You are about to be buried in pseudostatistics and factoids purporting to demonstrate just how bad Michigan roads are. We have already demonstrated that the TRIP vehicle maintenance factoids fabricated by a devious road contractors’ business league are a complete fraud.
Now State of Michigan government entities are unleashing a wave of propaganda intended to drive your vote on Proposal 2015-01. Two State of Michigan government entities have prepared campaign flyers on behalf of Proposal 15-1 using Michigander’s tax dollars: MDoT and the Transportation Asset Research Council (TAMC).
Both MDoT and TAMC have spent years preparing slick pamphlets decrying the sad condition of Michigan’s roads, citing PAvement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) data collected by TAMC with MDoT and local road agency help. These pamphlets claim that 30 – 40 % of Michigan roads are in poor condition. But are they really?
Reflex Conditioning Drives Uncontrolled Government Spending
The brilliant, Nobel Prize winning physiologist Ivan Petrovitch Pavlov demonstrated that you could condition a dog to salivate by sounding a metronome. All he had to do was sound the metronome when putting out food for his dogs. It did not take long for his dogs to associate the sound of the metronome with food. Then he no longer even had to put food out to get the dogs to salivate; he only had to sound the metronome.
Today, inferior rank politicians have been conditioned to salivate when a financial grant is offered by superior rank politicians. The only problem with these grants of largess is that they always come with caveats, and usually require matching funds. These restrictions are a deliberate – and successful – effort to frustrate all efforts to manage government expenditures.
Taxes that increase every year to keep up with inflation.
We have used the 16.7% tax increase in the stop sign logo, (at the right) and will continue to do so. However, it is hardly a complete look at the tax implications if proposal 15-1 were to pass. We are attempting to find all the ways in which our prior legislative session gave us the shaft, including train to nowhere projects, redistribution of wealth, and the fuel tax replacement components.
Folks might actually be aware of the replacement fuel tax and that it will be more than what the was tax was before. Presumably, it simply replaces the sales tax that has been collected on fuel, that does not go toward roads. However, when one looks at the analysis done by the House Fiscal Agency, there is a paragraph that explains the mechanism accurately; and in particular, a line at the end of that paragraph points out an easily missed point.
Mass Transit Skims $ 120 Million from Proposal 2015-01 Road Work Funds
Ever hear of the Michigan Comprehensive Transportation Fund? Ten cents of every Michigan fuel tax dollar gets diverted to this mass transportation slush fund. It is only just behind the sales tax as a diversion of your current fuel tax dollars from Michigan’s roads.
All motor vehicle fuel taxes collected in the State of Michigan are first deposited into the Michigan Transportation Fund. Then MCL 247.660 (1)(f) (Public Act 51 of 1951) dictates that 10% of the funds deposited in the Michigan Transportation Fund be immediately transferred to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund. The amended version of MCL 247.660 you are being offered in Proposal 2015-01 has the very same section (1)(f), making the same 10% immediate diversion.
So the $ 1.2 billion that Proposal 2015-01 supporters are promising you for road work is actually only $ 1.08 billion. Kirk T. Steudle, P.E. gets a whole new stash to maintain and expand his stable of rotting train cars, $ 120 million that cannot be spent on the roads by law. $ 120 million that gets skimmed from the $ 1.2 billion you are being promised for the roads. And no, it is not skimmed from the $ 800 million that Proposal 2015-01 dedicates to the Democratic base.
Now you now know how Michigan political math works in the age of Common Core. Pay $ 2 billion for roads, get $ 1 billion in road work.
Classic “vote No” television ad as the first salvo in the epic failure that will be Proposal 15-1
The original ‘grubering’ in Washington merely required the power hungry congress critters to stick the fork in the voters. In this new catastrophic mess, it requires full participation in the self flagellation.
Indeed, effective ads need to mock the stupidity that are presented in the proposals appropriately.
Fix Planned to Correct Sales Tax Problem in Roads Plan
The administration of Governor Rick Snyder will seek legislation to correct a potential problem in the road funding plan that as written would lift the sales tax off of gasoline only for motor vehicles, but not for boats, snowmobiles and other non-road purposes like generators and gasoline-powered equipment.
As currently constructed, that would create a mess for retailers who theoretically would have to determine whether or not to charge the sales tax and even ask customers filling up a gasoline can what the intended use of the purchase is. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, as part of a broad analysis it is conducting on the road funding plan, noted the quirk and provided the information to Gongwer News Service.
It will be interesting to see how Governor Snyder fixes this. Purchasing gasoline for your boat or ORV could become a really entertaining bureaucratic exercise. Ready for the ‘Gasoline Police’? Think of the new forms to be filled out.
CRCoM is a collection of the usual corporate interests orbiting Michigan government. Not certain why they would have ratted out this bungle to Gongwer, but it does suggest a certain degree of unease among the establishment.
News stories on the Michigan road tax proposal are replete with compelling, eye popping factoids about the costs poor roads impose on Michigan drivers. These factoids are so compelling that our colorless Governor cites them to sway voters in the upcoming sales tax proposal debate. Some examples:
An inadequate transportation system costs Michigan residents a total of $7.7 billion every year
Driving on rough roads costs Michigan motorists a total of $2.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs
Driving on rough roads costs the average Detroit urban area motorist $536 annually in extra vehicle operating costs
Driving on rough roads costs the average Michigan motorist $357 annually in extra vehicle operating costs
You are expected to conclude that a 16.67% sales tax increase is a just trifle to escape these ghastly financial burdens. These factoids are always attributed to “TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research organization”. Sounds like an independent, credible source – right? The adjectives ‘nonprofit’ and ‘research’ give you a high level of confidence in their pronouncements? Perhaps you should dig a little deeper than our conniving politicians and their lazy media scribes. The TRIP report they are mining for these factoids is: MI_Transportation_By_The_Numbers_TRIP_Report_Jan_2014
Young man, the plain language of the law is the plain language of the law, even when it works against you.
Regulars on either this site or the old one likely are sure to recall the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco. The quick synopsis, for the Johnny-come-latelies, is that, on the final night of February in 2012, the MIGOP Credentials Committee (at that time consisting of Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Eric Doster, Bill Runco, and Mike Cox) had the high-tech equivalent of a middle-of-the-night, smoke-filled-back-room meeting, and decided, by a 4-2 vote – Hughes didn’t get word of the meeting until after its conclusion – that the published and promulgated delegate allocation rules would be overridden, ex post facto, for no other purpose than to preserve the narrative of a “favorite son” presidential primary win. The resultant grassroots backlash culminated in the Showdown In Motown, where the alleged chief engineer of the fiasco, one Saul Anuzis, was convincingly replaced with Dave Agema (to the ongoing agony of Michigan Republican Progressives).
However, with now mere days before the MIGOP Policy Committee meets to rule on the affidavits of candidacy for the various 2015 State Convention candidates, we see a similar scenario playing out . . . with at least one familiar player in the mix.