mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Center For Michigan

I first heard about The Center For Michigan on Jack Lessenberry's blog. But when I first went to their website, there was almost nothing there. They don't call themselves a think tank, but it appears that that is what they are. The idea behind the Center is to promote moderation in the political process in Michigan.

After signing up for their email notifications, I did not get anything for quite a while. More recently, though, I have gotten some of their emails. I must say, the essays by are very interesting. For example, in his report about a recent conference regarding the Michigan Single Business Tax:
Politically, it's remarkable how one-sided this discussion has become. One side, mainly the Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce, is talking as though a $500 million business tax cut is the only thing that is going to restore our economy to perfect health.

And there's nothing whatsoever coming from the other side. The Democrats are scared stiff at being labeled in favor of higher taxes, while the cities, hospitals and universities have been largely silent. What's most appalling is that there is nobody in the middle who is trying to assemble and consider the evidence in a fair-minded way. It's just another illustration of the fact that our politics today are driven by the extremists of either side.

In this case, the tax-cut zealots of the right are in the saddle. And the tragedy is that the concerns of ordinary people, those who may not love taxes but who desperately want good schools and good streets, are largely being trampled on or just plain ignored.
Unfortunately, the full text is in an email, and I can't find the essay anywhere on their website. The site is still being developed. They plan to have a "forum," which presumably will allow comments. In fact, I expect that it will be indistinguishable from a blog. Even so, I did find the essay on the Hometown Life site, here.

Some interesting items that are on the Center website, currently on the home page, include this...
MICHIGAN IS NOT A HIGH-TAX STATE. A generation ago, Michigan residents were among the most highly taxed in the nation. Now, as taxation is the most significant ongoing policy battle in Lansing, the state’s total per capita burden for state and local taxes is safely in the middle of the pack according to a new, nationwide comparison. Michigan still ranks pretty high for overall property taxes (16th), tobacco taxes (2nd) and corporate income taxes (9th). But in other respects, Michigan is a great place to be a taxpayer. For individual income taxes, we rank (32nd), motor fuel taxes (43rd) general sales taxes (27th), special sales taxes on such things as liquor, gambling, etc. (29th). Get those numbers in the report this week from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
and this...
A BETTER WAY TO DRAW POLITICAL BOUNDARIES. If you want your legislators and members of Congress to be elected through tough competition, don’t let the politicians draw the boundaries. That’s what Bob LaBrant, vice president for political affairs at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce suggests this week in the Livingston Press & Argus. While Michigan likes to gerrymander, other states like Iowa use non-partisan government bodies to handle redistricting every ten years. Click here for a quick study of the Iowa system you’ll see why Iowans have more competitive races than we do.
Although those of us who post at MouseMusings are, in general, more on the progressive side than the moderates who are participating in the Center, I do find their material to be thoughtful and informative.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link | | |


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