With one week until the special statewide election next Tuesday, the Safe Roads Yes ballot campaign is deploying teams of volunteers to call voters and track down unreturned absentee ballots over the proposed constitutional amendment linked to boosting road funding $1.2 billion annually [No it DOES NOT. That is disinformation, Chad.]. The campaign wouldn’t divulge who will be on the bus. [maybe an AFSCME stooge?]
“I don’t care what side you’re on, everyone agrees Michigan’s roads have gone from bad to worse, and they’ve got to get fixed,” said Roger Martin, spokesman for the Safe Roads Yes campaign.
Not willing to be out lied by their frenemies in Michigan’s business community, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) created an entirely bogus propaganda by crushing an old school bus with a piece of bridge, complete with guard rail. It will be a featured propaganda for their ‘Getting Schooled in Infrastructure’ tour which commenced in Flint today. You are allowed to speculate on their altruistic motives.
You can bet dollars to donuts he won’t sic a motor carrier officer on this illegal, unsecured load. Under any other circumstances, a trucker hauling this load around Michigan would get an impressive collection of ‘green stamps’ and an overnight stay in the crowbar hotel. An opportunity to try on Federspiel’s natty new black and white jail attire. Who said political convenience doesn’t tip the scales of justice in Michigan?
Favoritism never crosses the mind of our Michigan leaders. Too busy engaging in media opportunism.
Best guess, the merry screw ups at the Detroit Regional Chamber have created a new ballot question PAC to replace their recently terminated – and heavily cited – ‘Detroit Regional Chamber PAC II‘ ballot question PAC. DRC PAC II earned eighteen citations from the SoS since 2013 for filing screw ups. DRC PAC II filed a dissolution notice on 02 April and paid the $ 875.00 dissolution fee on 07 April. ‘Powering the Economy’ has the same address as the Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Avenue in Detroit – which used to be known as the MichCon or ANR Building before Dan Gilbert bought it. And DRC has trademarked ‘Powering the Economy’ as one of their signature catch phrases.
Somebody is ignoring Michigan’s campaign finance laws. Not just ignoring them, trampling them. But this has been a routine practice during the Proposal 1 proponents’ campaign. Our Attorney General is supposed to enforce these laws, but he hasn’t been exactly active on this front despite Schuette ostensibly opposing Proposal 1. So all we can do at this late date is tell you about another scam behind Proposal 1 and let you spike this dragon at the ballot box. Sweet revenge is $ 9 million of your opponents’ money down the drain. Vote May 5th.
The proponents of Proposal 1 never envisaged the losing position they now occupy two weeks before the vote, so their media shills have resurrected the titillating lies projections of a road builders’ organization called TRIP to bolster their case. Here are the most visceral quotes from Michigan’s two largest newspapers, demonstrating their well-honed propaganda skills:
“By 2025, the share of major roads in poor condition is projected to increase to 53 percent,” TRIP said in its report. “Keeping roads in good condition by performing minor maintenance is far more cost-effective than waiting until roads are in fair or poor condition when it becomes far more costly to make needed repairs.”
“According to TRIP, driving on rough roads costs Michigan motorists a total of $4.8 billion each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs, representing an average cost of $686 annually per motorist.”
”That’s the conclusion of a report released Monday by TRIP, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes information on surface transportation issues.
The Detroit Free Press only identified TRIP as “a national nonprofit transportation research group” in this pivotal story. They were a little more candid in a previous story, so they can’t claim not to know what TRIP is. The Detroit News identification of TRIP was every bit as dishonest. Only our ‘newer’ media is more truthful, if still not entirely accurate:
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
TRIP’s 2015 report on Michigan annual excessive vehicle costs is a $ 2.5 billion (or $ 329 per motorist) increase above their 2014 lies projections. A 109% increase above their 2014 lies. Far beyond any assessment of the 2014 to 2015 deterioration of road & bridge conditions in Michigan – even the totally bogus PASER ratings. Since the $ 2.3 billion (or $ 357 per motorist) 2014 TRIP number didn’t move you to vote for Proposal 1, the new and improved $ 4.8 billion (or $ 686 per motorist) lie is expected to change your mind on Proposal 1. They think you are that dumb.
So is TRIP a “nonprofit transportation research organization”? Sounds like an independent, credible source – right? Do the adjectives ‘nonprofit’ and ‘research’ give you a high level of confidence in their pronouncements? Does ‘organization’ or ‘group’ give you the impression that hundreds of researchers are assessing road conditions across the country? Perhaps you should dig a little deeper than our lazy, lying media scribes.
Wait until you discover zero sales tax dollars goes to roads, and the Education Fund doesn’t mean money going to schools. Enjoy.
Think those additional costs on shipping goods to stores aren’t going to be passed along to you on top of the direct personal hit to the wallet? Better think again about that.
Thanks for voting against this convoluted, Snyder invented perpetual tax hike during the lame duck, Rep. Franz. Also, thanks for being the only Rep. to address this, and the fact there are multiple “Plan B’s” in the works.
And, to you out there who are appalled that Lansing had the audacity to foist this abomination onto us, you better get off your asses and Vote NO on May 5, because the news outlet editorial page propagandists pushing Snyder’s agenda is already ramping up their “it’s all we got” meme as noted here and here.
