Governor Whitmer’s, Lower MI Cost Plan, to put money back in the pockets of Michiganders, has run headlong into, 6 of one, Republican lies, and half dozen of the other, half-truths; a la George Santos. Republican legislators claim that the 2015 law that they passed under Governor Snyder says that the $9 billion dollar state budget surplus requires a permanent cut in the state income tax from 4.25 percent, to 4.05 percent. They also claim that Whitmer’s one-time, $180 rebate to tax payers, is nothing more than a slick accounting trick, to disperse the surplus, and prevent the permanent income tax cut from taking effect.
The surplus is a result of $9 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds that Republican lawmakers at every level refused to spend for its intended purposes and has nothing to do with the over collection of income tax revenues. The Republican dominated Livingston County board of commissioners declined millions in federal funds, and did not spend the money intended for the county. Chairman of the board of commissioners, Wes Nakagiri, told me personally, by phone, after Joe Biden took office in 2021, “We don’t need the money, COVID is over,” leaving millions of your federal tax dollars on the table.
Further, Republicans claim that the proposal to eliminate the income tax on pensions unfairly applies only to public, and not private, pensions. The half-truth of the matter is that while Whitmer’s plan does call for a full income tax exemption for public pensions, and a modest exemption for private pensions, we must also account for the fact that recipients of public pensions are subject to a two-thirds reduction in social security benefits, whereas the private pension recipients may collect the full benefit. The average difference amounts to more than $15,000 per year in favor of the private pensioner. Republicans insist that government shouldn’t pick winners and losers. Why then should the state offer the same income tax exemption to private pensioners, who already enjoy an advantage in collecting a government benefit?
Governor Whitmer’s plan to rebate $180 of the state’s surplus to each and every taxpayer, amounts to returning the Republican legislature’s misappropriation of their federal tax dollars directly to them. If in truth, this were not the case, we must come to the inescapable conclusion that the previous Republican legislature over-collected income tax revenues by $9 billion, and did not use these revenues to fix the roads, adequately fund the schools, nor upgrade Michigan’s seriously outdated water management system, among many other grossly negligent fiscal policies. What we are learning for certain is that George Santos is the poster boy for the veracity of Republican information; they are reliable only in the sense that we know that whatever they tell us is not the truth, the half-truth, and is nothing but the lie, so help them God!
By Paul W. Richardson, Brighton, MI
Published Feb. 19, 2023, Fowlerville News and Views