Friday, October 30, 2009

Governor Granholm to Appear in Saginaw Monday, November 2

The governor has been traveling the state, visiting local school districts, reportedly working to build support for tax increases. For some reason, she has not been asking the general public to attend and participate in the meetings. As taxpayers, you have a right to voice your opinion in a respectful manner.

Your next opportunity will reportedly be at the Saginaw ISD Transition Center, at 3860 Fashion Square Boulevard in Saginaw at 9:30 a.m. Here is a map.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cropsey Killed it...Dead. How about a "fist pump" for Alan!

You heard about HB 5386, the physician's tax. An ill-conceived idea to impose a 3 percent gross revenue tax on doctors. It came out of the House; it was a scheme to create more revenue. It was a bad idea, but the Dems had the votes to move it out of the House to the Senate.

It sat in committee for awhile, but Senator Alan Cropsey motioned for a discharge of the bill so it could be voted on immediately. He didn't do this because he wanted it to pass. He did it to make a point that this was such a bad idea, virtually no one would support it. He was right. The vote tally was 4 (YES) to 32 (NO). Why not send a thank you note to Senator Cropsey?

Oh, by the way, the four Senators who voted YES?
Cherry (D) Prusi (D) Switalski (D) Thomas (D)

Is This the Future of Our Seniors?

Should Federal ARRA (stimulus) Funds be Used for Job Training? Nancy Cassis Doesn't Think So.

Senator Ron Jelinek introduced SB 608, which was used to appropriate $38 million in federal stimulus dollars to a state-run jobs program. It passed the Senate 34-2 and is now in the House for consideration. One might ask, "If education is being shorted, and needs more funding, why not put the $38 million there? Or another might ask, "Why are we using one-time dollars this way? What will hapen next year?" Senator Nancy Cassis, one of the two NO votes had some very good questions as well. Here is a look into the debate from the Senate floor. These are her words from the Senate Journal:

Senator Cassis, under her constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 608.
"On a very important issue, I would like to express my “no” vote on Senate Bill No. 608. As you know, Senate Bill No. 608 is a supplemental, and it allows for ARRA money to be used toward job training. In as much as it is only one-time money, that raises concerns on its own. I would like to add that it is very interesting that, just within the last few days, DELEG, who oversees the job training programs and workforce training programs in our state, conveniently released a report. On the surface, it looks very optimistic that 72 percent of all the job training activities between August 2007 and February 2009 that job placement has been at a record rate of 72 percent. Again, that is very optimistic, and we hope it is accurate. I would then really suggest and recommend that this report be backed up by an objective investigation with specific, supportive references in order to verify the claims that are being made.

Further, I would recommend that our Auditor General actually become involved and do an audit of the workforce training programs and No Worker Left Behind. Up until now, there has been no realistic evaluation measurement of these programs. Included in here, as you may remember, are dollars for film training in the film industry. As you know, we are seeing certain promises about jobs coming from those training programs actually fall through...we hope these job training programs really will result in jobs because all of those people who are expecting to have employment deserve to have that expectation realized.

I raise these issues, and again, I am going to ask that the Auditor General very shortly investigate this whole arena."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Large Majority Says "Cut Spending!"

I started an online poll about a week ago. The one-question poll asked, "Should we raise taxes or cut spending?" The feedback was interesting. At first, there was an overwhelming onslaught of votes to cut spending. Then, I noticed a huge turnout of "raise taxes." Upon evaluation of the votes, I discovered that a few individuals were "stuffing" the ballot box with votes to raise taxes, literally every five seconds.

So, I added an element to the poll. Respondents were required to leave their e-mail addresses. Suddenly the results changed. The final tally was 1651 to cut spending vs. 1211 to raise taxes. But among those willing to leave their e-mail address, the tally was 310 for "cut spending" and 2 for "raise taxes."

The taxpayers who are willing to put their name on the line say, "cut spending."

Right to Work: It's Time, Michigan!

Right to Work simply means you don't have to be a member of a union if you don't want to be. The Mackinac Center has an excellent FAQ about RTW you can read here.

Senator Nancy Cassis has introduced SB 945, a local right-to-work bill that allows local municipalities to create right-to-work zones. Don't expect it to go anywhere in the legislature, not enough courage, too many lawmakers beholding to the unions.

Read an excellent essay from the Mackinac Center here.

Do you think Michigan should be a right-to-work state? Vote here.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard Coming to Center Right November 12

Center Right meets again Thursday, November 12, 9:30 a.m. in Lansing. Mike Bouchard will be headlining our list of guests. For event details and registration go here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are We About to Lose Our Sovereignty?

