Governor Snyder is attempting to resuscitate his reputation by benevolently raising your taxes.
Our ace Governor is not going quietly into the night as his governorship slides into the twilight
zone. He launched two tax proposals last week which he touted as environmental initiatives. Neither raises enough funds to even remotely achieve his stated environmental objectives, unless the taxes he proposed skyrocket in the future. Both proposals are actually designed to expand our hopelessly inept (and periodically corrupt) bureaucracy. The environmental angle is just eyewash to sell higher taxes to the gullible. And those tax rates he proposes will skyrocket – bet on it.
First up is an increase in the current landfill tipping tax from $ 0.36 per ton to $ 4.75 per ton. Snyder claims this tax increase will raise $ 79 million for recycling programs. It won’t. The incremental revenue will be something less than $ 70.7 million, because 769,000 tons of solid waste from other states with lower tipping taxes will no longer be land filled in Michigan (pdf). Michigan landfills will suffer a 4.5% volume drop, which will be consequential. They will either curtail operations (read: lay off workers), cut workers’ wages or raises, and/or adjust tipping fees. Local units of government, which also collect revenue from their landfills, will suffer revenue losses as well. Environmentalists will applaud, but the trash is just being diverted to different land fills. There is no environmental benefit to playing musical chairs with garbage.
Governor Snyder implies in his press release that his proposed tipping tax increase will diminish Michigan’s solid waste imports from his Canadian buddies; the ones who are building his bridge. It won’t. Ontario landfill tipping fees start at $ 75 CAD per metric ton ($ 55 USD per short ton). Comparable Michigan landfill tipping fees are in the low $ 30 USD range. Snyder would have to raise the Michigan tipping tax by $ 25 USD, not the $ 4.39 he proposes, to materially reduce Canadian solid waste exports to Michigan. Keep in mind that the Canadians will ignore their transportation costs; they need to feed tolls to that fancy new bridge as cross border truck traffic otherwise declines. Our Canadian neighbors didn’t pay for the Gordie Howe Bridge out of the goodness of their hearts. It was cheaper politically than opening land fills.
A tipping tax which would actually impact Canadian trash exports would wipe out Michigan land fills and their workers. And all of our solid waste would be exported to other states, making Michigan many new friends across the Midwest. Yet tipping tax proponents will imply that the tipping tax increase will curtail Canadian trash exports to Michigan.