Legislative Update

By Leo Sell, Legislative Committee Chair

First and foremost, as most of you surely know, some onerous legislation called Right to Work (which is a complete misnomer) was passed during lame duck session and signed into law by the Governor. This was clearly payback for unions’ collective Proposal 2 efforts.

So, what does right to work do to unions and their members? Well, imagine how you would feel if you were a dues-paying member of the Michigan Athletic Club or the local County Club, and you became aware that a number of people were using those very same services and facilities for free!! Right to work tasks unions with doing all forms of proper registration, but allows outright freeloading by people who chose that status in their union job. Any efforts that the union makes to improve benefits, or as in the last number of years, preserve what can be preserved, accrue to all.  It simply is not right for members to be encouraged to freeload off of efforts that they don’t lend their financial support to. The claim that it’s just “free choice” is fallacious. There was already free choice in the sense that those who which to could avail themselves of representation service fee payer status. No, this is an undisguised effort to injure unions and working people and once again pander to greedy business interests.

Speaking of, another change pushed through was the phaseout of Michigan’s Personal property taxes which are levied against industrial and commercial equipment and furniture. The legislation significantly reduces revenue to local municipalities and the loss of revenue is only partially reimbursed. And even that is based on promises and not a hard and fast commitment. Nope, this was just simply to give Governor Snyder’s business cronies ANOTHER $600M tax reduction at the expense of people like you and me.

People like you and me will also be hit hard this year by the Michigan income tax changes passed back in 2011 where attempts were made to make up revenue losses (for the original business tax reductions) by pushing less visible changes through on the income tax laws that apply to you and me. That homestead property tax refund you enjoy? Greatly reduced or eliminated for many people with average middle class incomes. Many commonly used tax credits were also eliminated, including public contributions (such as for the WKAR pledge drives) and much more. See http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/01/michigan_income_tax.html for a pretty good summation.

Oh, but your income tax rate was reduced by 0.1%. Call that an extra cup of cheap coffee per week.

Oh, and about all those extra jobs and economic activity that will result from these changes. Hasn’t been seen yet. And don’t hold your breath.