Friday, May 30, 2008

Republicans Cry Crocodile Tears Over Taxes They Created

Mike Bishop, that quote machine-

"We're going to challenge this Legislature to do the right thing," said Bishop, R-Rochester.

Bishop and other Republicans are up on the island vowing to fix the surcharge on the MBT once again, trying to placate business and obfuscate the truth on how this all came about in the first place. Gallant Mike issues the "challenge" - too bad he didn't want to "do the right thing" and show some leadership on this issue last year.

We wouldn't be having this conversation now if Republicans had behaved like responsible adults in the first place. Want more proof? If you won't take it from me, the one who pointed this out repeatedly last year, take it from Phil Power, who spells it out for us in a recent column.

A few days ago, I received a lengthy e-mail from a lawmaker (who wishes to remain anonymous) but who offers some valuable insights. Bottom line: "The service tax was the direct result of the brinksmanship of the GOP leadership in negotiations and (the) lack of GOP members (in) responding to the requests of their traditional supporters in the business community."

So, the GOP was intent on playing gotcha politics rather than attend to the needs of business. Go on, Phil -

That's pretty stunning (Ed note: not to those that were paying attention) — and here's my attempt to put this all into context: Leading up to the critical votes, both the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit Chamber tried hard to persuade legislators to pass an income tax increase big enough to cover the entire deficit.

Why? Simple: To avoid additional business taxes. The House of Representative figured it out. There, Democratic Speaker of the House Andy Dillon and other leaders tried repeatedly to pass a 4.7 percent income tax that would have resolved the budget crisis without resorting to the service tax.

But neither of the Republican leaders in the legislature — Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop nor House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche — was willing to step forward. They urged their members to hold back and let the Democrats take the political hit for a vote for more taxes. At one point, it looked as though there were as many as 10 Republican representatives ready to vote for an adequate income tax hike, but DeRoche wouldn't budge.

"Business" needs to know that they were used as pawns in the Republican partisan game - and they also need to question Bishop's sincerity about fixing the problem now. The Senate already tried an irresponsible slash and burn method of cutting the MBT surcharge that was DOA in the House; they just cut revenue without taking responsibility for showing where they would cut spending, which is their standard method of operation. Why? They don't want to be the ones who are tagged with slashing education or health care or prisons or any of the other things that they are so willing to spend all that money on in an attempt to look good to their constituents. They want to have their tax cuts and eat them too.

Most of this might be much ado about nothing anyway. Most businesses received a cut in taxes from the MBT - and others are just now (or in the very near future) figuring out that their liability is not as large as the Republicans are making it out to be.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Thursday she's willing to listen to changes business owners want, as long as they don't jeopardize vital government services by dramatically cutting into state revenue.

But Granholm cautioned that the tax is new and still in its shakedown phase. Cuts in business owners' personal property taxes, for example, won't show up until the July tax cycle, she said.

"They may just not be aware of their tax cuts yet," Granholm said.

So to sum it up, not only are Republicans responsible for this situation that they are now crying loudly about, chances are they are over-exaggerating the ramifications of their mistake and once again trying to use it as a partisan weapon rather than being sincere about tackling the reality of taxes and spending.

The question now is - should business really trust Bishop and Co. to fix something they have repeatedly screwed up? Take a long, hard look at your "friends", business owners, and ask yourself whether they can trusted to do right by you. They are so desperate for "issues" that they have no problem selling you down the river and playing the game of CYA later. It's about time you realized that.