Friday, October 26, 2007
Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 07:43:48 AM EST
No, you didn't misread the headline. The Democrats in Lansing apparently aren't satisfied with a nearly $1.4 BILLION tax hike and are moving to raise taxes again and to bury them in the "cuts" portion of the 10/1/07 budget agreement.
You'll remember that the Dems agreed to make a few cuts before November 1st. Of course, they haven't. And now word comes that they'd very much like to avoid the cuts when at all possible. According to the Detroit News:
Sources familiar with closed-door negotiations reported advances Thursday, but no final deal on the outstanding sticking points, including privatizing foster care, slicing money from disease prevention programs and raising hunting and fishing license fees.
The governor's office, the Democratic state House and the Republican Senate must agree to an additional $430 million in cuts to balance the state's books and avoid another partial shutdown of government services.
This at the same time that the Governor rejects calls from Congressman Pete Hoekstra to reexamine hundreds of thousands of dollars of new state spending on a turtle fence.
More taxes so that we can buy fences for turtles. Oh, and to pay for special gifts to the city of Detroit. Items like:
$12 million for the Detroit Zoo, $10 million for the Detroit Institute of Arts and $1.9 million for the Detroit Historical Museum.
And on top of it all, we're now only 5 days away from a government shutdown. The second in a month.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I have only had one showing of my house in a month *sigh*
I have decided to take it off the market the end of November, before the holidays and give myself a break
I have worked sooooooooo hard on the presentation of my home, I am beat!
I will re-list in February 2008 and keep it listed until it sells
Hopefully in the early Spring so I will have time to find and buy a rig and a truck to pull it
Speaking of rigs, I will finally have an opportunity to see a
Bigfoot rig (RV) in person!
I am going to a Home Staging training seminar near Chicago the end of the month.
There is a Bigfoot dealer about 1 1/2 hour from where I'll be.
I called him today and he is expecting a 21ft RB in any day, just like the one I want!
Of course I am not gonna buy new although his price of $30,000 is very good for a new Bigfoot
I just want to actually SEE and be IN one!
For those of you unfamiliar with Bigfoot, http://www.bigfootrv.com/ they are a quality built molded fiberglass 4-season rig, very capable of snow camping.
After much researching and thinking about how
I want to camp, its my rig of choice
So I'll go and look, feel and take pictures and KNOW that sometime SOON I'll be in my own Bigfoot, on the road, me & Maddie, apackof2
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Automakers lose millions in refunds
David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp. stands to lose more than $100 million in state refunds under the budget deal approved by Michigan lawmakers early Monday -- in addition to paying tens of millions of dollars in new service taxes.
In all, automakers and Michigan car dealers will lose $350 million in refunds of sales taxes paid on demonstration vehicles and defaulted leases since 1999. The state has not reimbursed the automakers because the issues have been wrapped up in court.
In a pair of rulings earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld two separate decisions awarding the automakers and dealers of hundreds of millions of dollars in back tax refunds. Specifically, automakers and dealers are owed $250.2 million for demonstration vehicles, and $93 million for sales taxes on defaulted leases.
State legislators early Monday rewrote the laws to eliminate the sales tax exemption on demonstration vehicles -- which include vehicles test driven by customers at dealerships and management leases for automakers' white-collar employees -- and to bar automakers from collecting sales tax paid on defaulted leases.
The House Fiscal Agency estimated the loss in future years at about $60 million in annual refunds for the automakers and dealers.
In addition, the Detroit Three automakers stand to pay tens of millions of dollars in new taxes on services, among them consultants and administrative services.
The companies' lobbyists in Lansing privately expressed their unhappiness with several provisions in the budget deal. GM declined to say how much it stood to lose. "We're studying the tax package to better understand its overall effect," said Greg Martin, a GM spokesman.
Ford Motor Co. also said it was studying the budget deal. "We are still studying Michigan's new tax policy in order to understand the full impact it could have on business and manufacturing competitiveness in the state," spokesman Mark Truby said.
Chrysler LLC spokesman Jason Vines said the company supported the budget agreement. "Our tax guys are looking at it. Nobody is in favor of higher taxes but we're glad there's an agreement and the state isn't shut down," Vines said.
Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said it's not uncommon for retroactive tax decisions. She said a meeting was set for later in the week between state officials and automakers and their staff to discuss the ramifications of the new provisions.
"Our administration is very committed to our manufacturing sector and to the Big Three," Boyd said. "We understand there are concerns about the changes in tax policy."
Friday, October 5, 2007
Small business Association of Michigan at 1.800.362.5461
National Federation of Independent Business/Michigan at 517.485.3409
OR Toll Free at 1.866.458.7584
When I talked with both, they are joining together along with other organizations such as Michigan Taxpayers Alliance to fight the obscene Service Tax (list of services taxed at the end of the article).
I truly believe we have a better chance of making this happen as opposed to recalls. Although I am looking and waiting for someone to come up with a viable recall of Queen Jenny.
After all doesn't the buck stop at the top?
Service tax repeal is plotted
Businesses unleash uproar
October 3, 2007
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF
FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU CHIEF
LANSING -- Business groups inflamed by the new sales tax on many services are plotting a campaign to repeal it, just days after it passed.
"There are a lot of discussions going on," said Todd Anderson of the Small Business Association of Michigan.
He said measures include a possible petition drive -- which could place the issue on a statewide ballot -- or merely lobbying the Legislature to rescind or make major changes in the new tax.
The tax on services is a key piece of the state budget deal lawmakers finished early Monday, hours after a deadline passed to shut down state government. It will generate about half the new tax revenues needed to help erase a $1.75-billion deficit.
Legislators closely guarded the list of services under discussion for the service tax until Sunday morning.
The Legislature and Gov. Jennifer Granholm also raised the state income tax from 3.9% to 4.35%.
Charles Owens, state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses/Michigan, said his members are incensed by the new law signed by Granholm to levy a 6% sales tax on a wide array of services. Soon after the new law passed, he said, it became clear the tax would apply to more business services than many first believed.
"We had a meeting with some of our members this morning, and the most-asked question was: 'Where are the recall petitions,' " Owens said, referring to recall campaigns planned against legislators who voted for the tax increases.
The businesses say they fear the tax will raise the price of their services enough to cost them clients who decide to go without the service, such as janitorial, or to change to an out-of-state company that might avoid the tax.
The tax is especially onerous, they say, in business-to-business transactions, where the cost could be passed on through several businesses and ultimately to consumers.
LIST OF SERVICES TAXED 6%
Astrology,Baby shoe bronzing,Bail bonding,Balloon-o-grams,Coin-operated blood pressure testing machine services,Bondspersons,Check room services,Coin-operated personal service machines,Comfort station operation services,Concierge services,Consumer-buying services,Credit card notification services,Dating services,Discount buying services,Social escort services,Fortune-telling services,Genealogical investigation services,House-sitting services,Social introduction services,Coin-operated rental locker services,Numerology services,Palm-reading services,Party-planning services,Pay telephones,Personal fitness trainers,Personal shopping services,Coin-operated photographic machine services,Phrenology services,Porters,Psychic services,Rest-room operation services,Shoeshines,Singing telegrams,House-sitting services,Wedding chapel services,Wedding planners,Consulting (including lobbying),Tanning,Escort services,Massage,Administrative services (like payroll),Investment advising,Janitorial,Armored cars,Private investigators,Packaging and labeling,Landscaping, Skiing,Business service centers,Carpet and upholstery cleaners,Couriers and messengers,Document preparation services,(Tax preparations, wills, buying selling real estate, etc),Self-storage,Transit and ground passenger services,Office administration,Travel agents,Scenic transportation Service contracts,Interior design Tour operators Warehousing and storage
Monday, October 1, 2007
Deal is 'right solution for Michigan,' Granholm says
October 1, 2007
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF, DAWSON BELL AND ZACHARY GORCHOW
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
UPDATED AT 5:20 A.M.: LANSING – The shutdown of state government was halted early this morning when the Senate voted to expand the 6% sales tax to various services, the final major piece of a plan to erase a $1.75-billion deficit and balance a 2007-08 budget.
