Republicans

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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Something In the Water

Incumbency protection planning gone wrong?

If Karen Weaver survives the Flint Mayoral ‘recall’ contest,will anyone be particularly surprised?

Weaver, supposedly a solution to decades of infrastructure neglect and poor city service planning, became the target of big city politicos because of the normal big city shenanigans.  From Global financial Market Review:

” Mayor Karen Weaver sailed into office two years ago promising to clean Flint’s lead-tainted water and to restore trust in government, after previous leaders brought poisoned water to the city and ignored residents when they complained. Ms. Weaver declared a state of emergency, met with the president and made the rounds on cable television, quickly becoming one of America’s most visible mayors.

But as her celebrity grew, so too did a revolt within her own City Hall. She now faces City Council members accusing her of corruption, a court battle over Flint’s long-term water source and, on Tuesday, a recall election that could snuff out her four-year term at the halfway point.”

Once upon a time, a recall actually meant something however.

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Taking It Back

True Conservative to get back in the game for 2018

One of the most compelling curiosities of Michigan politics is the 11th congressional district.

In the 2012 election cycle, a little known veteran, farmer, and teacher, Kerry Bentivolio  challenged the popular Thaddeus McCotter for the 11th congressional seat in the Republican primary. Bentivolio was largely ignored and on his own with barely a notice even as he set up a Kiosk just outside the 2012 State convention in Detroit.

McCotter was not going to lose a primary to this particular unknown and things moved along as they do. Of course “as they do” can become crazy real fast in Michigan politics. The long [to NO] shot challenger soon found himself thrust into the position of defending a GOP seat in congress when things fell apart for McCotter.

Establishment types freaked out.

McCotter at first thought a write-in campaign would work, but then decided to roll with fate and pursue the next stage of his career.  At the same time, money players in the 11th sought out someone they thought might be ‘a better choice’ to defend the seat (and perhaps serve their ends) for the general election.

Even though write in campaigns are seldom successful, it was seen as the only way to keep a constitutional conservative, tea party guy from ‘screwing up’ the system.  Nancy Cassis was selected to challenge the new found politico Bentivolio for the primary, but as write-ins go, was easily trounced by the under funded and on the ballot new-pol by a margin of two to one.

Bentivolio served with honor and earned a 95% rating from freedomworks, 92% from the ACU, 91% from club for growth, and 83% from Heritage. Bentivolio was second only to Amash in constitutional on the Heritage rating and earned the top spot from a number of smaller conservative and small business organizations.

It wasn’t enough for the swamp however.  In 2014, there was already a challenge planned and fully funded, and with the establishment blockade placed on the newly installed congressman’s reelection coffers, he wasn’t able to survive a political fight with the well funded David Trott, who won easily with his own two to one margin.

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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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Because GOP Voters Are THAT Stupid?

The Draft Roger Penske campaign cannot be for real, can it

Only in Michigan could we nominate a Republican who donated to his opponent’s war chest.

It would be one thing if Roger Penske and his wife donated to Debbie Stabenow 10 years ago, had buyers remorse (who wouldn’t), and then decided to rectify by running for the US senate seat to correct it.  It is quite again another to donate $30,000 aggregately, less that a year ago, and expect to be nominated.

Kathryn Penske

2555 Telegraph Rd Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48302

. / Homemaker

 

12/08/2016

15000.00

15000.00

Roger S Penske

2555 Telegraph Rd Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48302

Penske Corporation / Chief Executive Officer

 

12/06/2016

15000.00

15000.00

Good grief.

Take off the top-hat and tuxedo and pay attention. Even rich penguins remain to this day, birds that cannot fly.

Who comes up with these crazy ideas?

 

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Michigan’s Next Attorney General?

Tom Leonard takes first step to secure the GOP nomination

Michigan Democrats have what some might call a “kiddie pool” of candidates.

Not necessarily because of immaturity (though some might argue this), but because of the depth it represents.  There are few rock stars remaining in Michigan politics on the donkey side of the slate, and those who have any gravitas are shooting for the governor’s seat.

Tom Leonard, instead of waiting around for even more Republicans to be elected to do the right thing has taken a chance or two.  He attempted to get the income tax reduction finished, but it wasn’t something our ‘progressive’ governor wanted, and the chief executive’s cronies did what they do; stall good policy. Unfortunately Leonard’s time as house speaker has come to an end.   Some might consider it the other side of the blade of term limits.

This is Leonard’s announcement for Michigan’s attorney general.  Below the fold is his emailed announcement.

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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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A doer vs. do-nothing. Is this really a contest?

He's got a point. Can Debbie Stabenow claim this?

Even though I’m unabashedly leaning towards KR, I still have got to give kudos to someone who comes right out and says this.

Submitted w/o any further comment.

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Island Quick Notes

A quick heads up on this weekend's Mackinac Island activities.

Decompressing from the Michigan Republican Party’s Mackinac Island leadership conference.

“Together We Rise” was this year’s event theme, and the invited speakers were phenomenal. Speaking over the weekend to the Michigan Republicans was Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri, Former U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The Grand Hotel on the island was the setting for this year’s event (as well as all before), with several panels and opportunities to socialize.

Coming away from the conference a few questions remain on what we might see on a couple of major races.   As yet (unless I missed something), lt Governor Brian Calley has not yet declared his candidacy for Governor, and the lack of organizational element present on the island suggests he probably will not.  Likewise the question of whether the US Senate race will also include U.S. representative Fred Upton is unanswered.

the latter item may well have been answered with the new design of his political paraphernalia, showing no seat designation, and including the state as a whole, instead of a district.  Upton had people on the ground and his own rally, something not usually seen for a simple win congressional re-election campaign.

I have over a thousand pictures to process, and will get back to this as soon as I can.

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