Snyder’s economic reform bluff


ot unexpectedly, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is going to largely get his way.

There are going to be wide ranging economic reforms in Michigan. It’s already started.

We are all going to benefit and things are going to get much, Much, MUCH better with every passing day

Everything is going to be all right ... as long as we keep a positive attitude about things.

Don’t worry. Be happy.

Unfortunately, I simply don’t buy it.

The future may look rosy for some, (some business people for example), but the rose garden is not only thorny, it is going to get considerably thornier in the near future.

There are some who are looking forward to the changes proposed by the governor and largely supported by the legislature — including representatives to the House and Senate from this area.

I, however, am not so confident we’re on the right track.

Consider the facts. The governor keeps talking about reinventing Michigan.

As part of all this “reinventing” he talks about revamping the education system..

He really isn’t “reinventing” much of anything, and he really isn’t coming up with any new ideas for education that haven’t been trotted out by the Devos family and the Mackinac Center For Public Policy since the Engler days.

Snyder says he wants to improve public education.


The plans he and his supporters in Lansing are promoting will simply take a system that has been devastated over the past few years, and devastate that system even further. Just in this area, school districts have cut ... and cut ... and cut expenses even more. Millions of dollars have been hacked and slashed from district budgets and dozens of teachers have been laid off.

That’s how you fix things?

Look, here are the basics of the governor’s tax plan and his school funding reforms. (It all ends up pretty much in the same accounting.)

Snyder, (and his local supporters), desperately want to get rid of the Small Business Tax.

OK. Fine.

In doing so, businesses around the state will be largely freed, (or at least relieved), of their present level of tax responsibility.

This reduced tax burden, the governor and his GOP team claim, will create a new and wonderfully inviting climate encouraging the creation of new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses. This will see rivers of revenue flowing into the state.

That is simply bullwash. It’s economic theory that has never, NEVER been proven to actually work. It’s a Reagan-era gamble Milton Freedman promoted as his pseudo-scientific theory of “trickle down economics.”

Corporate tax breaks will not create jobs in Michigan. Cutting taxes on business is going to do one thing, and one thing alone — create larger profits for companies and corporations.

In the meantime, the tax burden that has been taken off the shoulders of businesses and corporations around the state will need to be redirected somewhere.

It has to be.

We still need to pay for basic services — education, police and fire protection, and others — especially services to the people who need them most and can’t pay for them themselves.

In short, when the tax burden is lifted from one sector, it will need to be placed elsewhere.

Ultimately that will be on the shoulders of middle class taxpayers. All the changes that are slowly but surely taking place will just move the tax burden off employers and onto the back of employees.

Just wait for it.

You see, the theory of “shared responsibility” being touted by the governor and the Republican team is a bluff.

But it is an incredibly effective bluff. The people who will be, or already are being most adversely affected by this tax shift are those who continue to believe the governor is going to really take care of business and turn things around — conservative, middle class Michiganders.

That’s all there is to it.

But back to education, Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, was recently up in his home district saying he came north in order to “listen to the people.”

I gotta say ... either that isn’t quite true, or Phil simply isn’t hearing what I’m hearing.

I’m hearing folks who are very worried about what is happening to local school districts — from administrators, to moms and dads.

I’m hearing folks express concerns over how the most basic programs in public schools are going to be funded for years to come.

I’m hearing real concern at every level of the community.

What the guys in Lansing are saying in response to these expressions of concern is “Voters sent me to Lansing in order to balance the budget.”

No. Actually that response is not accurate at all.

Voters from Osceola and neighboring counties sent representatives to Lansing to represent us.

Not represent the Mackinac Center. Not to represent Dick and Betsy Devos. Not even to represent the GOP.

They were sent to represent us — our communities, and our school districts.

Be honest.

Maybe it’s time to “reinvent” the Michigan GOP, rather than worrying about “reinventing” Michigan.