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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Biting Off A Lot

 Talk about a mouth full.
   For months this lawmaker and that have chatted about revamping the state's tax system.  Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith is tired of all the talking and took matters into her own hands this week.
    She wants a graduated income tax.
    She wants to close $3 billion in tax loopholes.
    She wants a sales tax on services and a new state tax rate of 5.5% instead of 6%.
    And when she has nothing else to do she wants to wipe out the 22% business surcharge tax.
    In other words she wants the moon, the sun and the stars and unfortunately for the democratic candidate for governor she is not likely to get any of it by her self-imposed deadline of January 31.
   But give her credit for trying and having the guts to announce that state government needs more revenue…about $6.5 billion more.
   Her biggest hurdle of course is rounding up the votes from house and senate members to pass all this stuff, not to mention convincing you to support the graduated income tax if it makes it to the November ballot next year.
   Her second biggest hurdle is fighting off the opposition which will be strong, loud, and well financed.
   "This is not going to be an easy sell, but it's a sell that has to happen," Smith argues.
   "It looks like its dead on arrival from my stand point," counter punches Chuck Hadden who runs the Michigan Manufacturers Association which includes the major auto makers.
     Smith's assignment is to "educate" the citizens on why all this money is needed.  She can't do it in a ten second sound bite but the opposition can.  It will say Lansing wants to take $6.5 billion in new money out of your pocketbook.  End of story.
     You can see who has the easier job trying to "educate" the citizenry.
      But Smith is not conceding defeat.  There's plenty of time for that later on.