that cities and counties charge sales tax on top of State sales taxes in other states. 90% of this country lives in a metropolitan area, so local sales taxes do matter. I don't know if you didn't get what I was saying or ignored it. To say that "Colorado has 2.9%" is meaningless.

The other states you mentioned are nothing like Michigan. Montana? Hawaii? Oregon has a personal income tax that is regressive (ratchets up the more money you make) and is twice what Michigan's income tax is for most households. I'd rather pay a higher sales tax than a higher income tax. Who wouldn't?

Quote:
There is still a legitimate rationale for the imposition of sales taxes. When applied against smaller purchases, a sales tax is a relatively painless tax--meaning that the amount of the tax is not onerous at any given time. It is, however, a very regressive tax...and when applied against larger, perhaps unusual, purchases, the tax amount can be very significant, with potentially severe negative consequences. But it is a way to tax poorer people who might otherwise escape many taxing programs and it diversifies the sources of tax revenue, leading to greater stability in the overall generation of taxes.
In what ways will poor households pay higher states sales tax with an additional 1% added?

Quote:
No, I didn't forget to mention them. I simply chose not to because I was trying not to write a book. Besides, I don't feel that how local communities generate their taxes is particularly relevant to a discussion about state taxes. You may feel that it's alright for Michigan to charge a high sales tax simply because other areas have a high combined state/local sales tax...but I don't buy that argument. Presently, California has the highest state-level sales tax at 7.5%. If Proposal 1 passes, Michigan will have the second highest state-level sales tax in the country (although we'd be tied with five other states). We shouldn't try to emulate those states with high tax rates just because they have them. We need to examine the effectiveness, the fairness and the appropriateness of any tax. Personally, I feel that an income tax is the fairest way, in general, to provide tax revenue...but a gas tax is different, appropriately so, since it is an earmarked tax.
This is entirely subjective.

If I live in Denver (7.25%), Austin (8.25%), Chicago (9.0%) or any other city and buy a shirt, I will pay higher sales taxes on that shirt THERE than in Grand Rapids or Livonia, Michigan, even with the 1% increase. Same with a car. Why is that not relevant to this discussion? It's a fact that directly affects people's spending.

Quote:
Ha. When I wrote that I wasn't sure that it was only 21 years ago, but if you think that 21 years is an especially long time you clearly suffer from a lack of perspective. Anyone who studies the history and evolution of taxation policies needs to look at more than just the last couple of decades. I don't recall offhand the particular timeframe (it was probably in the 70s), but in the past there was consideration about allowing Michigan local communities to enact local sales taxes--just like some Michigan cities have local income taxes. Fortunately, that hasn't happened to date, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities.
21 years ago is not "wasn't that long ago." We've had 3 governors since then, and the entire legislative body has turned over umpteen times. The costs of road construction have probably quadrupled since then.


Quote:
Well, admittedly, citing a mobile home as an example was a poor choice--because I strongly disagree with the tax policies which largely benefit the mobile home park developers. If someone foolishly buys a new mobile home in a licensed MH park, they are virtually throwing their money away since mobile homes depreciate rapidly and then they're stuck with paying perpetual lot rent, usually at an excessive rate. (By the way, an occupied mobile home in a licensed park is only charged $3/month in lieu of property taxes: 50 cents of which goes to the local community; $.50 to the County; and $2 to the state education fund.) State law regarding mobile homes is geared to benefit the developers, not the owner/tenants. The developers simply had better lobbyists.
WE AGREE!

Quote:
Still, my point was, when a person of lesser means buys a large-ticket item--whether it's a car or whatever--the imposition of a sales tax is very burdensome. Such a tax is very regressive.
I'd still like to know what big ticket items low-income households buy that would be subject to this increase. Groceries are exempt in Michigan from sales tax. So are homes. So are prescription drugs and medical expenses.


Quote:
That is not true. Either you're bad at math or you're parroting the Proposal 1 proponents by downplaying the true impacts of what will occur. Going from 15 cents to 41.7 cents is nearly triple. Going from 19 cents to 41.7 cents is MORE than double (not "almost" doubled). I greatly oppose giving MDOT that much more money to spend with no strings attached.
It's offset somewhat by the elimination of sales tax on gasoline. But we all (or most) know that we need to put more money in the pot to get the roads up to snuff.

Quote:
Yes, the sales tax will be removed but the sales tax is based upon the wholesale price of fuel. So...at present-day prices we're talking roughly 10 cents/gallon. (I don't have time right now to try to look up more precise figures.) So, the increase in fuel tax will be more than double the amount of the reduction due to removing the sales tax. It is not "about the same". I acknowledge that when fuel prices increase, that disparity will lessen...but the fuel tax will also automatically increase each year (something they conveniently forget to mention).