(From Wikipedia) Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (born 14 February 1952) is a British politician, business consultant, policy adviser, writer, columnist, inventor and hereditary peer. He served as an advisor to Margaret Thatcher's policy unit in the 1980s. More recently, he has attracted controversy for his public opposition to the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

This is an excerpt from a speech he gave 14 October, 2009.
Here is an interview he did on Glenn Beck recently.

Get the Unvarnished Truth at 95.3 FM

You want to hear local commentary on the issues of the day? May I suggest WBCK, 95.3 FM from 9 until 10 in the morning. "Renk" rells it like it is. His show originates from Battle Creek and can be heard throughout southwest Michigan. Learn more here.

It was from a listener to his show that I first received the recording of George Cushingberry in his now famous "rant". Thanks, Renk, for "keeping it real."

Read the "Renk and File" blog here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meet the Governor in YOUR District...Maybe

Governor Granholm is making the rounds of local school districts, ostensibly to discuss funding issues. She will be at Rochester Community Schools Administration Building, 501 W. University, (1/2 mile west of Rochester Rd.) at 1:45 p.m. Monday. The only problem is, these meetings seem to be by invitation only.

You might want to show up anyway and respectfully ask the governor to let you into the meeting to offer your input, since it's YOUR tax dollars, and YOUR district, and YOUR kids.

As we fnd out other locations where she will be appearing, we will let you know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Could We be Approaching Another Giant Tax Hike?

We are getting very close to another tax hike vote in the legislature. The governor is playing 'chicken' with lawmakers. She is now encouraging the education lobby to push for tax hikes to increase spending on public education. Will we see the legislature hold firm on the balanced budget they have already passed, or will they buckle under the demands of the governor for more taxes?

If it comes to that, what would be your preference? Take the online poll here. It's only one question. Results will be posted in a few days.

Jim Slezak and Paul Scott: Champions for the Cause

"Many candidates campaign on being pro-life, but we're actually doing something about it. I'm immensely proud to help lead this groundbreaking effort to truly protect the sanctity of life," Rep. Paul Scott (R) Grand Blanc.

Kudos to Reps. Paul Scott and Jim Slezak, chief sponsor of HJR II, to amend the Michigan Constitution to define life as beginning at fertilization, establish life as an essential right, and require the legislature to pass laws to enforce this. Read the resolution here. The bill has 23 sponsors so far, but I would hope that every pro-life legislator in the House would sign on.

Rep. Cushingberry Rant

House Appropriations Chairman, George Cushingberry, the man responsible for driving the budget in the House is getting a little tired of calls from taxpayers asking him to hold the line on spending and taxes. Maybe "a little tired" is an understatement.

Reach Chairman Cushingberry here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Congressman Mike Rogers Speaks Truth in Committee Hearing

Here is a three minute, 49 second You Tube of Mike Rogers telling it like it is. If only the rest of the arrogant members of Congress would listen to the taxpayers of this it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grebner on Granholm: "The Lamest of Lame Ducks."

Mark Grebner is the president of Practical Political Consulting, a voter list and consulting firm which works mostly for Democrats in Michigan. In recent years, the firm has been expanding its operations to include Wisconsin. He was recently quoted as saying: "There's no upside or downside with Gov. Jennifer Granholm," Grebner said. "She's not some sort of power that needs to be dealt with. She's the lamest of the lame ducks. As far as I know there's nothing left for her to run for.

"It would be sort of like asking if something is good for the health of a dead person," Grebner continued. "I don't know of anything she'd be running for and after something like 43 times, she hasn't been offered a post she'd accept in the Obama administration. I mean about all that's left is vice regent to Seychelles."
C'mon, Mark, ease up a little, will ya?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Al Gore Gets Hung Out to Dry...How Inconvenient

A journalist who recently made a movie exposing at least nine falsehoods in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" had an opportunity to ask Mr. Gore a very simple and straightforward question. Watch him stammer, squirm and equivocate here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Regulation Brought to You by Lawmakers in Lansing

Here is language from a bill (HB5499) introduced by Rep. Coleman Young:

If you are a realtor, I guess you will no longer be allowed to give the key to the termite inspector or contractor to do a few repairs, or the Molly Maid, or the carpet cleaner.. You will have to go with him and...waste your time.

Government loves to protect you.

State Rep. Justin Amash: "Legislature Broken."

Tom Gantert from Reporting Michigan has posted a great story about a recent forum where Rep. Amash made some enlightening remarks. Read it here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are Public Education Lobbyists Funded by Taxpayers?

