Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dear Jared;

Reading your piece in this week's Business Review, I have two comments.

The first is how do you reconcile John Engler's record of endlessly cutting taxes with where Michigan is now? If cutting taxes is the sure path to economic prosperity (as you imply), why did Engler leave the state in such a mess (and no, you can't blame it all on Granholm). My point is that cutting taxes may result in increased business activity - but you have no way of knowing that. If all other states do the same thing, the net gain to any one state could be zero.

Second is that it is easy to demand cost cuts in the abstract, but a lot harder in specifics. If the GRCC thinks the State needs to slim down, where exactly should this happen, and what are the economic consequences of that? The easiest political solution is to take money out of the pockets of state employees (especially teachers). Whether that is a good or bad thing, it unquestionably takes purchasing power out of a large group of Michigan residents. If you make 50,000 residents poorer isn't there a negative impact as well as a positive one? I could argue that the net impact is zero and that you are only transferring purchasing power from one person to another.

If you release more inmates from state prisons (which I would agree with) what happens to the communities where the prisons are shut down? If you cut road spending (which we are about to do in spades to save 16 cents in gas tax) how can you tell me this improves the business climate? If we continue to cut school budgets, why is anyone going to bring their businesses here if they know their kids are going to suffer. Health care? Foster care? Fire and Police? I'm sorry, but there is no low hanging fruit left and if you are going to constantly demand cuts, it is cowardly to not to say where.

Oh, and your comment about how individuals can make their own decisions about how to mitigate higher sales taxes? How exactly does one do that other than purchasing less, and why is that a positive for the state's businesses?

Best regards,

- Snipe

No comments: