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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Michigan’s False “Comeback” Offer Taxpayer Funded “Bribes” to Businesses

So you think we have “principled” Republican control in Lansing? Think again! Michigan ranks 38 out of 50 states in per-capita income, 42nd in business climate. Michigan had the fifth highest per-capita income in America in 1953. So what has our politicians done to reverse this trend? They do what any crony capitalist would do they offer “bribes” to these companies with taxpayer dollars to stay in the state.

Kurt Darrow, CEO of La-Z-Boy said La-Z-Boy never found a reason compelling enough to uproot its employees and leave Michigan but if Michigan through the “failed” MEDC didn’t pony up the dough to help build it’s new headquarters they would move elsewhere! Ohio was actively pursuing them to relocate to their state with subsidies.

Dan Swallow, director of economic and community development for Monroe, said the two grants and the tax abatement were paramount to keeping La-Z-Boy fully committing to staying in Monroe. The company had stated it would remain in Monroe if everything could be worked out, but if it couldn’t, it might be forced to go to another county or state.
http://www.toledoblade.com/Retail/2012/12/21/La-Z-Boy-a-big-step-closer-to-new-headquarters-Michigan-OKs-3-7M-aid-for-50M-project.html

The company’s third-quarter profit soars! Michigan-based La-Z-Boy said Tuesday its operating income was up 37 percent in the fiscal 2013 third quarter, to $23.3 million, compared with $17 million in the same quarter of 2012. The company ended the quarter with $112 million in cash and equivalents.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/la-z-boy-reports-fiscal-2013-third-quarter-results-191882971.html

Note: Republican Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville is a former employee of La-Z-Boy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Richardville

(Continue reading below the picture)Bribes

The Snyder re-election campaign starts with 6 stops around Michigan. Snyder’s campaign says the Monday stops are at James Group International in Detroit, Two Men and a Truck in Lansing and at Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. Two Men and a Truck recently received taxpayer funded subsidies to expand it’s business through the “failed” MEDC to expand its corporate headquarters in Lansing.

Because of the “failed” MEDC and it’s non-transparent policies there’s no telling how much of “our” tax dollars are being funneled to these businesses here in Michigan. One thing is certain and that’s the fact that “we taxpayers” are being taken for one hell of ride in this “scam”.

The cronyism and theft of “our” tax dollars continues with the “Friends and Family Program” along with the Republicans “Buddy Fund” administered by our elected officials in Lansing. Snyder recently appointed John Rakolta, CEO of Detroit-based construction firm Walbridge and partner of the “failed” Raleigh Film Studio in Pontiac to the board of the MEDC. Oh and by the way we taxpayers are now on the hook for that studios failed bond payments. Can you say “conflict” of interest?

Michigan Republican Party chairman Bobby Schostak is also receiving not just federal subsidies for his new skyscraper high raise office building in Detroit but is seeking state subsidies as well through the MEDC. If you remember Mr. Schostak got his legislative buddies in Lansing to pass “a mortgage bill for one” as to “bailout” his brother who he is partners with in Schostak Brothers & Company, Inc. that saved them from paying a $2.4 million judgement of a foreclosure in their Cherry Land Mall in Traverse City Michigan.
http://www.freep.com/article/20120331/NEWS15/203310415/

Note: Meridian Health Plan is expected to be the sole office tenant in the taxpayer funded Schostak office building in Detroit. Governor Snyder appointed Meridian to administer the new Medicaid (SnyderCaid) expansion/ObamaCare.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130918/NEWS/130919855/meridian-health-plan-expected-to-move-into-16-story-detroit-building

When will the citizens and voters of Michigan wake up to the fact that it’s not just the Democrats that is the problem it’s this kind of Republican control as well. While I am appalled at the liberal progressive socialist policies of the Democrats I am equally appalled at the these same types of policies that we are seeing from the so-called Republicans we now have in Lansing.

Other Sources:
http://www.freep.com/article/20120401/COL04/204010479/Brian-Dickerson-In-Lansing-a-mortgage-bill-tailored-for-one

http://www.freep.com/article/20131030/COL06/310300170/Tom-Walsh-La-Z-Boy-Meijer-John-Engler

http://www.michiganbusiness.org/press-releases/governor-joins-in-celebration-of-two-men-and-a-truck-expansion/

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130220/BIZ/302200331

https://www.mackinac.org/features/search/?text=film&site=MCC&count=100

http://michiganfilmcreditsecrets.blogspot.com/

Public Employee Pension Systems Raided To Pay Film Studio Bills – Michigan teachers and state employee systems paid $1.68 million so far for Pontiac studio
http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/18384

Michigan-Subsidized Film Studio Fails; State Pension Fund Had to Guarantee Missed Loan Payments
http://taxfoundation.org/blog/michigan-subsidized-film-studio-fails-state-pension-fund-had-guaranteed-loan

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