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Issue Position: Economics

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Politicians in Lansing are working to raise the state income tax as I write this. That is awful news for Michiganders because a tax increase will prolong and deepen our one-state recession.

Michigan's problem is not too few taxes; it is an over abundance of government.

We know this because:

1) Our state university system has ridden roughshod over taxpayers. Their administrators have groveled before the legislature incessantly. When they did not receive every penny they wanted, they raised tuition on students and their families. Freshmen at Central Michigan University will be paying 21% more than they would have had they entered the previous year.

I BELIEVE state universities should be brought under one board of regents so that they compete against each other and not the taxpayers. Currently, 15 separate boards of trustees govern our 15 state universities. This leads to unnecessary duplication of programs and waste. Our university system's spending practices have not been audited since the 1980's.

Furthermore, the schools buck the law. They are supposed to be asking permission from the legislature when they undertake any building project worth more than $1 million. THEY DON'T. Administrators should be held accountable and reprimanded for this.

If university presidents and their boards cannot get spending under control, they should be removed.

ALSO, the universities have not adjusted to the Michigan economy. They turn out many more teachers than Michigan schools can hire and too few nurses!

Michiganders deserve more from our public universities.

2) When the state legislature eliminated the Single Business Tax, it took a half step in the right direction. The SBT punished businesses for existing. The new Michigan Business Tax punishes them for investing in their future and making money. Under the MBT businesses still pay the personal property tax. A ball and chain on businesses, the personal property tax increases when businesses buy newer equipment or attempt to upgrade. So, when a business tries to become more competitive, Michigan's government impedes the business' efforts.

One businessman from Hopkins recently told me that he paid $25,000 to the state last year in personal property taxes. We have big government politicians complaining that Michigan does not have enough jobs that offer healthcare benefits. At the same time, we have the state taking $25,000 from businesses for expanding. That money could buy good healthcare coverage for several employees.

3) Prevailing wage laws must go! A classic example of government being the problem and not the solution is shown through Michigan's prevailing wage laws. These laws force construction and similar companies to pay workers more than the market rate for their labor when working on public projects. This bill is passed on to the taxpayer. One school district in west Michigan that recently built a new school is estimated to have paid $2.5 million more than they would have without prevailing wage laws.

Even worse, prevailing wage is an accounting nightmare. When a business works on a project but that project crosses a county line, its owner has to pay his or her workers on a different scale based on the county. There are 83 different counties in Michigan.

As over-burdened as Michigan taxpayers are, they cannot afford to be over-paying for public projects.

I support the Fair Tax plan that will eliminate personal income tax and the personal property tax. Currently, residents in seven U.S. states benefit from not having to pay state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. Two states, Tennessee and New Hampshire, tax only dividend and interest income. All of these states have more economic growth and lower unemployment than Michigan. In fact, the only state with a lower growth rate than Michigan is Louisiana. Louisiana's problem was a natural disaster. Michigan's problems are man-made.

Ronald Reagan told us "government is not the solution, it's the problem." This has never been more evident or more damaging than here and now in Michigan. We need serious change in the very structure of the Michigan government, and with a Genetski in the state house, we will get that change that will turn around our economy.

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