Taxes

University Wannabes

Empire building adds to cost of education

Community college is an affordable option for those who wish to pursue higher educational choices.

Or not. Or maybe .. not so much anymore.

The mystery of unaffordable post secondary education is really no mystery at all.  Scooby doo wouldn’t even need the rest of ‘the gang’ to find a clue with such overt fiscal madness that is seemingly mainstream. From today’s ticker:

Much of the Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) campus is a construction zone this summer. A 21st-century residence hall is almost finished, and the completion of a glass-walled addition to the Dennos Museum that will double the amount of display space isn’t far behind.

The biggest project hasn’t even commenced: construction of a new library and “innovation center” is set to begin in the spring and will cap $34 million in projects that will transform the campus.

Into what?

A ‘white elephant’ no doubt?

Maintaining the college extravagance and operations outside its primary and logical mission (cheap & local higher ed) will always be borne out by higher tuition, and pilfering from taxpayer.  Attracting the dozens of students from such far off places as Ohio or maybe even Indiana is certainly worth the millions of dollars in investments, and the ongoing maintenance of such ‘investments.’

Right?

You Betcha! (10)Nuh Uh.(1)

Fox Conned

Go Big, Or Go Home

Just as Governor Snyder signed the SB 242 – 244 ‘Good Jobs’ subsidy package yesterday, Foxconn announced that they accepted Wisconsin’s insane subsidies. The new Foxconn industrial campus will be built in the Badger State, not Michigan. The Foxconn competition, however, was the bait used to stampede the Michigan Legislature into passing the ‘Good Jobs’ package much sought by Michigan’s government and business establishments.

Wisconsin is going to lavish $ 3 billion in subsidies on Foxconn for somewhere between 3,000 and 13,000 new jobs. That works out to somewhere between $ 1 million and $ 230,769 in subsidies per job. Amortized over a 10 year period, the state of Wisconsin will be paying somewhere between $ 48.00 and $ 11.09 per labor-hour of every Foxconn worker’s wages using taxes extracted from other less fortunate Wisconsin workers. Subtract these per labor-hour subsidies from the headline wages touted for the future Foxconn workers and their ‘Good Jobs’ don’t look quite so good. Gussied up minimum wage jobs at best, wage theft at worst.

The little pig gets to feed at the trough, the hog gets taken to market and slaughtered.

You Betcha! (17)Nuh Uh.(1)

Riot, Insurrection, Rebellion, or Uprising?

A Cure Always Requires a Correct Diagnosis

All Americans alive in 1967, of all races, called Detroit’s five day long spasm of violence, arson, and looting in July 1967 a riot. Some labeled it a race riot, others just a riot. Not for long. Within a year, government and media were plying the public with a long list of racial grievances said to be responsible and an even longer list of expensive liberal programs which promised to cure them.

The Detroit riots were deceitfully recast as an insurrection, rebellion, or an uprising to drive those liberal programs, but ultimately this revisionism just glamorized base criminality, Fifty years later, billions have been doled out in Detroit through those liberal programs and Detroit is in even worse shape by every metric.

Let’s start with some definitions from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of riot

  1. archaic a : profligate behavior : debauchery b : unrestrained revelry c : noise, uproar, or disturbance made by revelers
  2. a : public violence, tumult, or disorder b : a violent public disorder; specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent
  3. a random or disorderly profusion the woods were a riot of color
  4. one that is wildly amusing the new comedy is a riot

Definition of insurrection

  1. an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government

Definition of rebellion

  1. opposition to one in authority or dominance
  2. a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government b : an instance of such defiance or resistance

Definition of uprising

  1. an act or instance of rising up; especially : a usually localized act of popular violence in defiance usually of an established government

Note that the definitions of insurrection, rebellion, and uprising all state that these events are a defiance of established government, while the definition riot does not.

Were the events in Detroit from 23 to 27 July 1967 a defiance of established government?

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Battles of the Lower Depths in Detroit

Davis et al v. Detroit Downtown Development Authority et al; U.S Eastern District of Michigan Case Number: 2:17-cv-11742

Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled on June 19th that Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority can issue $34.5 million in bonds to pay for the relocation of the Detroit Pistons basketball team to the new Little Caesar’s Arena. The Judge’s ruling rejected arguments that the eventual use of school tax money to repay these tax increment finance bonds violates Detroit residents’ constitutional and statutory right to vote on a school tax money diversions.

