Today the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance was VERY busy. Crews were dropping literature all day in state Rep. Dick Ball’s district in Owosso, Perry and Durand that informed voters of Rep. Ball’s support for a 15% hike in the state income tax.

At the same time, the MTA’s giant pig statue, Mr. Perks, was parked right in front of the State Capitol Building most of the day with a message painted on his side saying, “NO to Rep. Ball’s Tax Hike!”. Mr. Perks was widely viewed by lawmakers, lobbyists and media.

Why was Mr. Perks parked in front of the Capitol all day? Because today is the day that the state House was supposed to vote on the proposed income tax hike.

In anticipation of the vote, the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance launched over 50,000 “robo-calls” into the districts of Republican House members yesterday to alert citizens that their legislator was getting pressure from the Governor to support the tax hike. The calls encouraged the citizens to call their legislator and express their opinion on the tax increase. The calls were VERY effective, as on state Rep. informed a Lansing reporter that he had received over 300 calls from citizens opposed to the tax hike. Several of my former colleagues called me to ask me to stop the calls and wanted me to know that they would oppose the tax increase. Channel 4 News WDIV in metro Detroit did a great story on the robo-calls and how they were working in the Grosse Pointe district of Rep. Ed Gaffney. I saw Rep. Gaffney today when I was walking into the Capitol. He wasn’t happy.

Tomorrow, another 50,000 robo-calls will be launched to inform the voters in 10 key Democratic House members districts of the pending tax hike.

I say “pending” because after a very long House session that lasted until around 11:00pm, the House passed a replacement to the Single Business Tax instead, leaving a vote on the income tax for another day. The SBT replacement had already been voted on in the House previously and tonight’s vote was more symbolic and procedural than anything else. The SBT replacement that was passed, called the Michigan Business Tax or MBT takes exactly as much money out of Michigan’s economy as the hated SBT did. The Senate replacement of the SBT is a net $400 million tax cut. Of course the best solution to the SBT’s elimination is to “replace” the “lost” government revenue with spending cuts and watch Michigan’s economy grow again.

Replacing the SBT, however is the under card. The big battle is the income tax or sales tax hike. The MTA will continue to make citizens aware of what their lawmaker is doing on this issue through literature drops, phone calls and media.

Keep the calls going to your state representative. Rumor is that they might meet through the weekend trying to get the votes for the income tax hike.

Leon Drolet
Michigan Taxpayers Alliance