Remember, requirement is 50% + 1 stinking vote is all it takes to entrench this mess into our constitution.
If you currently pay $100 per month in sales tax, which is the average for median income households in Michigan, you’ll pay an extra $1 per month. Because the sales tax is regressive — it falls disproportionately on the poor — Proposal 1 evens the playing field by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was cut in 2011.
The fuel tax changes will result in an additional 2 to 10 cents per gallon, depending on gas prices. Some of these costs will surely be offset by reduced damage to vehicles as the roads are improved.
Governor Snyder’s FY 2015 Executive Budget projects that Michigan’s current 6% sales tax will collect $ 7.89 billion in FY 2015 on $ 131.5 billion in taxable products. This is $ 797 per year, per Michigan resident. The U.S. Census says that the average Michigan household is composed of 2.53 persons. Thus the current 6% sales tax is projected to collect $ 2,016 per household in FY 2015, or $ 168 per household, per month. Not $ 100 per month.
Looking at FY 2015 as if Proposal 2015-01 was in effect, the 7% sales tax would collect $ 8.5 billion on $ 121 billion in taxable products. Keep in mind that road fuel will no longer be subject to the sales tax, so we have to back out S 10.2 billion in formerly taxable fuel sales on just over 4 billion gallons in road fuel. This is $ 855 per year, per person. Thus the proposed 7 % sales tax would collect $ 2,165 per household in FY 2015, or $ 180 per household, per month.
So the difference is $ 12 per month, per Michigan household. Not MLive’s $ 1 per month fantasy factoid.
Sales Tax Retention on Off-Road Fuel Will Trigger Pandemonium in Michigan's Fuel Distribution Network
As Proposal 2015-01 stands now, ORV operators, snowmobilers, boaters, lawn mowers, generator users, and others purchasing non road use fuels from gas stations will be in violation of PA 167 of 1933, the Michigan sales tax act. The way PA 167 of 1933 is worded, compliance is primarily the responsibility the fuel retailer. However those who, for whatever reason, escape paying the sales tax become liable for the Michigan use tax under PA 94 of 1937. This includes tourists who trailer in fueled boats from out of state. The ‘Amazon tax’ returns with a vengeance in a new guise.
Barring further convoluted legislative action, on October 1st Michigan gas stations will have to collect the 7% sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel sold for any purpose other than propelling a vehicle “used to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads or highways of this state”. Seems simple enough given the electronic calculation capabilities of most modern gas pumps, right? Just push a button and the sales price increases by 7%.
Michigan Triples Down On The Most Abused Federal Program
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released its FY 2014 estimates of improper payments made by the Federal Government in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on Monday. The Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 and the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 require Federal Executive Branch agencies to estimate the levels of improper payments in all Federal programs. The GAO assembles this data and reports the levels of improper payments, along with recommendations to minimize such improper payments.
At the Federal level, all improper payments amounted to about $ 125 billion dollars in FY 2014. Even by casual Federal accounting standards this is breathtaking. Three cents of every Federal Government dollar spent. Going through the GAO’s estimates by program, the Earned Income Tax Credit is at the top of the list by percentage of improper payments: 27.2 % of all EITC payments are improper. The GAO estimated FY 2014 improper EITC payments by the Federal Government alone amounted to $ 17.7 billion dollars. Other Federal programs burned more dollars, but none had the percentage rate of improper payments that the EITC has. Not even close.
The most obscure element of the tax increase package which Michigan voters will be asked to approve on May 5th is Senate Bill 847 of 2014. This bill is a $ 260 million annual increase in the State of Michigan’s version of the EITC. The EITC will increase from its current 6 %, to 20 %, of the Federal EITC credit allowed under Section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code. Currently, the Michigan EITC pays out about $ 80 million from the Michigan Treasury every year at the 6 % rate.
The Michigan Office of the Auditor General released its overdue performance audit of MDoT’s Bridge Inspection Program Friday afternoon, just in time to miss last week’s news cycle. Weekend news reports focused on bridge inspection frequency, but there is a more fundamental question which should be answered first: Are the MDoT bridge records which were audited complete and correct? Even remotely so?
The Federal Highway Administration collects bridge data from the State DoT’s and other sources to create and maintain the National Bridge Inventory. It is supposed to list all American bridges which have roads running across them or below them, along with ownership, identifiers, and condition data. Condition data is given as a number from 0 (failed) through 9 (good beyond current standards). These numbers then get converted into the descriptors you read in the press, such as ‘structurally deficient’, poor, good, etc.
The MOAG performance audit is replete with statistics derived from MDoT’s bridge inventory database which show – no surprise – that some of Michigan’s bridges are in poor shape. You can see MOAG’s statistics as of April 30th, 2014 in the audit or go to a searchable database of individual bridge data across the entire country, as of 2012, brought to us by Alexander Svirsky of MassRoads.com.
A first pass at the MOAG bridge inspection audit involved looking at the worst condition category of bridges, those rated 0 or 1 for failed or imminent failure. Going through the Wayne County owned bridge summary on Page 51 of the new MOAG audit, I was heartened to see that Wayne County has no condition category 0 or 1 bridges. But there are at least two zero condition category major bridges in Wayne County across the Rouge River, so let’s say I am experiencing a little cognitive dissonance just now.