Bob Jackson suggests in his comment on facebook that the MEA and other education lobbyists are financed by PACs not taxpayers.

That is the whole point of Tom McMillin's transparency amendment to the school aid fund budget. Every district will have to report how much they spend out of their budget on lobbying. If Mr. Jackson is correct, we will know. Incidentally, here is an article from the Mackinac Center that sheds some light on the subject.

I encourage anyone with evidence to prove or disprove whether lobbyists for public education are funded with tax dollars to post their information.

Remember what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said: "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

McMillin Gets Transparency in School Budgets

Congratulations to State Rep. Tom McMillin. Since taking office in January, he has been pushing for more transparency in state budgets. (Right now, it is virtually impossible to get any details on how your tax dollars are being spent.)

If you have been following the news, you know that the School Aid budget, that $13 billion behemoth, was the last budget to be resolved. It looks like that has finally happened. The great news is that there will not be any tax increases to pay for the budget, so far. On top of that, Tom McMillin's transparency components will be included in the budget, at least for this year. The following requirements will be written into the School Aid Fund budget for each district this year:

  • Annual operating budget(s).
  • Personnel expenditures, including salaries, wages, and employee benefit costs and retirement benefit costs.
  • All other district expenditures, including instruction, support services, business and administration, and operations and maintenance.
  • Current collective bargaining agreement for each bargaining unit.
  • Each health care benefits plan offered to any bargaining unit or employee in the district.
  • Audit for the most recent fiscal year available.
  • Total salary and a description and cost of each fringe benefit included in the compensation package for the superintendent and for each employee whose salary exceeds $100,000.
  • Annual amount spent on dues paid to associations.
  • Annual amount spent on lobbying or lobbying services.
Way to go, Tom!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Bill That Makes Government Smaller!

LANSING --It’s being called the “Fuzzy Dice Bill”. While state lawmakers are waiting for a budget deal to be hatched, the Senate Transportation Committee passed out Senate Bill 276, legislation that would modify a state law regarding obstructed driving. It repeals the section that bans objects hanging from your rear view mirror. Hey, it's about personal responsibility!

So, get out that graduation tassel, air freshener or Mardi Gras beads! They may become legal again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gridlock in Lansing. It's Getting Worse. Much Worse.

MIRS reported that there was an agreement between the Senate and the House on the K-12 budget, only to update the story 40 minutes later to say there was no agreement. You are seeing the collision of the "irresistible force and the immovable object." (Those who WILL NOT vote to raise taxes and those who will do whatever is neccessary to keep the K-12 budget intact.) Will there be a breakthrough?

So far, Mike Bishop and the Senate Republicans have held firm on not raising taxes, but the MEA is NOT about to back down. The first payment is due to the schools on October 20. Stay tuned, this battle may continue to the end of October. It might be worse than 2007.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

House Democrats Vote To Raise Your Taxes

Here is a press release from Bill Rogers, Rep. from Livingston County.

Tonight, Lawmakers Penalize Taxpayers, Business Owners and Doctors

I am outraged that tonight, the House Democrats pushed through a series of tax increases on Michigan residents and job providers in order to balance the state's budget, while stalling for the last nine months!

In bills ultimately approved by the Democrat-led state House, the proposals raise taxes by almost $400 million, including the elimination of $116 million in Michigan Business Tax credits that Livingston County businesses have been utilizing, a new health care tax, and the elimination of a scheduled $100 increase in per person deduction for state income taxes.

It is unbelievable to me that we even considered tax increases when Michigan families and businesses already took a massive hit in 2007 with an income tax increase and a massive 23% surcharge tax added onto the new Michigan Business Tax (MBT). To bring up tax increases at the 11th hour under the cover of darkness is a stunning breach of the public trust. We had a bi-partisan, signed agreement to balance the state's budget without raising taxes, and now the Democrats have broken that deal!

To end a government shutdown in 2007, Democrats proposed and pushed through a $1.4 billion tax increase, one of the largest ever in Michigan's history. Since that time, Michigan's unemployment rate has more than doubled. The state is facing a $3 billion shortfall for the current fiscal year it is working on and is already facing a projected $1.4 billion shortfall for the following fiscal year!!!

We must balance the state's budget without relying on Michigan residents and business owners to send more of their hard-earned money to Lansing. I am embarrassed that the House Leadership continues to pass the buck on Michigan's future instead of making the tough decisions that need to be made.

We MUST look at making the structural reforms now if we ever want to get our state back on track financially and economically.

