I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.
The State of Michigan is running a surplus and some legislators in Lansing want to pass a miniscule tax cut (going forward) and, predictably, Detroit’s more liberal paper is not happy about it one bit. Via The Freep Editorial Page:
In his State of the State address last January, Gov. Rick Snyder explained why continuing to neglect Michigan’s deteriorating roads would cost taxpayers more than investing in overdue maintenance. Snyder’s argument, supported by persuasive data about the mounting cost of road-related vehicle repairs, was that savings realized by postponing needed road repairs would be more than offset by higher auto maintenance costs and more expensive infrastructure improvements down the road.
We’re still not convinced that neglect of Michigan’s roads is costing our state more than its neglect of higher education, cities and mental health care, to name just a few of the spheres in which the state has ceased to provide reasonable levels of funding.
But the governor’s core argument — that putting off expenditures for necessary maintenance and improvement of crucial public resources in the name of cutting taxes is both irresponsible and dishonest — is unassailable. The check a motorist writes to fix a broken axle or replace a tire may not be made out to the state treasurer, but that private expense can be directly to Lansing’s failure to keep public roads in reasonable repair.
Michigan residents should keep this principle firmly in mind as some opportunistic state lawmakers dangle visions of an income tax cut financed by the state’s $400-million budget surplus.
First off, the axle comment can’t be overlooked. Today, most passenger cars have what is called an independent suspension. Vehicles with independent suspensions (off-road vehicles and heavy-duty trucks still have solid axles) don’t have solid axles, therefore it is difficult to see how there is a rash of “broken axles” due to rough roads requiring a significant number vehicle owners to write checks. You would think writers at a Detroit Newspaper would know this.
Getting back to the unassailable core argument part of the Freep editorial. The only unassailable fact is the State of Michigan confiscated significantly more money from taxpayers than the state requires. The fact is that money belongs to the taxpayers of Michigan. Furthermore, the Michigan legislature isn’t even contemplating giving the existing surplus money back. What is on the table is a miniscule tax cut from 4.25% to 3.9% over the next four years. You wouldn’t get that from the Freep description of the proposal:
In the Republican-led state Legislature, Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, and Sen. Jack Brandenberg, R-Harrison Township, are racing to see who can be the first to introduce legislation to slash the personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 3.9% by 2018. But plenty of incumbents in both parties are salivating at the prospect of offering constituents a tax cut in the months preceding November’s statewide elections.
If implemented over four years, the proposed cut would wipe out most of the $1.3-billion surplus that the state expects to collect over the next two fiscal years.
“Slash the personal income tax rate?” Are they serious?
Why does the Freep consider letting taxpayers keep a fraction more of their own money pandering while giving pre-school subsides is considered an investment?
The Freep Editorial crew goes on to list the usual suspects who they think deserve our money more than we do:
We listed some of the priorities that we believe should govern Lansing’s long-term investment strategy in an editorial in Sunday’s A Better Michigan section. Help for cities and municipalities struggling to provide basic public safety, increased support for early childhood education and would-be college graduates, and attention to the state’s neglected roads and bridges, topped the list.
The only people responsible for picking up the tab for pre-school is the child’s parents, not their neighbors. And, as far as the roads are concerned, we have given the state copious amounts of money to maintain our roads and they’ve done a miserable job, why should we throw good money after bad?
Politicians in Lansing will waste the money. That fact is unassailable.
The state should fix the roads with the money we already gave them. If Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer have to learn how to prioritize our household budget our so-called betters in Lansing should do the same.
Besides, well maintained roads doesn’t equate to economic growth.
North Korea has beautiful roads. And, come to think of it, free pre-school as well.