Friday, June 01, 2007

What are Lansing Lawmakers Thinking About? by Akindele Akinyemi

I like State Representative George Cushingberry who represents the 8th District here in Detroit. If you do not know where that is geographically think the Lodge Freeway and 7 Mile Area.

He has political savvy and understands politics from both a county and state level.

But my brother has got to go. Here's why.

I call Rep. Cushingberry the tax king. Have you looked at ANY of his bills lately?

For example:

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4852 (Impose new $1.35 monthly phone tax ) to impose a new $1.35 monthly tax on each phone user in the state. The money would be used for various law enforcement-related functions, allowing other tax revenue to be spent on other things.

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4752 (Pay Detroit School Board members $61,890 salary plus pension ) to authorize salaries for Detroit School Board members equal to 90 percent of what Wayne County Commission members are paid, plus a pension benefit equal to 90 percent of commissioners’ pension. Commissioners get an annual salary of $68,767.

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4754 (Spend $300,000 to open government "trade office" in Arabia ) to authorize spending $300,000 to open a Michigan "African and Mideast Trade Office" in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4726 (Levy 10-cent monthly “2-1-1” phone tax ) to levy a 10 cent monthly tax on each phone line to pay for “2-1-1” systems, which are calling centers that direct a caller to local social welfare offices and providers.

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4513 (Increase liquor tax ) to increase the state liquor tax. This is levied through a system in which all liquor is sold to retailers through the state, which applies a “markup” (tax). The bill raises the markup from 65 percent to 75 percent.

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4500 (Increase state income tax to 4.6 percent ) to increase the state personal income tax from 3.9 percent to 4.6 percent; raise the personal exemption from $2,500 to $3,360; and index the latter to inflation

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4501 (Raise appeals court fees ) to increase various court of appeals filing, motion and transcript fees.

Another guy I respect on the Democratic side is Rep. Paul Condino from Southfield. I often visit his office when I go to Lansing.

However this bill he and my other brother Rep. Virgil Smith introduced I have to scratch my head on.

Introduced 2007 House Bill 4780 (Consolidate certain small township functions at county ) to transfer the duties of conducting elections, assessing property, and collecting property taxes from small rural townships (under 10,000 population, or under 20,000 if they deliver few services) to the county. The bill is part of a township government services consolidation package comprised of House Bills 4780 to 4788.

In my opinion, it takes a very willing individual to be responsible for operating township government. These elected persons are not running for the paycheck. They are running because they desire to be part of something larger, they believe that there is a difference to be made, and they have the drive and motivation to serve their friends, family, and neighbors. Each official has various duties and responsibilities ranging from numerous meeting attendances, taxpayer interaction, hearing the voice of constituents, and a multitude of other worthy tasks.

Ask yourself, do we really want to push these duties and responsibilities on the County where they will be lost as another mandated shift in policy? After all, township government is the most efficient, responsive form of government. Those who cannot balance a budget, can see nothing but tax increases as a way of doing business want to destroy townships.

Last we have Rep. Coleman Young II who introduced this bill:
Introduced 2007 House Bill 4826 (Authorize and require congestion toll lanes ) to require the Department of Transportation to establish toll lanes in highly congested urban areas. These could be added to or designated from existing lanes. Within six months the department would be required to submit a report identify that would identify locations for toll lanes, construction of toll booths if necessary, possible private operators or contractors if necessary, and possible funding sources for construction. The lanes could be free for vehicles occupied by more than two persons.
You have go to be kidding right Rep. Young? A toll lane? Why are Detroit Democrats into hidden taxes like Rep. Andy Dillion from Redford? We barely have money to cross into Canada let alone pay for catching the bus.
Michigan cannot even keep up with the repairs on the roads we already have. Now Rep. Young is proposing a toll road? Stay focused on the roads we have instead of the money. Most of the congestion is caused by construction. Try building a better road.
This is why I support a part-time legislation.

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