When Republicans won everything in Michigan last year, they were supposed to put an end to tax increases forever.
Well, that lasted until Gov. Rick Snyder came up with his budget that taxes pensions (sorry, Grandma), eliminates the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income working folks and freezes the income tax at 4.25 percent instead of gradually rolling it back to 3.9 percent.
But here’s something that really gets at the heart of their movement. Republicans have figured out that by inserting a $100 spending appropriation in tax-hiking bills, they can avoid voters putting the plan up for a referendum.
Wow. That doesn’t seem to respect the Tea Partiers’ agenda of less spending, less government and less taxes. And it seems to be a big kiss-off to taxpaying voters who might not agree with their policies and want to take action.
From the Daily Tribune:
Fair or not, if there’s one element of Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget that’s promising to be a tough sell, it’s taxing the public and private pensions of retirees.
A $900 million revenue generator, it’s a big piece of balancing the governor’s budget in light of other proposals to cut taxes for Michigan businesses.
The heat on lawmakers in Lansing is increasing by seniors and social organizations, who say it’s unfair to add taxes to seniors while cutting government services and taxes on businesses.
The governor argues that taxing public and private pensions is fair because the state’s population is aging and the state is among the most generous toward its retirees in terms of taxation.
Opponents of the proposed tax on pensions plan to rally at the state Capitol from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, with speakers between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“We don’t think it’s fair the governor increases tax on seniors and the poor while giving breaks to business and cutting services,” said Mark Horbeck, of AARP Michigan, a sponsor of the rally. “Seniors and the working poor are going to be asked to pay more taxes. What do they get in return? Less services and a business tax cut.”
Other groups expected to attend include the Michigan League for Human Services and the state employee retirement association, as well as lawmakers from both parties, said Horbeck, though he declined to name the lawmakers.
AARP is one of the sponsors of the rally, but the rally was really the brainchild of Mary Lee Woodward of Oxford, a General Motors retiree who launched a Facebook page to protest the proposed tax.
“She started it on Facebook and it started to multiply,” Horbeck said.
More than 95,000 people have viewed her Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the Michigan Democratic Party has launched an online petition against the governor’s budget proposal.
“Voters are seeing through the Republican rhetoric and realize this budget is balanced on the backs of seniors, kids, middle-class families, and low-wage workers all to pay for a nearly $2 billion tax cut to special interests like big corporations, big banks, CEOs, and insurance companies,” party Chairman Mark Brewer said in a statement late Thursday.
The online petition is at www.michigandems.com.
Republicans control both the House and the Senate, and Democrats have lined up against the governor’s tax proposals.
State Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, sits on both the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will deal with both Snyder’s tax proposals and spending plans.
He says it’s too early to tell whether taxing pensions is an idea that will eventually pass the Legislature.