Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's March 11, 2007. Do you know what your business taxes are?

215 days.

It's been 7 months and 3 days since our previous Legislature voted to eliminate the SBT, with promises to address the issue "after the election".

They, of course, did not.

Let's take a nostalgic stroll down Memory Lane shall we? Time to revisit what was said way back in those thrilling days of early August 2006.

The GR Press urged a quick replacement...

Either way, employers -- including prospective investors -- are left in doubt about the state's course. Michigan, which already ranks at or near the bottom of 50 states' economic rankings, doesn't need to add tax uncertainty to the list of deterrents to investment here. -GR Press 8/11/2006

As did the Detroit Free Press...

Their (buisness) ability to plan will suffer each day that the Legislature sits on its heels without deciding how to replace the SBT revenue -- or how much of it to replace. And how can the state recruit companies to come to Michigan, or even to expand here, in a tax limbo? -DFP 8/9/2006

The Detroit News was ecstatic about the decision, but the very last sentence should give them pause now.

Surely the sight of a state working to reform its heavy business tax burden would be more enticing than seeing still more dithering and delay on that burden. -DN 8/9/06

The Toledo Blade was adamant about an answer, but we didn't listen because they are in Ohio, or something.

Michigan voters should demand that their politicians tell them -- right now, before the election -- exactly what they plan to do as far as replacing this tax. -TB 8/17/2006

From "The More Things Change, The More Things Stay The Same" Department, the Lansing State Journal had this now very familiar refrain...

Legislative Republicans on the brink of repealing the state's Single Business Tax have the same problem they did last week, last month, last year: They don't have a tax and budget plan they're willing to share with Michigan voters. -LSJ 8/9/06

And by the end of the month...

Unfortunately, the SBT repealers don't think voters are entitled to know what they'll do - a display of irresponsibility that should shock citizens of any ideological persuasion. -LSJ 8/27/06

We are beyond shock at this point. More like a coma. But seven months later, we all can agree on this statement from the now departed Ken Sikkema...

"The greatest risk is (in) doing nothing." -Ken Sikkema 8/10/2006

And this statement from now Minority Leader Craig DeRoche...

"Michigan deserves better, and we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't ... start to move Michigan in a new direction." -Craig DeRoche 8/9/06

Apparently that direction was uncertainty and chaos. If you remember, immediately following the repeal Wall Street wagged its finger at us.

In response to the repeal, Standard & Poor's on Wednesday lowered the state's rating on general obligation bonds to "AA." "Wall Street has sent the signal that the Republicans' actions today are a bad business decision for Michigan," said Liz Boyd, Granholm's spokeswoman.

But Republicans say the move is based on an already struggling economy. "The repeal ... is a signal to the entire country that Michigan is serious about reforming our economy and bringing jobs back to the state, which will only serve to improve our bond rating," said Matt Resch, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche of Novi. -DN 8/10/06

How is that working out for you, Craig? Anyone checked with Wall Street recently?

Wait. Better not.

OK, how about businesses looking to locate here? What are they saying now, Craig?

A House committee was told this week that the uncertainty about a replacement for Michigan's Single Business Tax has driven away business.

The CEO of a Kalamazoo-based economic development group told the panel three manufacturing firms have looked elsewhere in the last two months, reports the Gongwer News Service.


Ron Kitchens told the House Commerce Committee: "It isn't about the amount of taxes. ... They have gone elsewhere because of a lack of tax code - because they can't define their tax liability."

Amazingly enough, Craig made the case for his own dismissal this week. In a not-so-transparent Republican attempt at diversion from the real issues, DeRoche had this to say...

"If you mismanaged $70 million of your boss's money, you'd be fired," DeRoche said.

Wow. Wonder what happens when you mismanage $2 billion. It can't be good.

Back to counting the days...