I’m getting kind of tired of all Governor Snyder’s “Nerd” nonsense. I mean, c’mon. I can proclaim myself a genius but if you believe that there’ll just be an idiot in the room with me.
Five years ago when Rick first rebranded himself as a Nerd I had hoped it meant he was creative and had the ability to see problems differently than anyone else, perhaps leading to unconventional solutions. Instead, all we got was a typical Republican governor that lowered or eradicated business taxes to give the rest of us the chance to sacrifice for our state. Not true? How about checking the tax records of Rick Perry (TX), John Kasich (OH), Chris Christie (NJ), Rick Scott (FL), and on and on. Of course those guys don’t call themselves Nerds so I give them some credit.
So Rick’s been banging his tin drum for a year about fixing the lousy roadways of Michigan. For a mere $1.2 billion dollars a year we can have roads that don’t force you to weave around potholes like a gymkhana driver drunk on Red Bull. Snyder claims that the $1.2 billion he wants us to pony up “is not about costing us money; this is about saving us money.” Right. Exactly who is “us” because it sure feels like he’s looking at our wallets and as a cost, not a saving.
So the Nerd has a new plan: he wants to punish us. By just doing nothing, he hopes that sooner or later the citizens will just give up and say, “Enough already. Just fix the damn roads and put it on our tab.” I’d sooner ride a horse.
Did you know that it takes 9,600 cars like mine to damage Michigan roads as badly as just one semi-truck. Not your F-150 or Tahoe truck. With all due deference to Hummer owners, I mean BIG vehicles: trucks with GVW painted on the sides. A safe definition might point out that although not all vehicles with commercial license plates are “big trucks”, 99% of the trucks damaging our roads have commercial license plates. Worse, as Michiganders crab about our horrible roads, Michigan allows the highest gross weights on our roads than any other state in the Union. No wonder our roads suck; we ask for it! Even next door to us the Ohio Department of Transportation understands that increasing the load on a single axle by 20% doubles the damage that truck does to our roads.
While Snyder and his cronies are trying to jiggle the fees that you and I pay to operate our vehicle here in the Pothole Wonderland, I must agree that the way we fund our roads and road repair is a byzantine collection of taxes and fees. Part of this nonsense goes back to Gov. Engler’s days when futzing with the tax code and Proposal A it was decided to help pay for our schools with a fraction of a gasoline sales tax. Apparently the Nerd has no stomach for “real structural reform” (wasn’t that part of his 2010 campaign?) that would take vehicle user taxes and fees and use them for the roads the vehicles drive on. Instead, they’re trying to grab an additional $120 annual fee for each vehicle you own, then convince you it’s not a tax. Nice try, dudes.
So here’s where we could use a Nerd. We need $1.2 billion a year to fix roads damaged, by and large, by commercial trucks owned by the very same companies that got a $1.7 billion per year tax cut from the Gov. And since my fellow citizens and I are currently paying $1.4 billion more in taxes to make up for that cut, I’d say some creative thinking is in order (for a change).
Since I was really good at connect the dots when I was a kid this may appear more obvious to me than it would to a Nerd. I don’t know.
The way I see it, a business tax of $1.2 billion per year would still leave corporations with a $500 million tax break and road repair fully funded by the people that ruined them. Seems fair to me.
Have you got a better idea?