Cronyism

Lets Throw More Money Away!

Commission to taxpayers - "Gird your loins."

About that blue ribbon report on education?

Governor RINO-Burger’s newly formed ’21st Century Education Commission’ has performed as expected. One theme seems to stand out.  In the end, all will be well if we follow some not-so-surprising advice from the best socialist minds around. – Free college. Preschool for every child. No more grade levels.

A report released last week from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office offered lofty goals designed to overhaul Michigan’s public education system. The state needs to offer free community college, expand preschool access, and restructure K-12 public schools, the report suggested. District leaders in northwest Michigan agreed, but they’ll need more clarity on the details.

Sure.  why not?

Government employees shilling for expansion of government?  But wait!  More clarity?

“My first question would be if it’s free, who’s paying for it?” asked Sander Scott, superintendent at Glen Lake Community Schools. “That’s what any taxpayer would say. There’ll be a cost to be able to offer these things. … The state is really struggling to fund its public schools so adding more is interesting.”

Yes, “interesting.”
The state is struggling to accurately provide (yes, “accurately.” ‘Adequately’ is a word I would use if it was called for) funding that provides for the best education for our declining youth.  As opined previously, dumping nearly an additional $billion bones into the Detroit school system last year was a seriously flawed legislative act.
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Impunity In A One Party State

Very Bad Judgment Is Not A Bar To Judicial Tenure In The Peoples Republic Of Ann Arbor

A Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court judge is demonstrating the supreme impunity immunity enjoyed by the liberal elites in a modern one party state: Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Trial Judge Carol A. Kuhnke has just dodged all legal consequences for possessing prescription narcotics not prescribed to her; narcotics which were used by her adopted son in his fatal overdose last year.

At this point, you probably have some sympathy for Judge Kuhnke. Opioid addiction is sweeping our country and there are a lot of tragedies occurring which parents simply cannot prevent. But there are twists to Judge Kuhnke’s story which sets it far apart from the typical overdose tragedy.

Judge Kuhnke’s curious story began on November 25th of last year when her son was found dead from oxycodone toxicity, but only got its first airing in the press yesterday. Young John Kuhnke allegedly broke into a locked tool chest where Judge Kuhnke was storing both drugs and alcohol. The drugs included oxycodone, hydrocodone, trazodone, dexmethylphenidate, and tramadol. All nasty items. These drugs were originally prescribed to John Kuhnke, Judge Kuhnke, her wife Elizabeth Janovic, Janovic’s parents, and the Kuhnke/Janovic’s next door neighbor. John Kuhnke is alleged to have stolen ten prescription pill vials from the broken tool chest and taken some of the next door neighbor’s oxycodone pills to a friend’s house where he overdosed and died.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Detective Craig Raisanen requested warrant for Judge Kuhnke and her wife Elizabeth Janovic from the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office for possession of up to 25 grams of Schedule II narcotics prescribed in another person’s name [MCL 333.7403(2)(a)(v)]. The Washtenaw County Prosecutor asked AG Schuette to appoint a special prosecutor and that special prosecutor then decided that charges “would not be appropriate”. The Special Prosecutor appointed was Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt, who happens to serve in the county immediately north of Washtenaw. He fobbed the case off on the Judicial Tenure Commission, and it now appears that they too will take no action.

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The Price of Political Failure

The Detroit News launched a hit piece on Michael G. Ford, the CEO of the Regional Transportation Authority of Southeastern Michigan this morning. Reporters Robert Snell and Christine MacDonald breathlessly review Mr. Ford’s expense accounting and employment contract details over the 33 months since he was appointed CEO of the RTA.

The closest they get to finding any real improprieties is Mr. Ford’s car allowance and mileage reimbursement, but that does not stop them from reporting salacious details of hotel room charges and his very generous employment contract. No illegality or budget overruns are found, but the tone of the article is supremely negative. Mr. Ford’s contract happens to be up for renewal and the RTA Board tabled a $ 16,300 raise for him two weeks ago.

A special meeting of the RTA Board of Directors was held this morning, including a closed session. Public bodies operating under the Open Meetings Act are only allowed to close meetings when deliberating personnel matters and contracts. It is not much of a leap to speculate that Mr. Ford is today’s main course at the RTA Board meeting.

The Detroit News duo filed an FOIA request for Mr. Ford’s contract details and expense reimbursements shortly after Paul Hillegonds, Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to the RTA Board, began reviewing Mr. Ford’s expenses. Coincidence? Hardly.

What is going on here?

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Dan Gilbert Begging For Taxpayer Money Capture – Detroit News Says Please Give.

Imagine if all industries were subsidized with capture process.

Set the example, right?

Cronyism is still alive and well, and Detroit interests still have their hands out. And maybe it’s not JUST the developers? Detroit’s high taxes, and expensive operating environment has created impediments to natural growth.

Years after Dan Gilbert took money from taxpayers to move his employees into Detroit where they would pay a new income tax, and endure travel challenges, he want to see more of the bottom of the taxpayer purse through capture strategies. And he has cheerleaders.

The Detroit News has opined in favor of taking money from Michigan families and giving it to big developers to subsidize otherwise unprofitable real estate projects. The News wrote:

“In Detroit and other older Michigan cities, rents are still not high enough to fully offset construction costs without incentive packages.”

If the News extended the same logic to its own situation, we might see something like this in a future editorial:

“In Detroit and other old two-newspaper towns, subscription and ad rates are still not high enough to fully offset continuing operations without incentive packages.  If we were to get subsidies captured from the taxes paid from our employees, our success would be guaranteed, and [those] taxes would increase!”

Just think of the page rent decreases it could offset!

