Yet Another Government Boondoggle M-1 Rail Line ‘on the Wrong Track’ for Michigan Taxpayers

The Republicans with the Republican controlled legislature in Lansing is passing legislation more in line with the Democrat Party! The Grand Old Party is supposed to stand for a more conservative stand on issues. They are supposed to stand for and believe that the federal government should not play a big role in people’s lives. Most Republicans favor lower taxes and less government spending on social programs. They are supposed to stand for and believe in less government intervention in business and the economy. Not the case here in Michigan!

Detroit M-1 Rail Line

Our current Republican Governor and his counterparts within the Republican controlled legislature in Lansing has proven the exact opposite of the stated stand above they do not adhere to that ideology. Higher taxation, more regulation and bigger government involvement and intervention in business and the economy at the cost to taxpayers has further proven they are on the wrong track for Michigan’s taxpaying citizens and the Republican Party’s stated mission.

In January 2013, with a $25 million (taxpayer funded) U.S.. Department of Transportation grant under the guise of economic development and the proposed 45 permanent positions for Detroit Department of Transportation workers this project has moved forward. With all the “secrecy” surrounding the Michigan Economic Development Authority (MEDC) and their non-transparency no telling how much other taxpayer funds will be funneled to this project!

We taxpayers have been to this dance before. One look at the projections made when the Detroit People Mover was proposed should send up huge “red flags” to the taxpayers of Michigan. The M-1 Rail Line will eventually be donated to the Regional Transit Authority, officials said. Governor Snyder’s 2014 executive supplemental budget calls $2 million “taxpayer dollars” from the general fund to be allocated to the Regional Transit Authority. How much more of Michigan taxpayers’ dollars will be wasted only time will tell. The M-1 Rail Line is expected to serve 6,000 riders a day initially and eventually grow to 10,000. See People Mover.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140218/METRO01/302180070/

The Detroit People Mover opened in 1987 at the time of planning; the system was projected to have a ridership of 67,700 daily. In it’s first year, an average of 11,000 riders used the People Mover each day. The Mover costs $12 million annually in city and “state subsidies” to run. So, all Michigan taxpayers who never have or never will use this system pays for the few who do use it. In 2006, the Mover filled less than 10 percent of its seats! The daily ridership 7,083 – Annual ridership 2,328,084 (FY 2011).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_People_Mover

Michigan Senate OKs bill “shifting” $100M for snow removal and RTA
The “Theft” of our road tax money continues!
The legislation would mean at least $10.83 million for the four counties in the Detroit region, including $2.44 million for Macomb County, $3.74 million for Wayne County and $3.86 million for Oakland County, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140220/POLITICS02/302200077/1361/Michigan-Senate-committee-OKs-shifting-$100M-for-snow-removal

Michigan Senate OKs $100M plan to repair damaged roads, fill potholes and taxpayer funded RTA Start Up cost.

The supplemental budget includes: nearly $20 million for Harper and Hutzel hospitals, and $2 million in start-up costs for the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan among other carve out’s to other entity’s.

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, said passage was crucial for many departments in the state. If our legislators in Lansing would just wake up and open their eye’s they would clearly see that by abolishing the “failed” quasi government entity the business buddy favorite MEDC that would supply the much needed funds that these state departments so desperately need. But if they did that they wouldn’t receive the “kick-backs or campaign coffer enrichments now would they!
http://www.freep.com/article/20140220/NEWS06/302200081/michigan-roads-potholes-repairs-proposal

The authority has $500,000 taxpayer funded capital in the bank to work with, provided through the Michigan Department of Transportation. Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Twp., whose chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee, said a discussion planned for Thursday on a supplemental appropriations bill between him, House Appropriations Chairman Joe Haverman, a Holland Republican, and state Budget Director John Nixon would likely include additional RTA taxpayer funding.
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20131119/regional-transit-authority-ceo-has-yet-to-sign-contract-cites-lack-of-dedicated-funding-stream

