For the most part, Michigan Republicans have been able to put up a united front. In fact, if you have talked to one, you have talked to them all. One common line is “what would you do about the deficit?” followed by “anyone can find problems, but we need solutions.” The Center for Michigan put out a little balance the budget game that allowed us laypersons to take a shot at balancing the budget. Some thought it was too simple, but I thought it was a good starting point. First, you had to decide if you wanted to give the massive business tax cut the Governor is proposing. I chose no because I don’t believe in cutting revenue when you are staring at a large deficit. After all, no business would cut revenue, and we seem to only be looking at issues through a “free market” lens. After choosing no on the tax cut, I chose prison sentencing reform for a total savings of 1.25 million. I also chose to extend the sales taxes to services (1 billion), soft drinks (83 million), and an increase of the beer tax (106 million). I’d be happy to pay taxes on my services, soda, and beer. These taxes seem like a “shared sacrifice” to me. If I don’t want to share the sacrifice, I won’t purchase these good and services. These simple changes alone would nearly balance the budget. But choosing no on the tax cut looks like an unrealistic option. If the Governor demands it, the legislators will cave in and give it to him. So what would I do to balance the budget with the proposed tax cut? I would go to a graduated income tax. If businesses are only profiting a hundred or two hundred thousand dollars, go ahead and give the individuals who take home that money the same tax rate that most of us pay. However, if they are going to make a half million or several million dollars, then I believe they can pay in a bit more. After all, if we have to share in the sacrifice why can’t we share in the prosperity?
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