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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    A Warning We Shouldn't Have To Issue

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 09:34:03 AM EST
    Tags: 2013-HB-4111, House Roll Call 11 (2013), nullification vs. enabling, legislative malfeasance, sending a message, empowered grassroots operation, iCaucus Michigan, 2010 endorsees, Kevin Cotter, 2012 endorsees, Rob VerHeulen, disciplinary action is necessary to protect those who didn't screw up, 2013-HB-4202, 2013-HB4203, politician paper training (all tags)

    As a general rule, I really don't give so much as one airborne rodent derriere what my critics think of me.  This is especially so given that, to paraphrase Pierre S. du Pont IV, critics aren't required to be consistent (assuming that they're even required to know what they're talking about in the first place).  And since the specific critic in question can't seem to move past his standard M.O. of schoolyard-style insults and misleading vividness fallacies, where he doesn't engage in outright argumentum ad hominem, I'm even less inclined to personally give a damn what he thinks.

    That having been said, with regard to a couple of bills that were reported out of the House Tax Policy Committee back on Wednesday (2013 House Bill 4202 and 2013 House Bill 4203), the critic has at least one valid point that, as a matter of professional integrity, I really ought to address.

    Internet Sales Tax Legislation (colloquially referred to as imposing an "Amazon tax" on internet purchases) is being pitched by its proponents as closing a tax loophole that favors large Internet retailers over "main street" brick-and-mortar stores.  The problem, as a Mackinac Center analysis shows, is that what we're being sold here is a very different "bill of goods" that is actually serving, as Jason is fond of saying, as "rent seeking" by the Internet retail giants (such as Amazon and Overstock) designed to screw over the mom-and-pop stores the legislation purports to benefit.

    Whatever fiscal bind Michigan may still be in (an entirely different debate), adding taxation to value-producing citizens who are already footing too much of the government bill is not how this is solved.  Or do we already forget this little video message?

    A little bit of budget analysis from publicly-available records shows about $1.5 BILLION that could be freed up for various necessities, simply by having the sense and the stones to actually cut actual waste out of the state's spending.  As the Don't Raise MI Taxes Tour back in the spring made clear, we the people are beyond tired of being used as our government's ATM.  This is especially true when the tax loophole closure increase in question isn't even close to "revenue neutral," nor will it raise more than a fraction of what its proponents say it will, according to a House Fiscal Agency analysis.

    Evidently, we shouldn't underestimate the predisposition of politicians (regardless of party affiliation) to go back to business as usual the second that they think the heat's off.  Which brings me around to my main point, which is that some high-speed boot polishing is apparently in order.

    State Representative Kevin Cotter (R, District 99, Mt. Pleasant), who was iCaucus Michigan endorsed in 2010, according to 2013 House Journal Number 72, voted to report both House Bill 4202 (2013) and House Bill 4203 (2013) out of committee with the recommendation that the substitutes (H-3 in both cases) be adopted and that the bills then pass.  An additional embarrassment for iCaucus Michigan is that State Representative Rob VerHeulen (R, District 74, Walker), who was iCaucus Michigan endorsed in 2012, is the primary sponsor on 2013-HB-4203 and a co-sponsor on 2013-HB-4202.

    To directly rebuke the critic, Rep. VerHeulen was publicly reprimanded by iCaucus Michigan for his vote (2013 House Roll Call 11) to approve 2013 House Bill 4111, to fund the state role in a federal "ObamaCare partnership exchange" (the reprimand letter can be downloaded from this link).  Evidently, some additional "politician paper training" is in order.

    I'm going to be talking with Rep. VerHeulen this weekend, as well as the rest of the iCaucus Michigan executive staff (and the iCaucus National executive staff) regarding this matter, and specifically how we deal with both Cotter and VerHeulen.  In the meantime, let me point something out to Mr. VerHeulen, who's already on probation as far as iCaucus is concerned:

    Sir, your overall record in the state house has been good.  But your vote to approve the ObamaCare exchanges, and now your sponsorship of a tax increase package, isn't going to do you any favors next summer.

    See, as I've pointed out elsewhere (including an interview I gave MIRS last week), iCaucus Michigan is planning on getting involved in forty percent of the seats that are up for election in 2014, at the federal and state level.  For the State House, that's 44 seats.  Right now, we haven't settled on exactly which seats we'll be either targeting or defending, but the 74th HD hasn't so far been an "A-list" discussion item.

    Doing anything other than pulling your sponsorship of both HB-4202 and HB-4203 may change that, for reasons that you may not like.

    What I haven't told you until now is that iCaucus Michigan has been approached twice this summer by potential primary challengers (because of your vote on 2013-HB-4111), both of whom have far more credibility than your 2012 opponent, Steve Maas.  We advised both of them to keep their powder dry, at the time, because of the reprimand letter, but the Internet Sales Tax Legislation that you've either sponsored or co-sponsored is likely to change that opinion if it gains any traction on the House floor.

    I'm not mentioning this as a threat, but rather as a strongly-worded suggestion, that you seriously consider publicly pulling your sponsorship of both HB-4202 and HB-4203, and do what is necessary to ensure their defeat on the House floor.

    Speaker Bolger absolutely has it right; Internet Sales Tax Legislation is by definition an interstate commerce issue, and therefore constitutionally squarely within the purview of Congress (and the U. S. Commerce Department).  The state has no business legislating in the matter (and, according to Article 1 § 10 of the U. S. Constitution, has no authority to legislate in the matter).

    Now, where'd I leave that rolled-up newspaper?

    < Maybe Gary Peters Should've Wrote Vladimir Putin | Celebrate The Birthday Of The Constitution >

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