Democrat Lt. Gov. John Cherry cast the deciding vote for a 20-19 tally, the minimum needed for passage of an historic budget agreement that stopped what would have been a chaotic and embarrassing interruption of state services.
Three of 21 Republicans voted for the sales tax change, and only one of 17 Democrats opposed it.
“This budget agreement is the right solution for Michigan,” Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a news release after the vote. “We prevented massive cuts to public education, health care and public safety while also making extensive government reforms and passing new revenue. With the state back on solid financial footing, we can turn our focus to the critical task of jumpstarting our economy and creating new jobs.”
The vote came about 4 a.m., about three hours after the House and Senate voted to raise the 3.9% income tax rate to 4.35%, and approved controversial changes in school employee health insurance and pensions benefits aimed at reducing state costs.
The Senate vote to raise the income tax was also 20-19, with Cherry as the tie-breaker.
The two votes triggered a 30-day interim state budget which Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she would sign – if coupled with a tax increase – to avert a shutdown.
Granholm said 35,000 state workers threatened with temporary layoffs would be told to report to work this morning at their regular work times.
The votes concluded an epic, 17-day struggle over taxes and the size and importance of state government, as the Legislature met in numerous late-night sessions with no results.
Democratic leaders hailed the approved plan as a responsible compromise, while Republicans decried it as a massive tax on Michigan’s struggling taxpayers.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, had held out for a smaller tax hike and bigger spending cuts. He said he was disappointed at the final outcome, but said some spending reforms were enacted that would reduce the cost to taxpayers over the long haul.
In the end, Bishop said, Granholm and Democrats who control the House were able to flex their political will for the tax increases.
He said work would begin now to cut $435 million from state spending and produce a permanent 2007-08 budget.
“Our members are going to work hard to make this the best state to work, live and raise a family,” Bishop said.
The tax increases will generate $1.35 billion in additional revenue for the state, with the promise of $435 million in spending cuts.
Those cuts will be decided in the next month, as the Legislature determines spending for public schools and the state’s 19 departments.
The flurry of final votes late Sunday night and early this morning capped yet another marathon session in a tumultuous two-and-a-half weeks.
Late Sunday, the Democrat-controlled House passed a bill to raise the state income tax from 3.9% to 4.35% by a 57-52 vote with just two Republicans — Chris Ward of Brighton and Ed Gaffney of Grosse Pointe Farms — voting for it. Only three Democrats — Lisa Wojno of Warren, Martin Griffin of Jackson and Mike Simpson of Liberty Township near Jackson — voted against it.
Gaffney said he is “not happy with what I did,” but it needed to be done to “break the logjam and put us on a course to keep government open.”
House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, criticized the votes to raise the income tax and extend the sales tax on services.
"This was vote for bureaucracy and special interests,"DeRoche said."This is one of the largest spending sprees in Michigan history, it is a 10% increase in the size of the bureaucracy.
He added, "We stood on principle to cut and reform and have the state live within its means, like working families have to live within their means."
Granholm and her fellow Democrats argued more revenue is needed to head off deep cuts to schools and state services for health and public safety.
House Speaker Andy Dillon said the House had done its part to solve the $1.75-billion deficit, putting the issue in the Republican-controlled Senate’s hands.
Asked why the House couldn’t have approved a $1.35-billion tax increase — the size of the income and sales tax increases the House approved Sunday night — weeks ago, Dillon replied: “It’s a nature of the legislative body to wait till the last second the make tough decision.”
Will the last one out of Michigan please turn out the lights?
Republicans who controlled the Senate de-cried it but in the end helped to pass it
Republicans who voted for Queen Jenny's Tax Increases
Income Tax Increase - Was 3.9%; Now will be 4.35%
* Patricia Birkholz - Saugatuck * Tom George - Portage * Ron Jelinek - Three Oaks * Gerald VanWoerkom - Norton Shores
* Chris Ward - Brighton * Ed Gafney - Grosse Pointe
Sales Tax Extension to Several ServicesState Senate:
* Wayne Kuipers - Holland * Ron Jelinek - Three Oaks * Valde Garcia - Howell