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.
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