First off, kudos to the following for still remembering what republicans are supposed to support and oppose. Lower taxes. Less spending.
Jack Brandenburg, Dave Hildenbrand, Joe Hune, Rick Jones, David Robertson, Tory Rocca, Anthony Forlini, Ken Goike, Pat Somerville, Rick Outman, Pete Lund, Andrea LaFontaine. These reps and senators voted the right way.
Those folks deserve our support, votes, and donations. They did the right thing. I'm glad to see my senator, Joe Hune, on that list. I won't have to run in a primary against him in 2014. He said he opposed the pension tax. When push got to shove, he voted against this because of the pension taxes. The MBT needed to go, but it did not have to be replaced by this crap. Joe Hune kept his word.
The rest of those not listed, including Pat Colbeck who deserves special mention for voting for it in committee before voting against it John Kerry style, should all be ashamed of themselves for supporting this gimmicky monstrosity. My rep, Bill Rogers I expected better from. He talks about being against gimmick budgets. This is a gimmick budget.
Former Congressman Dick Armey says it best. When we act like them (Democrats), we lose. When we act like us, we win. I'm quite embarrassed for my party right now. Too many of them followed a guy in Rick Snyder who frankly I don't think is even a Republican (I've never seen him at Republican events before he decided to run for governor). He's to the left of Andy Dillon, an elected democrat. At least Dillon's pro-life. I'm not surprised at Snyder. He's tight with Center for Michigan, which supports tax increases. He didn't promise anything about not raising taxes. As much as I beat up on Snyder on this blog, he is what I thought he is. I expect better from our reps. I expect them to be leaders, not follow those who lead into the ground.
I'm no Bill Milliken fan, but he said one thing that I agree with. Good policy is good politics. The inverse it also true. Bad policy is bad politics. It doesn't matter who proposes it. As the late Detroit Area talk radio legend, Mark Scott said. "A is A." Bad is bad. This is bad.
Why is it bad? Why is it gimmicky?
1. More money goes to government. Government hasn't earned it. We've had the fee increases. We've had "two penny Jenny" that was shot down eventually. We've had income tax increases, tax shifts, etc. Nothing changes. I'm not convinced this will either.
2. This budget only touched about 20%. About 9 Billion, give or take. 80% isn't touched. About 34 Billion. Over 80% of the spending. Until the 80% is addressed, any budget plan is unreasonable. We need to do things the hard way, amend the constitution to open up the entire budget, and go line by line through the whole thing to determine what is and is not needed.
3. The most derisive part of this is the pension tax. The big fight was over 300 Million dollars. That's a lot of money to most, but a drop in the bucket to government. Are you to tell me that we can't cut another 300 million? Even when limited to the so called discretionary fund budget of 9 Billion? Let alone the whole 43 Billion? Unbelievable. Bad politics, worse policy.
4. Snowbirds. Florida and Tennessee have no income tax. Guess where many retirees from Michigan move.
5. Income tax increases as well.
This isn't a tax cut. More money from individuals is being paid to government. That's a tax increase. While business taxes are being cut - which I support - the revenue did not have to be replaced by individuals, especially because it's going to a gimmick budget that covers 20%.
That's the policy, as to the politics of this, Rick Snyder and the house in about two months:
1. Make things easier for Obama to win. How many retirees are going to stay home or vote democrat due to the tax increase? Most seniors voted republican recently. They also voted for Bill Clinton and many democrats down ticket. They also are mostly independent. Look at the voting patterns in North Michigan and the thumb. They are highly erratic. In addition to the seniors, how many of their kids will be pissed off due to government going after those who busted their ass for 30+ years of hard work. Don't mess with my parents. I don't like that very much.
2. Gives the democrats a good chance at retaking the majority. In 2010, Republicans campaigned on less government and less taxes. The federal level has little progress. Little, but not none. My complaint there is "not good enough." Here, it's like Granholm never left. How are those swing districts in many of the rural areas going to go? The UP? The thumb? Northern lower Michigan? Between conservatives staying home ("Dimes worth of difference"), swing voter backlash, and the normal leftist vote, it's going to be tough going.
The first thing that needs to be done is a new bill stand alone killing the pension tax. Admit the screw up, and fix it. If that doesn't happen, it's time for some primaries in 2012. The Republican party needs to stand for less taxes, less government, and more freedom, and if the reps fail to live up to those principles, primary races need to occur so we have actual differences between them and the democrats.