Campaign to Increase Michigan Taxes Emboldened by Success in Oregon

Last week Oregon voters approved a ballot initiative imposing a $700 million hike in business and personal income taxes. The Wall Street Journal reports that the government employee unions which funded the effort spent some $6.5 million, or $2 million more than business and taxpayer advocates raised to oppose it. 

Here's how the Journal described the outcome:

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The teachers unions exulted yesterday that Oregonians voted to "protect our schools and vital public services." What was really protected was the $83,402 a year average in pay and benefits to Oregon state workers, 30% higher than what private workers receive

Expect the success of Oregon's public employee unions to embolden similar groups in other states, including Michigan. Indeed, the campaign here is already underway. MIRS News reported Tuesday on a state Capitol press conference organized by a group calling itself A Better Michigan Future (BMF), in which spokespersons and members of the coalition behind it made their case for a graduated income tax, and for imposing the state sales tax on services.

Many in the press, the political class, government spending interests and even some business interests have been claiming that Michigan's tax system is "out of sync" with the 21st century economy and needs to be "restructured." However, the Mackinac Center's James Hohman has disproven the assertion that this state's tax system is "underperforming," showing that it is actually extracting a greater amount of revenue per unit of economic activity than other states, even as the level of economic activity here declines.

Nevertheless, the claim has provided a rhetorical "hook" on which this entity's coalition of government employee unions and special interest groups (see list below) - all or most of which support a higher level of overall taxation in this state - is hanging some of it's arguments.

From A Better Michigan Future Web site:

Organizations that support A Better Michigan Future's plan:


America Federation of Teachers/Michigan Federation of Teachers

The Arc Michigan

Citizens for Better Care

Common Cause

Global Behavior Education

Michigan AFSCME Council 25

Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation

Michigan Citizen Action

Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

Michigan Education Association

Michigan Environmental Council

Michigan League for Human Services

Michigan Nurses Association

Michigan Primary Care Association

Michigan Professional Firefighters Association

Michigan State Employees Association-AFSCME Local 5

Middle Cities Education Association

PHI of Michigan

Planned Parenthood

Pride at Work-Michigan

Progress Michigan

School Community Health Alliance

Small and Rural Schools

United Auto Workers Michigan CAP

Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network

Van Buren Legislative Consortium