Expand Sales Tax, Group Says

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

The group of people in this room don't always agree on everything. In fact, they rarely agree on anything when it comes to how to run the state. But Tuesday, they were on the same page.

"People are nervous," explains Phil Power. He's the president of the Center for Michigan, and he invited business leaders, academics, economists and just plain Average Joes to a discussion Tuesday where it turns out, the majority of people, regardless of background, believe K-12 funding and quality of life are the most important things to Michiganders. But those things are being jeopardized, they say, because of the state's decision makers.

"This is a time for Michigan citizens to stand up and speak up for resources, for the infrastructure that's critical for Michigan's vibrancy for the future," says Jennifer Goulet, president of ArtServe.

"If we were prosperous, fat, dumb and happy, we wouldn't be worried about the state. But we're in trouble. People are hurting," Power says.

The group, as a whole, seems to believe expanding the sales tax, and reducing the Michigan Business Tax, could help get us back on track. That's something Governor Jennifer Granholm supports.

"The equalization of taxes on loose tobacco and cigarillos-- it shouldn't be that difficult of a vote in the legislature when it comes to slashing money from education," Granholm says.

The worry that we're becoming an "either/or" state is something the Governor addressed Tuesday. She says if Michigan goes down that path, then we have little chance of coming out of this budget crisis alive.

For its part, the group-- 300 voices strong- will take its recommendations to the Legislature; they're hoping for a brighter outcome than the one we're headed for now.

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