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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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He Wouldn't Dare--Oh Yes He Would

Other governors have momentarily considered doing this but quickly
chucked the concept as being politically impossible.
Gov. Rick Snyder could give two-hoots about that which is why he
is embracing a historic and first-time ever tax on private pensions.
Talk about your cultural change.
For years the state has dolled out about $700 million in tax
breaks to those retired folks living off their private sector pensions.
If business guy/Gov. Snyder has his way, the state will take a chunk
out of those checks to help balance the budget.
Here's why others before him dared not go there: (1) The unions
will go bunkers and (2) Conservative Republicans will call this a tax
In fact even before the plan is out, one of them did.
Sen. Jack Brandenburg of ultra conservative Macomb County calls
the Snyder idea "political suicide and it's not the right thing to do."
The fire-storm of opposition will be bi-partisan. Detroit Sen.
Coleman Young Jr. objects saying, "This is wrong. It's disgusting."
That doesn't phase the governor one iota and it probably eggs him
on to redouble his efforts to get-er done.
It will not be easy and at this read, he's got one vote that we
know of.
Rep. Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt) thinks Mr. Snyder is onto to
something."I agree. It's the right thing to do" and Opsommer, with a
private pension, is willing to pay the tax..
Wonder if his Tea Party colleagues will do the same?
Michigan State University economist and tax expert Dr. Charlie
Ballard would vote yes if he could. He concedes nobody likes to pay
taxes but just because you retire does not mean you stop being a
citizen in need of services.
Give the new governor style points for treading where others
have feared to go.
His decision certainly underscores another point: He is not
worried about getting re-elected cause this ain't (sic) the way to do


Blogger Rich said...

Finally you are beginning to "get it". The mess we are in is because our elected officials cared more about getting re-elected than properly managing the business of government. Whether one agrees with Governor Snyder or not (on this issue I happen to agree and so do about 40 other states), he is holding true to his commitment that taxes, regulations, and spending have to be simple (everyone should be able to understand the logic), fair (why should pensioners use services they do not pay for?) and efficient.

There will be plenty of teeth gnashing by the sacred cow collective over this and other proposals, however I am delighted to finally have a governor doing what he believes is right for the State vs. what will earn him future votes. Putting the "Great" back into Great Lakes State is not going to happen if we continue to admire the problem and do nothing to solve it. Attaboy Guv!

February 16, 2011 at 5:47 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am living on a fixed private pension. I will only agree to this plan if public and private pensions are treated identically. Public pensions are golden when compared to most private pensions. Why shouldn't they join in the sacrifice?

February 16, 2011 at 6:01 AM 
Anonymous ole trooper said...

I have a public pension and I don't have an issue with paying state tax on it as along as ALL pensions, private and public, are taxed and treated equally

February 16, 2011 at 7:24 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple points... 1) Both the entire amount of public & private pensions will be subject to the 4% state income tax rate under the Snyder plan. Currently, public pensions are not taxed in Michigan, and private pensions are tax exempt up to $45,120 for individuals and $90,240 for couples filing jointly. So this idea that public pensions will be exempt is rhetorical nonsense.

2) Tim, the word that you should have used in place of 'Phase' is 'Faze'. Remember, I'm just here to help. ;)

February 16, 2011 at 7:49 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. George Fulton, economist at UofM at the 2005 Center for Michigan conference and other events has made it very clear that 'pensions' and retaining as many retirees in the State is one of the best forms of 'capital importing' available to the us here in Michigan. Those funds come from outside the State and boost our economy very effienctly and effectively.

Messing with this just doesn't make real sense, seeing as we loose enough retirees already.

Slogan should be a grandma or pa in every pot.

February 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM 
Blogger marv rein said...

Like,I said b4..NERDs live off their parents.

February 16, 2011 at 4:00 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a situation of the $640 toilet seat - but on a state level.

Why doesn't anyone ask why the citizens of michigan are forced to pay for things like:

- Corrections spending over $6 million dollars to provide prisoners with soda pop.

- The state spending over $27 million dollars on temporary employees

- The state spending over $1.5 million dollars for "social networking" services (facebook, twitter, etc)

- The state spending over $156 million on credit card service fees, banking fees, and procurement fees

- The secreatary of state spending over $36 million dollars on a computer upgrade project that won't work (again).

- Corrections spending $2.25 million on legal writing services for prisoners

- Community health spending $6.3 million dollars for paternity tests

The list goes on and on and on. It's not the individual state employees doing this - it's the bureaucracy at the top. It's the decision makers that have their pockets lined - or that have nothing at all to lose by making poor decisions...just like Snyder.

State employees aren't part of the sacred cow, they are like kids in a disfuctional family who are continually blamed for needing things like food and clothes when their parents keep buying $8 cups of coffee (or $640 toilet seats) on their credit cards.

Get to the source of the problem instead of punishing the already abused victims of it. State employees (and the citizens of the state) are sitting ducks in Snyder's carnival of pain. Instead of continuing to take pot-shots at the easy targets, let's start looking at the hunters.

February 17, 2011 at 4:15 AM 
Anonymous Bill said...

The Governor perposes to lower the tax rate by 1 tenth of 1%,, so someone being taxed on $25,000 would save $25 and a retired person with a $25,000 Pension would loose $1088,, go after the reason why things got out of hand ,,, not a NEW tax source,, when Gov Jim Blanchard left office , We had a big surplus, maybe we need to give him a call and see how he did it

February 17, 2011 at 7:55 AM 
Blogger Steve Harry said...

Here are the figures on the revenue losses from senior citizen tax breaks: Pensions: $20,934,400,000. Dividends/interest/capital gains: $1,088,400,000. Social security: $5,880,300,000. Homestead property tax credit bonus: $139,680,000. Special exemption for people over 65: $29,900,000.

All figures are from the 2008 tax year exempt the special exemption, which is from 2005.

February 17, 2011 at 9:06 AM 
Blogger Steve Harry said...

Oops, sorry about that previous post. The revenues loss figures for pensions, interest/dividends/ capital gains and social security need to be multiplied by 4.35%.

February 17, 2011 at 9:23 AM 

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