Michigan House approves regional transit authority
Senate Bill 911, which allows for the collection of new vehicle registration fees to fund the RTA, also passed through the House by a vote of 57-50. Earlier on Thursday, the House had taken action only to pass SB 909, the RTA enabling legislation.
http://www.annarbor.com/news/michigan-house-approves-regional-transit-authority-including-washtenaw-county-in-57-50-vote/

2012 Senate Bill 909: Create Detroit regional mass transit authority
Public Act 387 of 2012
Introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R) on January 26, 2012, to create a new Detroit area regional transportation authority (previously called DARTA now called RTA Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority) covering Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, and potentially others. Among other powers the authority could levy property taxes (special assessments) and higher local vehicle registration taxes with the approval of a majority of the aggregate of all votes cast in an election (meaning a particular community could not “opt out” of the tax increase).
http://www.michiganvotes.org/2012-SB-909

2012 Senate Bill 911: Authorize Detroit regional transit vehicle registration tax
http://www.michiganvotes.org/2012-SB-911

Detroit Reinvention Senate and House Bills and Public Acts
This article list taxpayer funds given to Detroit in subsidies.
http://michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57577-291716–,00.html

2012 Senate Bill 912: Create Detroit regional mass transit authority
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D) on January 26, 2012, to exempt the Detroit regional transit authority proposed by Senate Bill 909 (and House Bill 5309) from local zoning ordinances. This is part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s road and transit tax proposal.
Public Act 389 of 2012
http://michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=144494

2011 Senate Bill 445: Create Detroit area transit authority
Public Act 391 of 2012
http://www.michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=145614

2012 Senate Bill 967: Authorize dedicated “rolling transit” lanes
Public Act 390 of 2012
http://www.michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=138435

http://michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=144492

Comment on Bill – Re: 2012 Senate Bill 909  by waltduro on March 30, 2012
Here Snyder goes again, looking to raise taxes so his buddies at Business Leaders for Michigan can get paid.

Senate Bill 911, Authorize Detroit regional transit vehicle registration tax
Introduced by Sen. Bert Johnson (D) on January 26, 2012, to give the regional transit authority proposed by Senate Bill 909 the power to impose a higher vehicle registration tax in the region to pay for buses and other public transportation.
Public Act 388 of 2012
http://michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=144494

Business Leaders for Michigan – Members: Many of these listed members have received taxpayer funded subsidies for their individual business ventures here in Michigan. http://www.businessleadersformichigan.com/blm-members/

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Detroit News Report falls short on Michigan’s Road Fund Money Allocation Problem

Michigan ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to its per capita spending on its roads and bridges, according to a report citing U.S. Census Bureau data. Is it because Michiganders don’t pay a high enough gas tax, or have our legislators been re-directing our road tax dollars elsewhere?

Michigan has the 5th highest Gasoline Tax in the nation, only Democrat controlled CA, NY, HI, CT are higher! Michigan’s gas excise tax is 19 cents per gallon. Michigan also collects sales taxes and an environmental regulation tax for a whopping grand total of 39.4 cents per gallon.

Michigan legislators have been stealing, robbing and shifting “our” road fund monies for years! Now that the kitty is bone dry they have the gull to suggest “we taxpayers” pony up by accepting a gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases.  Article continues below the picture.

Gas Tax Hike Snyder

Michigan legislative Transportation and Infrastructure committee chairs Wayne Schmidt (R) House and Tom Casperson (R) Senate would serve their constituents and all Michigan motorist well by pushing legislation that would outlaw any further diversions of Gasoline Tax monies from roads, bridges and infrastructure. Unfortunately these two seem more concerned about “Horse Trading” with politically well connected real estate developers.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140213/METRO05/302130103/Michigan-ranks-last-per-capita-spending-roads-bridges

There is a clear pattern of history here of transferring  “stealing” our road tax dollars for other unspecified state spending projects by our elected officials. And our legislators have the gull to propose new taxes on the citizens of Michigan as to repair our roads! Just say no to any new road taxes!

Republican Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville gave a legislative update to the Monroe Chamber of Commerce on Friday, January 10 2014. When he was through giving this update he opened up the floor for questions.

