Countdown to Chaos in Michigan

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Michigan faces a massive budget shortfall of as much as $1.8 billion.Almost everyone agrees that something needs to be done to correct the situation, but the agreement ends there.A large coalition of "agencies representing universities, schools, police, fire, children, low-income residents, public employee labor unions and others" is worried that the projected fiscal crunch will necessitate massive cuts in public services andis advocating a tax increase. This would most likely take the form of a one-percent income tax increase or sales tax base expansion to help alleviate the projected shortfall.However, another group, the so-called Michigan Taxpayer's Alliance, has pledged to fight against any and all revenue enhancements to fix the problem. They maintain that the proper response is drastic cuts in spending, which they claim will be better for the state economy. The group has even outrageously threatened to attempt to recall any politicians who vote for any solution that includes a tax increase.

There is no reason for politicians to be moved by the anti-tax radicals.Local union leaders have pledged their support to politicians facing recall threats.State Rep. Mary Valentine, one of the lawmakers faced with a potential recall has pledged not to let the threat influence her decision, saying of the recall effort's leader,"He wants to intimidate people to do what he wants rather than what is best for my district [...] I will do what is best to do for my district."Michigan's fiscal future remains in doubt, but state residents can take heart that some lawmakers seem willing to stand up to right-wing demagoguery.

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