Friday, October 07, 2011

Same Thing, Same Results

When reading the economic forecasts from the U of M, it's funny how business taxes never figure into the equation.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said repeatedly that he's confident the $1.7 billion in business tax cuts he engineered will lead to more Michigan jobs. But those additional jobs may not materialize as the tax cuts kick in next year.

In a forecast released Wednesday, University of Michigan economist George Fulton cut his 2012 jobs forecast nearly in half from his April prediction. Fulton now expects 33,000 jobs next year, down from an earlier estimate of 61,500 jobs.

He also lowered his current year forecast by 3,400 jobs to 61,200 jobs.

In his brief updated forecast, Fulton said job growth in the final three months of this year will be flat, with small gains in private sector jobs offset by losses in state and local government.

Could it be that the trickle-down crowd is * gasp * wrong about their economic theories? Here is what one Michigan business owner has to say about taxes, the loss of funding for education, and other quality of life issues when it comes to business location. He's just the latest example. It's been said many times before.

People researching the area are given a very grim picture when they check the news. Municipalities are cutting funding for essential infrastructure. School districts across the state are doing the same. Detroit still graduates an abysmal number of students. Our universities are losing funding and raising tuition as a result. All those impressions add up.

They create a poor overall impression to high-value people who are being recruited by companies across the globe. Our political and fiscal environments continue to make it harder to recruit and retain the very people we need to grow our company, and grow the economy in our region.

Our tax burden is not a barrier to growth, and it never has been. The entire savings from reduced business taxes, including the proposed removal of the personal property tax, nets our company less money than we spent in wages on our summer intern last year. That isn't enough to create a single job for a company of our size.

So why does this tax cut myth persist? A certain Nobel Prize-winning economist summed it up pretty well just recently.

So Republican assertions about what ails the economy are pure fantasy, at odds with all the evidence. Should we be surprised?

At one level, of course not. Politicians who always cater to wealthy business interests say that economic recovery requires catering to wealthy business interests. Who could have imagined it?

Indeed. And now Snyder is saying that we need to eliminate the personal property tax on those business interests because it would create "a better business climate", but he's not guaranteeing that revenue will be replaced. That means another $1.2 billion taken away from schools and city services - the very things we need to attract those business interests in the first place.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. After thirty years of doing the same thing, by definition Republican supply-side economic theory is certifiably insane.

How long will it take until the voters stop believing in this delusion?

Update: And just like that, an EPIC poll released today shows that voters are already there. Me of little faith.

Michigan voters are markedly cool to the idea of axing another tax on business – the personal property tax – especially if it meant cuts to local schools, fire and police services, according to a poll released today.

The EPIC-MRA poll found that 61% of voters oppose, either strongly or somewhat, the elimination of the tax on business equipment and machinery, while 28% favor the idea.

When asked how the prospect of “major cuts” in local services would affect their views, poll respondents were even more negative, opposing elimination of the tax 76%-17%.

You will remember this in 2012, right?

An overwhelming majority (60%) of voters also said they would be less likely to vote in the future for a legislator who supported elimination of the personal property tax, compared to 12% who said they would be more likely to vote for that person.

Someone, or a lot of someones, better remind them.