The very first question asked from a chamber member was, there is a lot of talk about a gas tax increase and vehicle registration fee increases coming out of Lansing will we be seeing this in 2014.

Mr. Richardville responded that we will see some sort of “re-alignment” in the gas tax structure but not until after the 2014 elections! Hmmm…I would say that is code word for “yes” we will see a gas tax and vehicle registration fee increase and you can take that to the banksters who donate to their campaign coffers!

2003 “Forgive” Mackinac Bridge Authority Taxpayer Loan

At a time when the state is struggling to repair its crumbling roads, this bill and the others in the Mackinac Bridge bill package would take more than $5 million away from repairing Michigan’s roads and bridges. Further, the bills in this package would forgive a combined debt of over $65 million owed to the state (we the taxpayers) in restricted funds that are used to fix our roads.”

Fast forward to 2014 and guess what Michigan taxpayers “the chickens have come home to roost” and you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayers of Michigan are now on the hook for fixing this problem perpetrated on the taxpayers of Michigan by the very “thieves” we have elected to serve us!

2003 House Bill 4627 Introduced by Rep. Tom Casperson (R) on May 6, 2003, to forgive state loans to the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
http://www.michiganvotes.org/2003-HB-4627

Fiscal Analysis – MACKINAC BRIDGE AUTHORITY LEGISLATION
HB 4627 (H-1) would amend Section 7 of 1952 PA 214 (the Mackinac Bridge Authority’s authorizing statute) the bill would forgive certain “advances” made to the Mackinac Bridge Authority in the Motor Fuel Tax Act – effectively from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF).

Tom Casperson 38th district

As of September 30, 2002, there remained an unpaid balance of $53.2 million associated with this advance. Subsection 5 of the bill indicates that this advance is repaid or forgiven effective March 1, 2003.
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2003-2004/billanalysis/House/pdf/2003-HFA-0464-x3.pdf

A very small legislative sampling of how our road tax money is shifted below and there are many others.

Transfer road tax money to other purposes (Senate Roll Call 539) All Senate Republicans voted in favor to reduce the amount of infrastructure project spending from the transportation economic development fund by $12 million in the Fiscal Year that ends Sept. 30, 2009, and another $12 million in the next fiscal year. House Bill 5073 diverts this money to other state spending that was Signed into law by then Gov. Jennifer Granholm on November 3, 2009.
http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=423745

Transfer road tax money to other purposes (Senate Roll Call 404) All Senate Republicans but one voted in favor to transfer $5.7 million from the state “Comprehensive Transportation Fund” (from which subsidies to public transportation systems are paid), and use the money instead to avoid reductions in non-transportation state spending in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. See also House Bill 5679 (which transfers money from another source into the CTF). This one was Signed into law by then Gov. Jennifer Granholm on September 17, 2010. 
http://michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=505897

2011 Senate Bill 411: Create “DRIC/NITC” bridge authority Introduced by Sen. Randy Richardville (R) on June 7, 2011, to “revise” the state road tax “allocation” law to “accommodate” the authority proposed by Senate Bill 410 to build a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor (the “Detroit River International Crossing” or “New International Trade Crossing,” a.k.a. “DRIC” or “NITC”). This would essentially take road fund monies away from our roads and transfer those monies to this new government authority! AKA, BIGGER GOVERNMENT!
http://michiganvotes.org/2011-SB-411

All About Michigan’s Road Funding and the Recently Proposed “Gas Tax” Increase
http://bainreport.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/all-about-michigans-road-funding-and-the-recently-proposed-gas-tax-increase/

Michigan Road Tax Investigation: Snyder, State Legislators Ignoring State Law and Continue to “Gouge” Michigan Motorists on Gas Taxes
http://bainreport.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/michigan-road-tax-investigation-snyder-state-legislators-ignoring-state-law-and-continue-to-gouge-michigan-motorists-on-gas-taxes/

Detroit News Road Report

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Are Michigan Taxpayers Funding All Businesses in the State? Sure Looks Like It!

