Taxes

The Echo Chamber

Well, it took them long enough.

The first so-called “major revision” in the tax code in roughly 30-years.

Jason touched on this a little earlier with the statement released by Chairwoman Romney-McDaniel.

Speaking for myself, I’m going to hold off final judgment until I get a chance to read exactly what was in final bill. On the plus side, at least it doesn’t touch the continuing resolution.

But where I want to go with this is a little differently from where I have gone with in the past. This time I’m going to focus on the other side…Team “d”.

Not so much in what they have said, but in what they are doing. Or, more specifically, not doing.

{More below the fold}

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GOP Statement On Tax Overhaul

Ronna McDaniel: "Democrats will be held accountable.."

It’s done.

President Donald Trump is hosting a celebratory affair after congress took action to reform federal tax policy.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman and former Michigan GOP chair Ronna McDaniel issued the following statement celebrating the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“Today is a historic day for Americans, as they receive the biggest tax cut for the working class in a generation,” said Chairwoman McDaniel. “Thanks to Congressional Republicans and President Trump for keeping their promise to the American people by passing historic tax relief, all without a single Democrat vote.””Democrats will be held accountable next November when their constituents realize they voted against more money in their paycheck and refused to take part in helping more Americans be successful.”

Excellent.
It has truly been a good year.
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Sleight of Hand

Fast Times At The Detroit Public Schools Community District

Norman Shy, the Detroit Public Schools vendor who stole $ 3 million with the capable assistance of 12 DPS principals and one DPS administrator, has begun paying his court-ordered restitution. The Detroit Free Press reported today that the Detroit Public Schools Community District has received $ 1.5 million from Mr. Shy, out of the total $ 2.7 million in restitution U.S. District Court ordered Mr. Shy to pay in September 2016.

The problem here? Mr. Shy’s scam looted the pre bailout/bankruptcy Detroit Public School District, not the new Detroit Public Schools Community District. The new Detroit Public Schools Community District was created in July 2016, before Mr. Shy’s sentencing but well after his 13 year long scam concluded.

The legacy Detroit Public School District still exists as a ward of the State of Michigan to pay off more than $ 500 million in ‘operating debts’. Debts which, in part, are directly due to Mr. Shy’s scam and dozens of other thieves. Michigan taxpayers at large are paying down those debts of the legacy DPS District, and will be paying until 2025 – if not longer.

Mr. Shy’s restitution payments should be paid to the legacy DPS District, not the new DPSC District. Its not like Michigan taxpayers owe these monies to the new DPSCD. Michigan taxpayers fronted the DPSCD $ 617 million as part of the 2016 bailout/bankruptcy, and the new, ‘debt free’ district is now being financed just as generously as every other school district in Michigan.

$ 1.5 million is real money.  Restitution should be directed to those financially damaged.  In this case, it is the taxpayers of Michigan – not the new Detroit Public Schools Community District – who were looted by Mr. Shy.

Anyone still wonder why Michigan residents are so ill disposed towards Detroit and its very creative government accounting practices?

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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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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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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?

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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.

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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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