Here are 3 proposals to fix roads without making budget cuts

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

Taxes for roadsI’ve long maintained that the two most important purposes of government are to solve problems and to be a fair referee in the public arena. Unfortunately, our Confederacy of Dunces in the State Legislature do neither.

The most recent failure has been lawmakers’ inability to craft a viable plan to pay for our crumbling roads and infrastructure. They frittered away time and taxpayers’ money recently at the posh Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island by just showing up, yakking, not solving the obvious problem and apparently preparing to beat up on the poor again.

According to MLive.com, in the wake of the massive defeat at polls May 5 of a sales tax hike proposal, “State House Republicans have been pursuing an alternative plan, proposing a $1.05 billion package that largely depends on existing revenues, potential budget cuts and elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Budget cuts probably will affect public schools, a good chunk of state lawmakers’ “Starve the Beast” strategy. And eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit is very simply cruel toward the working poor. Both are more likely once again to hurt rather than help.

I’m not a state legislator, but I have a couple of plans I guarantee would solve this problem, which is fueled by a lack of state revenue to cover public needs. My proposal is threefold:

  • I suggest we restore the state income tax to 4.6% for households that bring in at least $100,000 annually. The 4.6% was the rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The rate now is 4.25%, but was reduced to 3.9% in the 1990s in Lansing’s effort to be popular, but stupid. Let’s keep that 4.25 for those making less than a hundred grand per year.
  • I suggest we institute a graduated state income tax — 4.6% for the level I mentioned above, 5.0% for those making more than $300,000 a year and 5.2% for anyone making at least a million bucks a year.

Class warfare? You bet. The rich have enjoyed supply-side economics trickery at our expense now for 35 years. It doesn’t work for most of us and it won’t be long until the lower class will become so frustrated with its poverty that violence could be a result.

  • I suggest that once and for all marijuana be legalized and taxed and regulated the same as alcohol. We must be tired of letting drug dealers make good money in our failed War on Drugs. Let’s do like Colorado did and use that extra money to fix our roads, fund our schools and repair our outdated infrastructure.

I can already hear howls of protest. But I insist my plan would work. Schools wouldn’t have to face cuts, nor would the poor. There would be minor inconveniences for the rich. And we’d finally have a “sin tax” on a substance freely available virtually everywhere.

We should come up with a way to tax and regulate marijuana so that the public gets the money from peoples’ “sins” rather than drug dealers. And we should come up with a system that taxes people based on their ability to pay.

I think I’ve suggested more than a couple of solutions and ways for government to be a fair referee. I ask state government to do its job rather than do the bidding of rich benefactors. I won’t hold my breath.


1 Comment

  • As in all things legalizing Marijuana is a double-edged sword. Money secured for roads yes, but a drain on the health care costs. Even the pro drugs folks will tell you dope has 6 highly cancer causing chemicals in it, many fewer than tobacco, but still a health risk.
    Ironic isn’t it we want to fund roads with a product that will result in more dangerous drivers on the roads. At least folks will die on good roads; we can chisel that on our love one’s head stones.
    If history has proven one thing it is high taxes lead to crime like, smuggling and a black marketing, we see it in Colorado. Legalizing drugs is an unstoppable train; a politically correct thing to do. It will happen and a high price will be paid, but the supporters of marijuana will be too mellow to care.

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