It sure looks like it. There isn’t a day that goes by where my research on the “failed” Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) hasn’t “given away” the citizens of Michigan’s tax dollars. This must and should stop! How can our elected representatives in Lansing justify asking we taxpayers for a tax increase for our roads with this type of cronyism benefiting themselves and their business buddies? They can’t! Read more below the picture.A Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe

Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe Closes Michigan Taxpayers Lose Again
The Shoppe faced a series of setbacks before announcing closure after just 16 months. Just another in a long list of taxpayer funded failures through the “failed” MEDC. The Solakas, the owners were not the only parties to lose money.

$130,000 in community grant money was spent assisting the butcher shop from organizations including Midtown Detroit Inc., the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and the “failed”  (MEDC) Michigan Economic Development Corp. Is every business in Michigan propped up and funded with taxpayer dollars? Sure looks like it!
http://www.freep.com/article/20140211/BUSINESS06/302110031/Why-Ye-Olde-Butcher-Shoppe-is-closing-Detroit

There was “NO” mention of this taxpayer giveaway through the “failed” MEDC in this November 2012 article.
http://www.freep.com/article/20121118/BUSINESS06/311180155/Brothers-hope-Midtown-grocery-store-doubles-as-gathering-place

Whole Foods opens in Detroit with Taxpayer Help
George Jackson, who as president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. helped bring Whole Foods to the city. If Detroit is broke where did the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. get the money for this subsidy? Ah how about the “failed” MEDC funneling yet more of all Michigan taxpayers monies to these businesses! Read more below the picture.A Whole Foods BEST

Olga Stella, vice president of business development at Detroit Economic Growth Corp. which provided a $1.25 million grant. The DEGC is a private nonprofit group that supports economic development in Detroit. The remaining $5.8 million came from state and local grants and the sale of tax credits tied to the project.
Whole Foods should send Michigan taxpayers a big thank-you note.
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324423904578523712663750112

Some of the prominent names that show up in this endeavor are local businessman and the politically connected Alfred Taubman. If you remember he was also a partner in the “failed” MEDC subsidized Raleigh Film Studio in Pontiac the taxpayer funded movie studio that the under-funded state pension fund is now on the hook for their “failed” missed bond payments! The under-funded state pension fund is “you” the taxpayers of Michigan!

Also of interest is Mr. Taubman’s Antitrust Conviction the early 2000s, an investigation into alleged price-fixing between Sotheby’s and rival auction house Christie’s led to a confession by Sotheby’s CEO Diana Brooks of an elaborate price fixing “scheme” with her counterpart at Christie’s, Christopher Davidge.

In a plea bargain arrangement, prosecutors offered to keep her out of prison if she agreed to implicate Taubman. She did, and thereafter Taubman was convicted in a jury trial of price fixing. He was fined $7.5 million (USD) and imprisoned for ten months in 2002 for anti-trust violations.Taubman was released in 2003.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._Alfred_Taubman

One of Mr. Taubman’s partners in that “failed” Raleigh Film Studio is John Rakolta Jr. who is the CEO of Walbridge (formerly known as Walbridge Aldinger). Governor Rick Snyder appointed Mr. Rakolta to the board of, you guessed it the “failed” (MEDC) Michigan Economic Development Corp. Can you say a definite conflict of interest? Rakolta has also served as the chairman of New Detroit from 2003 to 2010.

John Rakolta and his company Walbridge was recently involved in the shady dealings in the new Wayne County Jail project that was shut down and has recently come under investigation by Wayne county prosecutor Kym Worthy in Detroit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rakolta

So my fellow Michigan taxpaying citizens does anybody but me see that these businessmen and their political buddies in Lansing are running a criminal enterprise using “our” tax dollars in an all for profit scheme? Shady characters and convicted felons are working with our elected officials literally stealing our money!

A word to the wise come election time here in 2014, be very careful how you cast your vote you may well get something you don’t necessarily want! Politicians will tell you what you want to hear as to get elected but the results are not in your best interest! 

Additional Sources:

It took 15 years to build a grocery store. Not only 15 years, it also took a whole lot of corporate welfare as well.
http://motorcitytimes.com/mct/2014/02/detroit-small-business-closes-cites-government-bureaucracy-regulations-and-corporate-welfare/

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