Cronyism

Decision Time: DW&SD Rain Tax Comes To A Head In Court

Detroit Water & Sewerage Division Has Colluded With Trial Lawyers To Avoid A Constitutional Test Of Their Outrageous 'Stormwater Fee'

The Detroit Water & Sewerage Department’s Non Residential Drainage Rate became a political hot potato in 2013 when the City finally started applying this breathtaking, disguised tax to all non residential properties within the City.  Mayor Duggan is scraping the bottom of the barrel for every revenue dollar he can find.

Prior to 2013, the City of Detroit only extracted this rate from 12,000 non residential property owners, although 41,237 non residential property owners should have been paying it. They also extracted this rate from the State of Michigan and Wayne County for roads in Detroit, after a lengthy appeals process which ended in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Detroit shielded politically preferred and connected property owners from this tax for 35 years, notably the politically powerful black churches.  But that ended in 2013 when the City of Detroit “discovered….that there are some errors with respect to our billing of stormwater charges”.

This rate, which is often referred to as a stormwater fee or the rain tax, is not inconsequential. It is now $ 660 – $ 750 per acre, per month. Run of the mill churches with on site parking were rudely surprised with $ 3,500 monthly charges in 2015, on top of their already expensive water bills. They thought as religious entities they were tax exempt. Tee-hee.  No one in Michigan is truly tax exempt!  Michigan Public Act 178 of 1939 (MCL 123.161 et seq.) converts unpaid DW&SD stormwater fees into a property lien, same as unpaid property taxes, so these fees quickly result in property foreclosures.

Ever wonder why Detroit has such a problem with commercial property blight? Now church blight is in the offing.

Non residential property owners in Detroit have just received a legal notice in the mail announcing a proposed settlement of a Wayne County Circuit Court class action case filed by Michigan Warehousing Group LLC and Midwest Valve and Fitting Company against the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department over the DW&SD’s outrageous stormwater fee. This case is identified in the Wayne County Circuit Court as 15-010165-CZ. The parties reached a settlement agreement which is carefully constructed to cripple legal challenges to the constitutionality of the stormwater fee in higher courts and handsomely pay off the trial bar.

The settlement notice fails to inform non residential property owners that another, far more comprehensive class action law suit is progressing in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Detroit Alliance Against The Rain Tax v. City Of Detroit in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Case Number 339176, just got consolidated with a similar suit on 24 October and appears ready for litigation – also as a class action.

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Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

This piece started off when I was asked for my $0.02 this weekend on something in the local paper (which I freely admit that I do still read), written by someone whom I consider an absolute imbecile (which I’d told my friend on multiple occasions what I thought of this particular writer).

Still, if this wasn’t coming from a friend of mine, it probably would’ve ended differently.

{Post continues below the fold}

 

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But, none of this is what Gov Snyder promised Michigan Taxpayers after the bailout???

Unless you have the Pollyanna-ish worldview that a certain sitting Michigan Governor possesses, honestly none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.

Round two in the Detroit Mayoral Race (which in case anyone is interested, has the first and only televised debate tonite).

And the sad part here is that I could’ve found more rundown areas of Detroit than are featured below.

 

Submitted w/o any further comment.

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Well that didn’t take very long.

Here comes the first proverbial shot across the bow.

Grab some popcorn, this should be fun.

Submitted w/o any further comment.

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It’s The Constitution .. Stupid.

The US Constitution being ignored is not a compelling reason for a Con-Con.

Donald Trump did (with a pen) what we asked for our GOP legislature to do for the last 6+ years of controlling the house.

Whether he realized it or not, he might well have set the tone for examining presidential actions, and more importantly how the bureaucracy interfaces with the public going forward.  Citing the constitution, the Trump administration has declared it will no longer pay for health care subsidies, period.  From ABC news:

”  the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threatened to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care. The subsidies help lower co-pays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

Halting the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money. The next payments are due around Oct. 20. “

Unless he “reverses course?”

He cannot reverse course.  It would be as illegal as Obama making the payments in the first place.  In fact, this very act was already preceded by a declaration that the very payment of those subsidies was unconstitutional, not just yesterday, but actually in APRIL of this year by US attorney general Jeff Sessions:

” Sessions said during a Fox News interview that the payments to insurers, which reimburse them for lowering the cost of copays and deductibles for low-income Obamacare customers and are the subject of a House lawsuit, should be appropriated by Congress.

Sessions’ comments come as insurers are concerned whether the Trump administration will continue to reimburse them for the cost-sharing reductions.

Insurers are required under federal law to provide the reductions for Obamacare and have been getting reimbursed by the federal government. They are expected to receive $7 billion this year.

