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    With the economy in a recession, and Michigan already looking at a 1.6 billion dollar deficit for the Fiscal Year due to our falling tax revenues, the state tax structure is being presented as in need of reform.
    . There have been many proposals from numerous groups as well as the House and Senate as to how to solve this problem. The Mackinac Center, a non-partisan research and educational group dealing with Michigan's policy, has many proposals outlining how to save the state money. The total estimated amount that could be saved according to their plans would be $2.4 billion. The proposals are numerous and list many various ways that the state can save money. In addition, not a single proposal includes raising taxes. After the listing of many proposals, the Mackinac Center states, "...a major tax hike, will only drive more people out of MI and hasten the impoverishment of a formerly rich state economy that in this decade has become a poor one..."

    Another group, the Business Leaders for Michigan, who are also non-partisan, and work to promote business in our state, are calling for a 50% cut in Michigan's main business tax, and an expansion of the state sales tax to most services. This would then make Michigan's business climate more attractive and potentially get more business to move in. The only problem with this is that it would not actually generate any additional revenue, it would only move the tax burden away from business owners and onto other tax payers.

    Last week, Governor Granholm released details of her plan for the upcoming year. A main focus of this plan was restructuring many aspects of the government. The Governor will outline her real proposals in the State of the State address on Wednesday, in which we can expect her to talk about reform. It is still unknown whether she will be speaking of tax hikes or tax cuts, but she has said that her plan involves real governmental reform as a necessity to improve our situation.
    Senate Majority Leader and Republican, Mike Bishop has also released his plan for saving the state money. The plan includes many cuts, with no tax increase. The CEOs of both the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Association of Michigan put out an opinion article stating that they agree with the Senator's plan, and that "Now is not the time for raising taxes. Now is the time for real reforms. The bold Senate Republican reform plan is the right course to take to keep alive the hopes and dreams of millions of Michigan working families and job providers.

    This summer, Michigan House Republicans proposed a budget plan that called for reforms within the government and included many tax reforms. Some of the Governor's plans for reform are plans that the Republican's called for six months ago. Some examples of such proposals found in both the House and the Governor's plans are: reducing costs by creating incentives for state and public employees to retire, shifting to a two-year budget process, and creating a Medicaid Inspector General to fight abuse and save taxpayer funding.

    The republicans in both the House and Senate seem to agree that reforming the tax structure is the best way to solve our budget crisis. There seems to also be an agreement among many other groups that tax hikes would be damaging to our already hurting economy. If the people of Michigan continue to be taxed at increased rates, many conservatives believe that it is likely we will see more people leaving the state. At a time like this, we cannot afford to lose more citizens, and with a deficit of $1.6 billion, we certainly cannot afford to lose any more money.

    Sources:

    Bell, Dawson. "Business leaders start push to change state taxes, offices." Detroit Free Press. 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 1 Feb. 2010. .

    "Headlee Amendment, Michigan Taxes [Mackinac Center]." Mackinac Center: Free-Market Public Policy for Michigan. Web. 01 Feb. 2010. .
    "Michigan Budget, Michigan Legislature [Mackinac Center]." Mackinac Center: Free-Market Public Policy for Michigan. Web. 02 Feb. 2010. .
    Michigan House Republicans. State of Representatives. Moving Michigan Forward. Www.GOPHouse.com. House Republicans, 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2010. .
    Studley, Richard, and Rob Fowler. "Go for reforms; don't raise taxes." Detroit Free Press. 29 Jan. 2010. Web. 1 Feb. 2010. .

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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