Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Us vs. Them
The governor is getting crafty in her old age. Having just turned 51, she pulled a rabbit out of hat the other day when pitching the slightly controversial sales tax on services on everything from a hair cut to a Tiger's game (if you dare go.) She wants to slice the sales tax rate, now at 6%, and bumped it down a notch to 5.5% and then slap it on almost 150 services. In the first year, if lawmakers say yes and that is a huge IF at this read, it would net the state about $554 million. And here's the genius of her strategy: All of that money would go to school kids..every last penny. And just in case lawmakers don't want to feed the K-12 budget, the governor warns, without the tax, each school kid would get hit with a $255 loss in state aid. Hum? Fund the schools or cut the per pupi grant? In this reelection year, that should be a no brainer if you claim to support education. But in this election year it is also a tax increase. Oh my. What is a poor politician to do? To complicate matters even more, the governor wants to use the sales tax to eliminate the 22% business surcharge which every business owner has been belly-aching about since 2007. So there is another reason to support the service tax. Ah, but segments of the business community, while looking a gift-horse in the mouth, are all up in arms because the service tax could cut into the profits of those businesses. So you have business on one side going, let's not do this and the education lobby on the other side saying, let's do this and hence el governator has created a nifty little lobbying battle between the two groups with poor ole lawmakers caught in the crossfire. The early read sees the sales tax in deep do-do, but this is just the first inning and the maturing Ms. Granholm is not about to give up.