Today, the Michigan Legislature will likely wrap up its work for 2009. As has been noted on this page over the last couple of weeks, end-of-the-year work by state lawmakers often carries all of the thought and responsibility of a New Year's Eve drinking binge, but it's the taxpayers of Michigan who get left nursing the hangover. And, much like the New Year's Eve drunk, politicians often have a short memory for what caused the headache in the first place.
A good example of this is taking place in the race that will select a Republican candidate to fill Michigan's 2nd Congressional District seat. This is the subject of an article in the current edition of Michigan Capitol Confidential.
Former state Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, and current state Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, each voted in 2007 to create the Michigan Business Tax, a replacement for the long-dreaded Single Business Tax. They are two of four Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional race who are likely going to face off against one another in a primary election on Aug. 3, 2010.
The vote to create the MBT took place because the SBT had been terminated by a citizen-initiated law in 2006. The language of the law repealing the SBT specifically demanded that lawmakers find a new business tax that would be "less burdensome and less costly to employers, more equitable and more conducive to job creation and investment ..." Unfortunately, as is detailed in the latest Michigan Capitol Confidential article, the MBT as initially proposed, passed by the legislature and signed by the governor failed to accomplish almost all of these objectives.
One of the candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 2nd Congressional District took Huizenga and Kuipers to task for voting to impose "the job-killing Michigan Business Tax." Huizenga responded, saying that this characterization was a distortion of his record.
Who better remembers the night of the party that created the MBT?
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce used that MBT vote as one of the negative marks on its 2007 legislative report card, and Michigan's National Federation of Independent Businesses chapter says the original MBT vote represented tax policy "... written by BIG business, for BIG business ..." Another business trade association leader said the entire process of creating the MBT left his membership feeling that they were "under attack" by state government.
This message got through to many Republicans in the Legislature before they voted. Huizenga was one of just 17 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of creating the MBT, while twice that number of House Republicans voted against it.
Read the whole article from Michigan Capitol Confidential here.