The Michigan House of Representatives is hard at work this afternoon trying to raise our taxes.
But they haven't started to address the budget crisis. Wait, what?
Confused? Yeah, smart people should be. Here's what they're doing.
The House just held a roll call vote on House Joint Resolution Z. When you break it down to brass tacks, HJR-Z will permit the House to implement a graduated income tax but not until January or February.
That's right. January or February. No, you're not mistaken. The new fiscal year does indeed start October 1st, 2007. In other words, this vote wasn't only to raise our taxes, it was also to put off dealing with the budget mess for four or five months after the state becomes insolvent!
This was another of those tricky votes that required a 2/3rds majority to pass. It failed. Spectacularly. More spectacularly even then their attempt to raise the sales tax earlier in the week.
But don't worry, it wasn't a total waste of time. During debate leading up to the vote Republican after Republican took the floor to call for spending cuts and reforms, areas completely overlooked by the House Democrats.
And the Democrats, oh, they had some doozies. Rep. Coleman Young Jr. said that voting for reforms "sucks," while George Cushingberry began yelling into the microphone that right-to-work legislation represents bigotry and racism of the highest order, combining it in rhetoric with slavery in the American South.
Nevermind that no one had once mentioned right-to-work legislation, that no such legislation is before the body, that no such legislation is tie-barred to the tax hike and that permitting workers to choose whether or not to join a union represents as step towards personal freedom, not slavery. But all of that is neither here nor there.
When it was obvious that HJR-Z would go down to spectacular defeat Majority Floor Leader Steve Tobocman took the mic to ask that the board be cleared, hiding the fact that 47 or 48 Democrats were voting once again to raise our taxes. There was one audible AYE while the entire GOP caucus shouted NAY but Rep. Sak, holding the gavel, claimed the AYEs had it and cleared the board.
Nice of him, huh?
Now they're on to House Bill 5194, a measure that would actually raise our taxes today. We'll see what they've got in the way of support. Keep on those phones and keep on those emails!
Part II is on their site as well. Here's the link. So far, so good.