Mark Schauer would ‘drive’ Michigan irresponsibly back to Lost Decade
By Darren Littell - Developing a responsible and commonsense budget is a daunting task. It requires a thoughtful and competent person to make the necessary and tough decisions. Unfortunately for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer, he is not that person.
As a member of the Legislature, he voted lock step with ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm and passed budgets that cut funding for schools and vital services and increased taxes and fees on Michigan families.
One of those obnoxious fees Schauer supported: driver responsibility fees. In an attempt to balance the state budget, Schauer thought it was as easy as imposing fees on drivers.
The law that was supposed to create an incentive for individuals to drive in a responsible manner backfired and instead created a vicious cycle that hurt the pocket book of Michiganians. The regressive nature of the fee was particularly tough on low-income individuals who could not afford to pay.
In some cases, the law’s unintended consequences incentivized some to break additional laws just to get to work.
Perhaps driver responsibility fees didn’t seem like a big deal to Schauer ,who received a special tax break only available to legislators who lived at least 50 miles from the Capitol – Mark Schauer lived 57 miles away. According to reports, “Eligible lawmakers end up saving on average between $8,000 and $10,000 a year depending on their tax brackets.” Mark Schauer took the “driving” tax break every year as a member of the State House.
This was hardly Schauer’s first rodeo, he voted to increase fee and taxes over 40 times as a state legislator.
It is a very difficult undertaking to develop a responsible state budget. It’s not enough to only identify problems. One has to work with limited resources and work through a political and budgetary gauntlet.
Schauer and Michigan Democrats can attest to the difficulty. During their Lost Decade, they left Michigan with a $1.5 billion deficit and a Rainy Day Fund that was virtually gone. Detroit’s financial mismanagement was never properly addressed, and the only way to save the city was through a total financial restructuring. Rather than put in the work, they thought it’d be a much easier option to increase taxes and fees – easier, yes, but not within a million miles of being a viable solution.
Michigan can’t afford another career politician who will choose convenience over hard work every time. Michigan can’t afford Mark Schauer, again.