All taxes bills passed by the Michigan House must now be approved by the Michigan Senate and signed by the Governor. To see how your Legislator voted on these tax increases, please visit

MAIN PHONE LINE: (517) 373-1784
DIRECT PHONE LINE: (517) 373-8005

Reublicans Hold Together on Taxes. Offer Reforms. Rejected by the Democrats.

This is From a Press Release Issued by the Republican Caucus.
House Republicans today decried the move by House Democrats to raise taxes by nearly $400 million on Michigan families and job-providers, and issued warnings on the effects the taxes will have on Michigan's economy.

"On a day when the Washington Post predicts Michigan will lose a million jobs during Granholm's tenure, we should be doing everything possible to prove them wrong - not help the prediction become reality," said House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer. "A tax increase sends the wrong message not only to Michigan families and Michigan businesses, but to job-providers looking to come to our state.

"This is exactly what Democrats did in 2007 - they raised the state sales tax without public input, at the last minute and behind locked doors, taking Michigan down the path from 7 percent unemployment to 15.2 percent. We simply can't afford another doubling of the unemployment rate."

Elsenheimer also noted that the Democrats had to lock the members onto the House floor, for their tax votes to be approved. The Democrat tax increases were narrowly approved, with bipartisan opposition on all tax increases.

The House Republican caucus offered 15 amendments that provide serious reforms for state government. Republican cost-saving reforms include:

· Eliminating lifetime benefits for lawmakers;

· Stopping job-killing actions by the Department of Environmental Quality;

· Freezing the Earned Income Tax Credit at 2009 levels;

· Rooting out unemployment fraud;

· Encouraging local government consolidation of services;

· Allowing school districts flexibility in designing student curriculums; and

· Improving transparency by creating a Web site that details every dollar of state government spending.

"Democrats knew the public support for tax increases simply wasn't there, especially in the absence of real government reforms," Elsenheimer said. "There are better options - target agreements have already been reached to balance the budget without raising taxes. It couldn't be more clear that our state has a leadership problem, not a revenue problem."

Send a Thank You to Rick Jones

Rep. Jones Asks Caucus to Stand Strong

Even though the odds may be against them, Rep. Rick Jones today urged his House Republican colleagues to stand strong against new tax increases. There are 67 House Democrats in the state House, and only 43 Republicans.

But Jones said much like the Spartans in the movie "300," House Republicans have become stronger than their actual numbers because they are standing together for Michigan residents. Jones placed a "300" Spartan battle helmet on his desk as symbolism of standing strong. It sits on desk number #1 (Jones's desk) and all lawmakers view it as they go in and out of caucus.

"Although the Democrats have a clear majority in the Michigan House, it's becoming more and more apparent that Republicans have brought more lawmakers to the fight against new taxes," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Rep. Jones asked his colleagues to remain strong against tax increases proposed today by House Democrats.

"In 2007, Governor Granholm got new taxes and stated that no more would be needed. She promised reforms. Those reforms have not taken place. Stand strong and vote NO on more taxes."

While Granholm had a private meeting today with Democrat House members, the Republican caucus also met.

Reach Rep. Rick Jones here.

TAX ALERT! House Moving Huge Tax Increase Today!

The House Tax Policy Committee was called into special session today. Meanwhile the House Chamber was locked down. All members are required to stay until the Speaker releases them. Following is the latest intel we have on what is being offered:
  • 15 percent in MBT tax "expenditure cuts" raising $116.1 million
  • Other tobacco products tax, $41 million
  • Extend bar hours of operation, $13.7 million
  • Personal exemption index freeze $55 million
  • Physician tax of 3 percent to leverage more federal Medicaid dollars, $52.5 million
Now is the time to spring into action once again. Call your State Representative NOW. Don't call Senators yet. If these increases get through the House, they will go to the Senate next; that is when you should call the Senate. Find your State Representative here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The taxpayers are winning! Not even Dems want to vote for taxes.

Here is a report from MIRS:

Do not expect a vote on revenue increases (a.k.a. tax hikes) in the House as part of the immediate budget solution for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, House Speaker Andy DILLON (D-Redford Twp.) told reporters this evening.

Amid speculation that Dillon simply can't get enough votes in his 67-member caucus for even relative moderate tax hikes, the Speaker said the problem was the five-day rule, a Constitutional provision that states all bills that initially pass the House must sit in the Senate before they are acted upon.

They just adjourned for the day. They will reconvene in 5 minutes.

They just passed a continuation budget on K-12

Keeping spending on k-12 at 2009 levels, which should be unconstitutional because they don't have the money.

So it's midnight and the state is closed for business, right?

WRONG. They stopped the clock on the House wall. It says 11:53 pm.