Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bishop Demands Democrats Fix MBT Surcharge That Republicans Created

So I'm sitting here today, watching the continuing meltdown of the world economy on CNBC, pondering Obama's debate victory and wondering just what in the world to say about all of this, because I'm finding it really difficult to be enthused about the Democrats inheriting the complete and total disaster that is the state of the country after the Republicans get done ruining every. single. thing. they. have. touched. in the past eight years. Hope? Sure I have hope. But right now I'm really bummed that this guy will be saddled with the results of this ineptitude, and worried about how long it's going to be before we really CAN "turn the page" on the economy.

So, in the middle of these deep and depressing thoughts, I get this e-mail press release from the Michigan House Democrats. It's a statement from Dillon on the MBT surcharge, and I think, "Good God, I was hoping I could just ignore the latest act of malfeasance from the Senate Republicans." Sadly, no. Political stunts are the order of the day, and, taking a tip from his leader Crankypants McCain, today Mike Bishop decided that he, too, needed to pull a political stunt on the people of Michigan.

Summoning the press to attention, lo and behold, lookee here it's a Festivus miracle, turns out... NOW Mike Bishop wants to work on state issues. The guy who spent all last year obstructing the budget, insisting on vacations, dragging his feet. The guy who spent all this year obstructing the energy legislation, costing Michigan precious time, jobs and investment. The guy who will do anything he can to avoid doing HIS job, is now complaining that the House Democrats won't jump at the snap of his fingers and serve his will RIGHT NOW on the MBT - and, get this knee-slapper - points to the impending election as the reason they won't do it.

In light of Mike Bishop's previous record of procrastination, the hypocrisy just astounds. Or not, if you have been paying any attention at all to these guys.

At a press conference in our capitol Wednesday, Senate majority leader Michael Bishop said work is needed now to repeal the Michigan business tax surcharge.

Bishop says, "The 22 percent on top of Michigan business tax is overly oppressive aggressive and burdensome on businesses in this state and it's our responsibility to repeal that surcharge and take an aggressive bold step in the right direction."

Really. Well, time to remind everyone just who is responsible for this overly "oppressive aggressive and burdensome" load on business - it's Mike Bishop.

Mike Bishop is pulling this stunt because Dems won't clean up HIS mess. Need to go through it again? I'll just pull Phil Power's column on how this all happened. He tells us who is responsible in short order.

A few days ago, I received a lengthy e-mail from a Republican 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".

That’s pretty stunning -- 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 Regional Chamber tried 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, Speaker 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 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.

That was too bad for all concerned. In the end, the attempt to construct only one difficult vote for legislators – an income tax increase sufficient to resolve the budget crisis – failed. Instead, it left lawmakers with three tough votes: One for a smaller increase in the income tax; one for a service tax (that was repealed before it took effect): and one for a 20 percent surcharge on the new business tax.

And today, they are still trying to "let the Democrats take the political hit" for the taxes they created. Unbelievable. That malfeasance I was trying to ignore? Last week, they blew up the budget for the umpteenth time, cutting the MBT surcharge without explaining how they were going to pay for it.

The move delighted the business community and garnered some Democratic votes, too. The unresolved question: How to offset the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for state government?

The legislation passed 26-12 and was sent across the Capitol to the Democratic-led House. A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she would be open to Michigan Business Tax adjustments if they were "pared with reforms that can save the state money."

Republicans did not list specific spending cuts.

Or reforms. They just mouth the words and make someone else do the heavy lifting. They have pulled this same move so many times in the past two years I have lost count. They vote to cut taxes, they don't vote to cut spending, and then they throw a big hissy fit because no one will take responsibility for the problems that stem from their own actions. Sound familiar?

If you want to know why the economy is such a wreck, just find your nearest irresponsible Bush Republican. Mike Bishop fits that bill nicely, but then again, you probably don't have to go far to find more just like him.

Had enough yet?