Representative Phil Potvin, of the 102nd district, appeared earlier this month on the WCMU program Capitol Report. When host David Nichols asked where Michigan’s 975 million dollar surplus was going to be spent, Potvin might have shared something Republicans don’t want you to know. Potvin said “we are anywhere between 600 and 850 million dollars of that surplus that is already pre-committed, depending on how these people are with keeping their employees, keeping their commitment to the state of Michigan, investing in Michigan for more jobs.” Potvin said the money is being doled out to businesses because most of Michigan’s corporations decided to stick with the old tax system rather than migrate to the flat six percent tax. These tax breaks are on top of the 1.8 billion dollars or so each year that other businesses get by choosing the no tax option.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville seemed to confirm that the projected surplus is now nearly non-existent. Richardville told the Lansing State Journal “the legislature may no longer be able to provide immediate tax relief this year.” Richardville and Governor Snyder are talking about using the 100 million that is actually left of the surplus to fix roads, though no votes have been taken on that.
While legislators debate how we should spend the 100 million dollar surplus, the tax giveaways continue. Just yesterday three West Michigan businesses were promised 1.35 million dollars of our tax money, on top of the normal tax breaks they will get, because they plan to expand in Michigan. Does anyone remember in 2011 when Governor Snyder said “one of the problems with the tax credit world is that you’re picking winners and losers, and government is not really competent to do that?” What is clear in all of this is that picking winners and losers is now on Snyder’s agenda. Wealthy business owners are the winners. The working class tax payers are the losers.