HUH? That is absolutely false. The gas tax has been a set price per gallon. But, that is part of the reason why there is a need for some adjustment at this point. We just don't need the complicated and excessive measures which are in Proposal 1.



No--NONE of the sales tax increase is to go towards roads. Period. The greatly increased fuel tax is to go towards the roads--but it is not earmarked to go towards maintenance. I would actually support getting away from debt financing for road projects--and paying off existing bonds--but they should be honest about it. Much--if not most--of this money is NOT intended to go towards road maintenance.



No. They cannot borrow money "because there is none". They borrow money against projected revenues. MDOT has always borrowed money; nothing has changed in that regard.



In no way is Proposal 1 a "solution"--because it is not targeted at the problem. It is an overreaching tax proposal which increases a number of taxes and funds a number of specific issues--but road maintenance is not exclusively one of them. This issue needs to be kicked back to the legislature so that they can do their job. It's been revealed that none of this money would likely go to road maintenance until 2017, so there is time.

In my view, the best solution is a simple one: raise the gas tax a more modest amount, say to 24 or 25 cents per gallon. That would be a 5 or 6 cent increase on gas (26 or 32%), and a 9 or 10 cent increase on diesel fuel (60 or 67%)--both of which would be substantial increases! But--importantly--earmark any tax increase specifically for road maintenance. This will immediately make funds available for maintenance--and it would be substantially more than under the present proposal. Any money generated should not be used for boondoggle projects across the state. Furthermore, MDOT needs to be reigned in so that maintenance needs are deemed the priority. MDOT should not be building new roads to subsidize urban sprawl or other wasteful, excessive projects (such as the 14+ lanes which comprise I-96 in Detroit, or the proposed widening of I-94), especially while there are maintenance needs. MDOT needs to fix what we have!

Proponents of Proposal 1 are spending millions of dollars in an attempt to fool people into thinking that Proposal 1 is okay, that it's the only option, that it's only about "safer" roads. That is certainly not the case. We can and must do better.

I may not have swayed you, but I encourage others to VOTE NO on Proposal 1. This is likely going to be another low-turnout election (as proponents hope). Get out and VOTE NO!

Your proposal has been tried endless times and it has and will go nowhere. If you're afraid that we'll have the perception of having the highest state sales tax rate in the country, why aren't you afraid that we'll have the highest gas tax in the country? And why should we keep sales taxing gasoline and not have that money to use for roads? (other than our constitution prohibits it). Why not get rid of it altogether? It's a dumb system that needs to change.

You're a smart guy Jack. If you set aside your belief that it's some kind of back door deal, you'll find it's a pretty smart proposal to undue a big mess, and will not substantially burden Michiganders. Does MDOT need some severe leash tightening? Absolutely. This might actually be a good time to do just that. But expecting that it will just happen organically or if we complain enough is foolish.

FYI, I've offered the moderator role to a bunch of people and no one will take it, so I don't really care whether people feel that my comments are unbecoming of a moderator.

Last edited by magellan; 04-20-2015 at 10:58 AM..
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:49 AM
 
8,407 posts, read 11,232,726 times
Reputation: 16005
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyInGreatLakes View Post
Wow, Jackmichigan. Great rebuttal. I'll have to admit, at first glance your first post appeared like a standard "line" but you've disproved that with a thoughtful blow-by-blow answer to the criticism.
Thanks. I really don't mind when reasonable people disagree about an issue--but they should do so based upon facts, not some fiction. The entire campaign for Proposal 1 has been based upon deception and it's understandable why so many people are confused. Most people will not bother to try to understand the complexities of Proposal 1--and they are counting on that. In large measure, elections are oftentimes bought through massive campaign expenditures. The beneficiaries of Proposal 1 are hoping that their multi-million dollar, one-sided campaign pays off. (Where is the opposition?? I have not seen one ad against Proposal 1!)
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,882 posts, read 19,090,128 times
Reputation: 3911
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmichigan View Post
Thanks. I really don't mind when reasonable people disagree about an issue--but they should do so based upon facts, not some fiction. The entire campaign for Proposal 1 has been based upon deception and it's understandable why so many people are confused. Most people will not bother to try to understand the complexities of Proposal 1--and they are counting on that. In large measure, elections are oftentimes bought through massive campaign expenditures. The beneficiaries of Proposal 1 are hoping that their multi-million dollar, one-sided campaign pays off. (Where is the opposition?? I have not seen one ad against Proposal 1!)
The main opposition I hear is Michiganders just playing the "victim" card. We've gotten really good at it.

When I read or talk to serious individuals (Chamber people, business owners, school officials, community leaders), a lot of them feel like Proposition 1 doesn't even go far enough or raise enough money but they're resigned to live with it.

