The problem is how we do that. I have looked over the SOS website (found here: http://www.sosmichigan.com/) and have determined that this organization has the wrong approach for saving our schools, students and State.
This vetting I did of this organization was prompted by an interview I heard this morning on Paul W. Smith's talk show on 760AM WJR with a representative from this organization. (I checked for podcasts, but they don't have them up yet.) A red flag was immediately raised because this guy was advocating for tax "overhauls" to fund our public schools. The proposals this guy was endorsing didn't add up with the claim he continued to make: "These proposals are cost neutral to the taxpayer."
So I checked it out at their website, per his and Paul W. Smith's urging, and what I found was even more egregious. Here are their proposals, straight from their position statement:
- Closing wasteful or ineffective loopholes in current tax laws.
- Expanding the base of the sales tax to services.
- Eliminating planned reductions in the income tax rate.
- Compensating schools and local governments for unfunded mandates identified by the Legislative Commission on Unfunded Mandates.
Moving All Tax Collections to Summer. This will assist schools with cash flow issues and provide
Seriously? Right now my Michigan property taxes run at about 65% due in summer, 35% due in winter. Changing that would be further tax burden, on top of the proposals they outline above! Ridiculous. Any taxpayer, already paying an exorbitant amount in taxes, that would approve this are crazy. Sorry, no other way to say it. In fact, they are crazier than a bag of squirrels.
I was so fired up by this I sent off this letter to the SOS:
First of all, leave our taxes alone. I heard one of your representatives on the Paul W. Smith show this morning. Michiganders are going to be very leery of any proposals that raise taxes. You can frame the discussion any way you'd like, but if it ends up in any tax increases at all, it will be flatly rejected.
The representative made a big deal about 30 school districts being in bankruptcy. He said there could be 70 in the next year. Isn't it time to start looking at the diminished enrollment and consider school district consolidation. I realize teachers are against this because it could result in teaching job cuts, but is your focus really saving our students? Or saving teaching jobs?
In short, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the message I heard this morning.
What I've never understood about government is this idea that even in lean times they can continue spending at the same rates they always have. This is so out of touch with the average taxpayer. When lean times hit families, families cut their budgets and don't spend as much. Why is the government any different?
During lean times, when tax revenues are down, you make tough decisions and do what you have to in order to survive through those times. Government, and those in power, don't get that. That is what the Tea Party movement is all about. We as citizens are demanding fiscal responsibility in government.
The bottom line is simple. Michigan residents will not tolerate any proposals that increase taxes, nor the tax burden that we already bear. That includes collecting 100% of our property taxes at one time. That includes extending the sales tax to services. That includes continuing to fund schools at the same level despite dramatic decreases in residency and enrollment.
When the SOS starts talking about cost savings, school district consolidation, and controlling runaway spending, then I will listen.
P.S. SOS Michigan claims to be a grassroots organization. Take a look at their "Member Organizations".
Michigan Association of School Boards
Michigan Association of School Administrators
Michigan School Business Officials
Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals
Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators
Middle Cities Education Association
School Equity Caucus
Michigan Association for Supervisions and Curriculum Development
Michigan Negotiators Association
Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association
Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education
Michigan Association of Middle School Administrators
Michigan Parent, Teacher and Student Association
Michigan High School Athletic Association
Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation
Michigan School Public Relations Association
That sounds grassroots to me. Yeah right.