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Absolvendi Officium

"Public-Private Partnerships" Are bad business for government.

SB 97 passed 32-4 last Friday.

Seriously flawed in it’s very concept, the bill grants private operators the ability to operate as-if they are the chartering government itself, sans the payback at the voting booth.  Contracts could extend far beyond term limitations, and the ‘authorities’ created would be of a new design.

It will place those who fail to pay the private concern as immediately liable for fees as-if it were a government entity. It also brings back the spectre of eminent domain, and abuse of authority.

It also grants special rights to those who profit from such projects as described in the bill from paying property, sales or use taxes taxes.

Read it here.

Tell me I am wrong.

Please.

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Michigan’s Tax Charade

No Michigan Tax Deal Is Ever Worth The Paper It Is Written On

Since our devious Governor and his RINO caucus pulled out all the stops to quash the HB 4001 decrements in the state income tax last Thursday, it has dawned on Michigan politicians that the optics of the SB 111 – 115 Dan Gilbertville tax breaks just got real ugly. You can’t hand $ 1.8 billion of state revenue over to politically connected developers after stiffing the public at large without gruesome consequences. This is going to decrement some Senators’ campaign finance committee balances.

No one should fault Speaker Leonard for putting HB 4001 up for a losing vote. Bottling up and fiddling legislation behind closed doors until a winning margin is assured is not an exemplar of government transparency. Brits and Europeans may regard such shifty back room shenanigans as the hallmark of sophisticated political process, but here in America constituents want to know exactly how they are being represented. Thursday’s vote told us more about the RINOs in the Michigan House than years of deceitful political media articles and reports.

Thank you Speaker Leonard for fostering genuine political transparency.  Long overdue in Michigan.

It now appears that killing both tax reductions was the plan all along. Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Municipal League just launched a trial balloon to gut the Proposal A constitutional amendment of 1994. Proposal A limited the tax depredations of government employees acting through their local units of government, a popular activity in Michigan’s more leftward big cities and counties. The sales tax was increased 50%, but property owners got some constitutionally protected tax relief in return.

Local government employees and their Democratic political puppets want to renege on the 1994 Proposal A tax deal. Well, not entirely. Just the constitutionally protected property tax relief. No one is offering to restore the 4% sales tax rate. What was it JFK said about negotiating with the Soviets? “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” Public employees and their subservient Democratic politicians have a lot of gall claiming that President Trump is a Russian stooge and a neo communist tyrant to boot.

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Just in case anyone is wondering why Michigan Taxpayers are getting screwed over (again)…

And what ever happened to that whole “I-BELIEVE-government-must-practice-fiscal-responsibility-and-allow-individuals-to-keep-more-of-the-money-they-earn.” mantra?

All I’ve got to say here is: “Beware of bipartisanship”.

{More below the fold}

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Who Rules Michigan?

The Administrative State or the People?

The titanic political struggle unfolding in Washington is sucking the oxygen out of Michigan politics, but is analogous to the central political struggle which has been playing out here in Michigan for 48 years. Political media breathlessly report on a struggle between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. This struggle is not between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, nor RINOs and true believers. The Democrats, liberals, and RINOs are completely discredited in Michigan, as they are across most of the United States. All that remains of them is jammed into the Hillary archipelago.

The present political struggle is between the people and the administrative state. Call it bureaucracy, deep state, or administrative state: they are unelected government employees, their agents in the media, and the select beneficiaries of government largess. Their opponents in this struggle are the majority of Americans and Michiganders who pay the price for the administrative state; a now seething mass whose ascendancy was a rude surprise to the administrative state.

The outcome of the struggle in Washington is yet to be determined, but in Michigan the administrative state is clearly winning despite its total responsibility for the Flint water fiasco. The administrative state owns Governor Snyder body and soul. The administrative state will stop at nothing to manipulate the Michigan Legislature when the chips are down. Refractory (but innocent) legislators are expelled before legal process while cooperative (but guilty) legislators sit unfettered until legal process is completed.

How else can you explain the PA 177 of 2015 road tax package, indistinguishable from the soundly trounced Proposal 2015-01? Or the bogus Detroit bankruptcy which somehow neglected a $ 491 million financial hole which will haunt the city with a vengeance in 2024? Half the city’s annual budget. Or the refusal of Michigan government units at all levels to even consider tax reductions due to the simmering public employee pension catastrophe? Those pensions enjoyed by members of the administrative state are but a distant memory to the Michiganders who pay them.  Indeed, all of Michigan’s units of government are jacking up fees to get around Headlee Amendment taxation limits.

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Nolan Finley really should come out of the closet.

Supporter of Detroit bailouts and special Detroit tax hikes, a non-libertarian “Libertarian” for president, noted contributor to the democratic party and now this.

This latest rant might have been credible if it weren’t for this.

I’d post that clown pic of him right about now…if I didn’t find that demeaning to actual clowns whose job it is to get people to laugh on purpose.

‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

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Kwame’s Sinkhole

The former Mayor of Detroit's "impact" lives on.

Kwame Kilpatrick is the gift that keeps on giving.

Long time readers might remember that our outgoing president once lauded praise upon the once venerated Detroit Mayor.  Barack Obama who in the video here was speaking about the “great mayor” responsible for Detroit’s “renaissance” etc.

The as-yet-to-be-elected Senator Obama speaking at the Detroit economic club could little imagine how Detroit’s political crime syndicate was about to crash with Kilpatrick at the wheel. And the As-yet-to-be-dismissed president Obama might be less inclined to offer the intransigent former mayor felon a pass on future political relevance.

Kilpatrick’s current crib will likely remain occupied by the big K.  His legacy is a thing of legend. From the Ivory Tower:

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