It might be different in the Detroit area. Seems like there's more government corruption in the Detroit and Oakland County areas so people are generally distrustful. The last couple of big projects that MDOT did over here, they had endless numbers of public input sessions, and even made major changes to projects after hearing from the public and city officials. They're also sensitive to "environmental impact" moreso than they used to be. They're not exactly peachy to work with but they seem better than they were 10 years ago.

Officials at MDOT at the state level even funded a huge bicycle safety awareness campaign in Grand Rapids, a pilot program. People here were shocked that they even cared about bicyclists, when they've fought bike infrastructure for decades.

Maybe the district office over here is run differently.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:56 AM
 
444 posts, read 453,365 times
Reputation: 460
Quote:
Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
Pinckney is also going to lose $20 per student.

Hartland Schools will NOT benefit from Prop 1
They are not talking about Proposal 1 there, but instead, they are talking about Snyder's Education Proposal that he is sending to the Senate and the House for a vote.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:11 PM
 
485 posts, read 928,461 times
Reputation: 374
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmichigan View Post
Thanks. I really don't mind when reasonable people disagree about an issue--but they should do so based upon facts, not some fiction. The entire campaign for Proposal 1 has been based upon deception and it's understandable why so many people are confused. Most people will not bother to try to understand the complexities of Proposal 1--and they are counting on that. In large measure, elections are oftentimes bought through massive campaign expenditures. The beneficiaries of Proposal 1 are hoping that their multi-million dollar, one-sided campaign pays off. (Where is the opposition?? I have not seen one ad against Proposal 1!)
In fairness, most campaigns, for real people or proposals, are built on deception. This one is no exception. I saw a fact sheet from the League of Women Voters that seemed pretty fair and just stated the raw impacts. I don't think there ARE any opposition ads. This will be the cheapest "victory" ever. The proposal (and it's complexity/diverse interest beneficiaries) simply kills itself.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:20 PM
 
485 posts, read 928,461 times
Reputation: 374
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Your proposal has been tried endless times and it has and will go nowhere. If you're afraid that we'll have the perception of having the highest state sales tax rate in the country, why aren't you afraid that we'll have the highest gas tax in the country? And why should we keep sales taxing gasoline and not have that money to use for roads? (other than our constitution prohibits it). Why not get rid of it altogether? It's a dumb system that needs to change.

You're a smart guy Jack. If you set aside your belief that it's some kind of back door deal, you'll find it's a pretty smart proposal to undue a big mess, and will not substantially burden Michiganders. Does MDOT need some severe leash tightening? Absolutely. This might actually be a good time to do just that. But expecting that it will just happen organically or if we complain enough is foolish.

FYI, I've offered the moderator role to a bunch of people and no one will take it, so I don't really care whether people feel that my comments are unbecoming of a moderator.
Depends on your definition of "substantially" I suppose. Let's not forget that we lose the discount on our car registrations too. It's the nickel and dime raises that add up over time and enough folks (except my fellow Ingham County taxpayers who never turn down a chance to vote in another increase in our millage rate) want to stop the madness.

At least a gas tax hike will go strictly to roads. This proposal gets split up to other interests that shouldn't have a hand in the pot for it.

As far as moderator position, I see what you mean: "someone has to do it"
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:27 PM
 
1,433 posts, read 2,865,361 times
Reputation: 887
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
FYI, I've offered the moderator role to a bunch of people and no one will take it, so I don't really care whether people feel that my comments are unbecoming of a moderator.
I'll take it.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,882 posts, read 19,090,128 times
Reputation: 3911
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyInGreatLakes View Post
Depends on your definition of "substantially" I suppose. Let's not forget that we lose the discount on our car registrations too. It's the nickel and dime raises that add up over time and enough folks (except my fellow Ingham County taxpayers who never turn down a chance to vote in another increase in our millage rate) want to stop the madness.

At least a gas tax hike will go strictly to roads. This proposal gets split up to other interests that shouldn't have a hand in the pot for it.

As far as moderator position, I see what you mean: "someone has to do it"
A simple gas tax increase will never pass. It's been tried I believe half a dozen times just in the last 2 years and it dies before it ever gets to Snyder's desk. As long as there is a Republican majority in the legislature it won't pass, and that's not predicted to change for a while.

Plus it puts us in the position of having the #1 highest gas tax rate in the country. Overwhelmingly. That leaves a bad taste in the business community's mouth.

I'd be for that idea too, but I just have a problem with taxes being collected on gasoline that can't be used on roads because of our (lame) state constitution.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,882 posts, read 19,090,128 times
Reputation: 3911
Quote:
Originally Posted by actinic View Post
I'll take it.
No, that's OK actinic.
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