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?
As if it wasn’t just a few days ago we here at RightMi.com learned of Sen. Rick Jones creating carve-outs for his fellow retired LEO brethren. Today, we learn that Sen. Jones has taken it upon himself to gift a little extra in the till to those beloved public sector retirees in Schuette’s Office.
Yes, unanimous vote so, it must meet Lansing’s bifarceisan two-party standard. Still have doubts about the legalese jihadi cabal ruling supreme? Just look no further than their former revenue recruiting LEO who champions a wallet lining statute.
Makes one wonder if it’s an old prosecutor’s office bootlicking reflex or, just riding out of office in a payola bang?
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.
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.
Health Care: 10%
Michigan ranks 31st overall among the states in the Freedom Index. Dismal per capita levels of state taxes, spending, and regulation weighed down Michigan’s rankings. Michigan’s ranking in the individual policy categories are:
DNR just slyly reported that Michigan hunting license sales dropped to 729,000 in 2014, a 4.2% drop from 2013 sales and the all time low in data extending way back to 1958. This drop is even worse than the numbers suggest, since the new HB 4668 hunting license rules require base licenses for hunting activities which did not require licenses in previous years. And if you believe President Obama and his statistical mathmagicians, the U.S. economy surged at a 5% GDP growth rate in 2014Q3 just before Michigan’s traditional firearms deer season. Michigan’s population increased by 11,684 people in 2014, the third consecutive annual increase. So the number of hunters should have increased in 2014? But the number of hunters in Michigan dropped, and hunter numbers declined because license fees skyrocketed under HB 4668 of 2013.
The most popular hunting license prices increased 50 – 100 % under the new 2014 fee schedule, although a direct comparison is not possible because the licenses were restructured under HB 4668 to ‘simplify’ the license schedule. Even though the DNR has not released license sales dollar amounts yet, we can still sketch out the doleful effect of the DNR hunting license fee increases on Michigan’s staggering economy.
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.
So far, second thoughts might keep the additional burdens of doing business in Michigan at bay.
I have lost some big sales in other states because of ‘Amazon Laws’ in the past few years.
Its an amazing thing that happens when your cost of doing business in a state goes up by 10%. (Michigan will be 6%) You lose customers, they pay more, or you eat the costs. The first option is of course the worst of the three, but when profit margins range between 15-20%, 10 points represents at least HALF the profits, and can be discouraging to even attempting to sell.
California has some of the most used shipping ports, so its natural that many warehouses are located there. It also has quite a large population. Our business has historically sold more to California customers, than those in Michigan. But a few years ago, I was notified by one of my suppliers who drop ships for me in that state, that unless they had an exemption form on file for the customers, they would have to charge an additional 10% for the product to cover THEIR tax liability; CA Sales tax being 8% and an additional 25% tax for assumed mark-up.
I had a choice. I could in some cases ship product all the way here, then ship all the way back, and salvage a few pennies, OR I could simply find a supplier for similar product in other state warehouses willing to ship to California. The unnatural commerce that had to evolve (and quickly), wound up raising the cost of doing business. It raised the cost and in some cases slowed service for the customers in California who were STILL expected to report their ‘USE tax.’