But Sessions said a lawsuit filed by the House against the Obama administration in 2014 “has validity to it.”

The lawsuit argues that the Obama administration illegally bypassed Congress and didn’t get an appropriation for the payments.

Nobody could say they didn’t see this coming.

But where is the Michigan angle you ask?

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Do you stand?

I just wanted to follow up on a post that I made about a week ago regarding the disrespectful manner the millionaire ingrates in the NFL (and locally the Detroit Lions along with their cowardly management) had adopted over the latest faux outrage during our National Anthem.

Yes, there were a few interesting twists that I didn’t anticipate as well.

{And yes, those head-scratching details are below the fold}

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10 Years Later

The 'temporary' tax hike is still with us.

It didn’t go away.

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the signing of Jennifer Granholm’s income tax hike in October 2007.  Liars lie, and we have had our share over the years. On whether a particular democrat would sign on to such a drastic measure as reducing the net income of every single Michiganian?

Which is why it may have been encouraging for job makers and Michigan families when Bieda got the nod. After all, just last fall while campaigning for reelection he told the Detroit News that he was not out to raise taxes on Michigan businesses.

Q: There’s growing talk in Lansing about placing a sales tax on services that are now exempt. Would you support that approach?

A: Generally speaking, I think a tax on services, with perhaps some very limited exceptions, is something that I do not support.

One of a majority signing on to the temporary tax.

It was temporary. It was supposed to be rolled back.  Given GOP has had control of all branches of the state since 2010, and how we have been sold a bill of goods on the (NEW) gas tax, who is it that really needs a kick in the ‘ass?’

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Boycott NFL Detroit

From my inbox (and continuing with an earlier post).

Despite the attempts from team owners to play nice for the fans (Martha Ford even offered a bribe, er, I mean donation to the cause..exactly what that is, is anyone’s guess), NFL Players continue to act like ignorant tone-deaf buffoons.

Stadium seats aren’t selling. Advertisers are pulling out. People are turning off their TV’s.

Why not help to drive the point home?

This coming Sunday, October 8th, starting at 10:30am at the Main Entrance, there will be a Boycott Protest in front of Ford Field, organized by Michigan Freedom to Work spokesman Brian Pannebecker.

From their Facebook page:

“The National Anthem, in 2017 is a unifying symbol of America, the greatest country in the history of mankind.

These leftist agitators disrespecting the flag are trying to take that away from you by dividing us.

Please don’t let them, – please show your support for the U.S. flag and ‘our’ National Anthem this Sunday, Oct. 8th, outside Ford Field in Detroit.

We will be gathering at 10:30 near the main entrance to Ford Field to encourage fans to boycott the NFL until the league enforces its own rule calling for all players to stand facing the flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We have free “BOYCOTT NFL” t-shirts, and pre-printed signs to hold up as fans walk into the stadium.

Media will be there covering the protest event, so this is YOUR chance to have your voice heard in support of America and the flag that so many have given their life to defend. Please make plans to come, and try to get 2-3 friends to ride down together to share the cost of gas and parking.

We hope you join us this Sunday!“

If you can attend, be sure to RSVP on their FB Page linked above.

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Grow a spine, Governor!

You DO know that whole “Freedom of Speech” thing isn’t just limited to only aggrieved community agitators.

After recently engaging in security theater on a grand-scale, I didn’t really have a whole lot of respect for what passes law enforcement here in Michigan.

My thoughts on that issue echo those Benjamin Franklin made over two centuries ago.

And then they(/she) doubles-down on bad decision making.

Yes, this is becoming disappointing.

{Post continues after the fold}

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Gary Glenn Turns Back On Decentralization, Targets Medical Marijuana Industry Approved By Voters

09/15/2017 4:18PM  – EDITORS NOTE – See Comment below referencing Gary Glenn’s feedback

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Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) was seen as one of the shining stars of the tea party movement, and was finally elected to public office after several attempts back in 2012. We all had high hopes for him, but as he ascended into a leadership position, he immediately wilted like so many others.

This becomes incredibly obvious when examining the text of HB4965, a bill designed to punish cities that choose to allow medical marijuana dispensaries. It would cut them off from state funds if their town votes to permit dispensaries within city limits. This is a sinister way to rob localities of their sovereignty as well as an anti-free market measure to punish a growing industry creating more jobs in a state that desperately needs them.

It reads as follows:

THE STATE TREASURER SHALL WITHHOLD ALL OR ANY PART OF ANY PAYMENT THAT A CITY, VILLAGE, TOWNSHIP, OR COUNTY IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE UNDER THIS ACT IF THE CITY, VILLAGE, TOWNSHIP, OR COUNTY ADOPTS A MEDICAL MARIHUANA ORDINANCE.

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