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February 02, 2007

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Mr, Lessenberry, you have advocated higher taxes (among other things) in response to Michigan's budget woes, and I agree with you. But how about being more specific? Why not a *progressive* income tax instead of one rate for all? This past summer the Grand Rapids Press reported record numbers of million-dollar homes sold in Michigan this year; evidently some in Michigan are doing well. I personally would be willing to pay higher taxes, but I think the burden should be distributed more fairly. (Perhaps you have already addressed this; I don't catch your show every day.)

Easy there tax raising liberals. I guess if we really had a crisis I'd agree with you. What we have instead is a failure to really address serious problems. The state has about a $40 Billion budget, and the only part that is short funded, (really short funded) is the part that is discretionary spending by lawmakers. That amounts to about $8 billion. Jack you brought up a great point this week or last about corrections spending and mandatory minimums, great points all that most believe would cut $500 million. The school aide fund may be short but if anyone can seriously argue against reforms to MESSA and teacher retirments (for new teachers!) is just not paying attention. There is no crisis there is simply an unwillingness to to look at, and these that I've mentioned are, long term reforms, instead of one time fixes. Tax increases are fine, so long as we look at the problems first. Finally anyone who knows about the constitution knows that any increase to the sales tax would have most of the revenue go to the school aide fund...hmmm let's call it what it is, sorry this is a shell game, and we're not seriously debating it, in Lansing or here in this blog.

There certainly is a weird disjoint between the acknowledgment of "cause" and "effect" with respect to the issues of taxation, public spending, and public education in the state of Michigan.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial page reported on BLS statistics that indicated Metro Detroit teachers were among the best paid in the nation. Better than other teachers in the United States. Better than workers in other industries in metro Detroit.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009612

The City of Detroit, unlike most other cities in Michigan, has a city income tax to produce more city-government revenue. If the notion is, "more money for teachers means better schools, and better schools means a better economy," then someone needs to explain the City of Detroit. More money for its teachers, and the teachers' union and teachers' pension funds and teachers' health care costs, does not seem to have translated into "better education" or "better schools" in the City of Detroit. And the high-tax and high-spending Detroit city government apparently hasn't translated into a better economy for the City of Detroit. Is this the desired model for the rest of Michigan?

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