Monday, September 24, 2007

From the "I Told You So" Department

"Years later, it dawned on the citizens of Michigan that she had the right idea after all."

Now that the Lansing budget battle has degenerated into bitterness and brinksmanship, it’s too late for lawmakers to pull back and retrace their steps.

But somebody has to say it: The 2-cent tax on services that was proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

The prospect of an income tax increase has taxpayers up in arms and legislators cowering in fear. Yet, I think we all realize that we’re going to see an income tax boost to 4.6 percent when this melodrama ends.

Compared to the finger pointing and gnashing of teeth in Lansing over the past 10 days, I think the 2-cent tax would have been an easier sell to the constituency — and easier for lawmakers to swallow.

Quite frankly, I don't have any sympathy for the "lawmakers" right now. I don't care what they have to swallow. Hope it hurts going down, you bastards.

Not only would it have protected the poor amongst us, it made a helluva lotta sense.

It was a broad-based tax on about 120 services, meaning it would have brought in a lot of money paid by tourists and visitors to Michigan. It would have better reflected the new economy, with service industries emerging as a large and growing sector. It probably would have had minimal impact on Michigan’s national reputation in the business community, since most states already tax a wide array of services.

Most importantly, it would have levied taxes on “discretionary” spending rather than hitting workers’ paychecks. Those who choose to pay for a health club membership or prime seats to a Red Wings game would know that a 2 percent levy was attached.

Anti-tax activists say that people in Michigan are hurting and can’t afford a tax increase. Well, those who are hurting don’t spend money on pedicures and tanning salons and expensive concert tickets. In fact, I suspect low-income families would barely feel the pinch of a tax on services.

No. Instead they are going to hurt low income families the most by not only hitting the paycheck but cutting the programs and people that help them get a leg up in this world.

I never begrudged these people their salary and benefits- until now. Now I think we should make the legislature officially part time and knock their pay in half. Maybe we can attract a more dedicated group of people that way, those that really have a desire to serve their fellow citizens, instead of the ones that use their jobs as simply a launching post to a more lucrative career or higher political office.