Judge Goldsmith’s ruling denied Robert Davis‘ and D. Etta Wilcoxon’s motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order in their lawsuit against the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. The Judge said the plaintiffs did not establish the need for an emergency injunction. The Judge politely neglected to mention that Robert Davis was sentenced in the very same Eastern District U.S. District Court to an 18 month Club Fed vacation for stealing $ 200,000 from the Highland Park School District in 2014. Mr. Davis should still be on probation for this minor peccadillo.

One complication here is that the tax monies being diverted are not those of the current Detroit Community Public School District, but rather those of the legacy Detroit Public School District which was reduced to zombie status last year in the DPS bailout. Is the old DPS really a school district today, or just a financial entity? The Detroit Community Public School District is a near bankrupt ward of the State of Michigan that won’t receive any Detroit property tax revenues until the legacy DPS district debts are paid off. No one alive today will live to see that.

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The Forest For The Trees

Grand Traverse County Commissioners don't even understand why the county is broke.

We all like nice things.

Sometimes we have to choose which nice things we want however.  As a community, the pie is only big enough for so many parks, so many police officers, and some of the other necessary ‘amenities’ to make it all happen.  One thing it requires is choices and priorities.

Attending a board of commissioners meeting tonight, one participant noted that our Northern Michigan county had the worst pension funding situation in the state.  While probably true, the rest of the commissioners in their own ways acknowledged it, and then moved on to prove in no uncertain terms why it is unlikely to change.

In an effort to raise money to cover the ballooning pension liabilities, Grand Traverse County Commissioners voted 6-1 to sell a county property for nearly $100K less than the highest bid for the property.   They were convinced by a number of hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers, that letting the property in question into ‘private’ hands would make our slice of heaven intolerable.

You Betcha! (9)Nuh Uh.(1)

Does Detroit need a lesson on the Fourth?

And no. I don’t mean that thing where we exercise out "right" to set off large quantities of fireworks next month.

Last weekend, I spent some time with some friends who now live out of town.

We did the “usual touristy” things like Greektown and the Casinos.

They wanted me to go with them to the Grand Prix, but I’m more of a NASCAR Guy than IndyCar.

Afterwards, I insisted on changing things up and that we go down to Lafayette to eat.

I told them that it was part of the “Authentic Detroit” dining experience and that sort of thing.

They had never been down there and after initially scarring the hell out of them (along with equally confusing them with how the food was ordered/delivered), they settled down a bit and we started to catch up on things. They began to comment on local stuff, basically regurgitating what people like Gov. Snyder, et al, were shoveling to the rest of the country about how things have turned around since the bankruptcy.

I laughed at their comments and replied to the effect that, “Yeah! They wish!”

“Look at all of this new stuff downtown? How can you argue that things aren’t better?”, they replied.

I told them that “Yes”, the Downtown Area has improved. Large amounts of government money tends to eventually do that. “Yes” places like the Riverfront have gotten nicer.

But then I added, the same cannot be said for the rest of the city.

They didn’t believe me.

They couldn’t accept the fact that everything was as bad as I told them it was.

I told them, “Fine, want to go on a little trip?”

They were a little apprehensious to say the least, but we loaded up into their car and we went happy motoring…away from the freeways.

I took them in places where even Crowder wouldn’t dare to venture!

We went up and down places like Jefferson, and then Warren and Mack where it didn’t take that long to notice the large swaths of bombed out/burned out neighborhoods (at least I think they were neighborhoods at one time), large piles of trash and abandoned/stolen vehicles (along with boats…yes boats) strewn about, pretty much every other building covered with graffiti, I told my now visibly scared “driver” that I wanted to stop at the next party store because I wanted to get something to drink.

Yes, I did that on purpose.

So, while we parked across the street and started walking towards the party store, I got bombarded with a ton of questions (besides is this really safe) like why that particular store had a chain-link fence around the roof topped with razor wire, why there were thick metal plate doors next to the entrance and why was there a flashing green light on the sign outside of the building. When we went inside, they did a double-take at the walkway surrounding most of the perimeter of the inside of the building separated by 1-inch thick Lexan.

I casually grabbed a 2-liter of Rock N’ Rye, they didn’t get anything (I cannot imagine why) and we went back to their car. I still had more to show them.

Continuing our “tour”, they still couldn’t get over the flashing strobe light on the sign.

“Oh that? That’s Green Light.”

And here is where out story turns to next…

{More after the fold}

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It’s About Time already

Michigan lawmakers look to plug the big gaping hole in government liability.

1997 was actually a good year for Michigan.

It could have been better however.  It was the year that Governor Engler signed off on pension plan changes for state employees, but not including the school retirement system. For those it did affect, It adjusted the way in which pensions are funded from defined outcomes at high risk for taxpayers, to defined contribution with real ownership to the recipients.

It also saved the state billions in the last 2 decades. 

The change to the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System saved the state an estimated $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion in unfunded state employee pension liability from 1997 to 2010, according to the report, authored by public pension expert Rick Dreyfuss.

Seven years later we are still benefiting (no pun intended) from this change.

This 20 year anniversary could well produce the finishing touch and allow Michigan to move toward a predictable liability scenario for good.  School employees somehow remained outside of the course correction in 1997.  House Bill 4647 and Senate Bill 0401 being nearly identical, provide the mechanism for the fix to that problem that has been long overdue.

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Corruption or Incompetence?

Oakland Macomb Sewer Interceptor Costs Now At $ 335 Million And Climbing, Cue The Lawsuits

The City of Sterling Heights announced on their FakeBook page Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against Macomb County over their $ 22.2 million portion of the cost for reconstructing the collapsed Oakland Macomb sewer interceptor (OMI), as apportioned by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (MIDDD). Sterling Heights believes that the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) “did nothing to abate the conditions that likely caused the December [24th] 2016 collapse”. Sterling Heights believes their contract with the MCWDD covers the operation and maintenance of the OMI interceptor.  This may be a little tricky to prove, since the OMI is actually run by the Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (OMIDDD), an entity independent of and superior to the MCWDD.

Sterling Heights’ contention is that proper maintenance on the OMI by the MCWDD would have prevented its collapse. Maybe. The OMIDDD has already spent $ 170 million on rehabilitation of the OMI since they bought it in 2009. Supposedly the entire 21 mile length was examined and rehabilitated. That rehabilitation effort ended just months before its December 2016 collapse. That collapse suggests that the OMIDDD rehabilitation didn’t do much good. Anyone care to speculate why? Your choices are corruption or incompetence, or both.

This is now a Michigan wide story because our state government will be providing at least $ 5 million of the $ 75 million repair costs for the December OMI collapse. The much debated $ 3 million legislative grant and another $ 2 million from MDEQ.  That $ 75 million is just the current estimate, for the currently acknowledged deterioration of the OMI. Given the Granholm Administration’s role in suckering Oakland and Macomb counties into the OMI purchase, the State of Michigan probably has a lot more responsibility.

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Addicted.

Is it truly too late for American individualism?

What just happened should scare the hell out of us.

Healthcare has officially become an entitlement.   You have whole communities full of government junkies and melted away personal responsibility. Elected bureaucracy remains the pusher of socialized (welfare) medicine, and you cannot put enough locks on the safe to keep it out.

Preexisting conditions will remain a mandate on insurers. Even with added penalties for lapses in coverage going forward, accepting, and maintaining responsibility for oneself and one’s family has apparently been cemented as a function of government.

The most humble beginnings

It started simple enough decades ago, with the accepted forms of ‘insurance;’ Social security, Medicare, and for the emergency needs of poverty stricken folks, medicaid.  Soon, it was forcing insurance providers to include pregnancy protection for men, and autism support for parents who won’t stay at home with their own children.

Michigan in total, has added 655,635 to it’s medical welfare rolls as of last Monday.  This taxpayer funded boondoggle known as “Healthy Michigan” was enacted under a ‘Republican’ controlled legislature, and signed into law by a ‘Republican’ governor. And it is sufficiently generous.  The thought of taxpayers providing insurance welfare for those who are 33% above poverty thresholds is maddening.

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New Michigan Commemorative License Plates

Buy TWO and put one on the front to show that you like higher taxes!

The newest fundraising license plates being issued by the Secretary of State are out!

Celebrating the most recent progressive era of Republicanism in Lansing, the official Budget Year Commemorative Series is now waiting to adorn your vehicle.  From the more modest budget of $48 Billion to the latest greatest manifestation of politics unhinged, you too can let folks know how you love those high gas taxes, expansion of Obamacare in Michigan, and a full blown explosion of cronyism!

Each plate series carries the Snyder-Calley forward budget for each service year, along with the total taxpayer dollars spent to provide such things as school bailouts, constituent payola, medical welfare, and so-much-more!  The special plate fee is peanuts compared to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims premiums, the registration price hike, or the continued overcharging for income taxes!

Be sure to order extras for the kids!  (cause they’ll be paying for it long after you are gone)  For each plate sold, the Secretary of State will contribute $50 to the ‘Sanctuary State Fund,’  or a secret slush fund for the next couple of Senate leaders.

Exclusive License Plate series with budgetary increases shown below the fold.

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