Detroit News. August 25, 2022.
Editorial: Sales tax vacation is pointless pandering
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a back-to-school “holiday tax” that would not give residents back any money any time soon, despite what she has claimed to be promises.
The governor vetoed several tax cut plans earlier this year that would have brought more relief to Michigan families suffering from record-high inflation and soaring college tuition and energy bills. Had she been serious about giving residents money back, she would have worked sooner with the Republican-led Legislature.
She argued these vetoes were because the surplus at Lansing could not cover what the tax cut proposals would take away from government revenues.
But this proposal would also pull out of the pot.
Whitmer could have pushed this school supplies relief law earlier in the year when it might have had more of an impact on parents who buy those supplies throughout the summer, not the night before school starts.
It’s a re-election ploy with no chance of passing the legislature. But it’s good political theatre.
Whitmer’s office offered few details on the MI Back to School plan, but included an estimate from a Michigan-based office supply chain that the 6% sales tax exemption would save families about $54 per child. That would suggest families spend $900 on school supplies for each child.
Over the weekend, the governor shifted the blame for inaction on tax breaks back to the legislature
But the governor has herself rightly criticized sales tax holidays in the past for being largely ineffective and actually contributing to inflation, which has pushed school supplies prices up 8% this year, according to a recent Deloitte survey.
Government manipulations of the economy have already aggravated the trying times Americans are facing. Short-term cash injections versus long-term tax cut plans are part of how we got here in the first place.
Sales tax holidays treat certain transactions made at certain times differently than others, and therefore don’t really help low-income individuals or families who lack the flexibility to adjust their spending as they please.
With such little advance notice of the proposal, Michigan retailers wouldn’t be able to plan for the tax exemption either.
“It’s too late in the shopping season to have any effect, even if the law could be changed in time,” said William J. Hallan, CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association. “It is important to allow for adequate lead time so both consumers and retailers can plan accordingly. Neighboring states have seen an increase in overall sales as shoppers purchase both tax-free and taxable items, rather than simply delaying the timing of the purchase without affecting the state’s tax base.”
Similar exemption periods have already passed in 16 states, including nearby Illinois and Ohio, according to the Sales Tax Institute.
Republican leaders in the Legislature have indicated they will not take up the proposal.
“Many people across Michigan have already done their back-to-school shopping, and for many families, school is just a few days away from starting school,” said Matt Hall, chair of the House Tax Policy Committee, R-Comstock Township. “Some kids have started again. How would this plan help families in three or four weeks time?”
The answer is: it won’t.
Traverse City record eagle. August 24, 2022.
Editorial: More road deaths mean drivers have forgotten their responsibilities
Cars today have airbags, anti-lock braking systems, traction control. They have rear-view cameras, blind-spot sensors, and distracted-driving alerts.
Cars are safer than ever, yet sharing the road with them is becoming increasingly dangerous.
We know that in a horribly personal way.
John Austin Greenman, a Mancelona man on the verge of 30, was hit by a car and killed near the Chain O’ Lakes campground on Friday night. Police are still looking for the pickup driver who may have killed him.
The moral depravity required to abandon a person on the side of the road is beyond our calculation, and we hope the driver responsible for his death comes forward to 989-732-2778 with information.
But alongside the added horror of a hit-and-run, Greenman’s death adds to a growing list of walkers, cyclists and cruisers killed by cars on our area’s roads. A stack of eulogies for those ahead of their time. A 19-year-old jogger on a morning run. A 77-year-old is killed in a parking lot while shopping. A 71-year-old visitor crossing the street after a fireworks display. A 29-year-old bartender riding her bike home after her work shift.
The numbers are rising statewide and nationwide, reports Bridge Michigan. Pedestrian deaths hit a 24-year high last year in Michigan, with 183 deaths from cars. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths nationwide increased 54 percent over the past decade, rising faster than any other traffic fatality.
Even as the total number of accidents fell during Michigan’s COVID-19 lockdown days, the number of fatalities rose.
The reasons for this are still elusive, as a number of deadly factors could be at work – more SUVs and trucks on the road making injuries a slim hope for a pedestrian in an accident; more texting and phone fumbling by distracted drivers; dangerous crossings; ignorance of pedestrian right-of-way laws; COVID-19 related road rage.
Whatever the reason, we have to do better. Our myriad and plentiful safety devices that our vehicles are equipped with will protect the people inside, but they will not save the people we could potentially hit.
Taking the wheel must be a pledge of protection – and accountability when things go bad. We share the road. We share the grief.
mining magazine. August 25, 2022.
Editorial: State, federal agencies are investigating a disease that has sickened and killed dogs
There is currently one cause for concern if you are a Michigan dog owner. State and federal agencies are investigating an unknown disease that is sickening dogs in northern Michigan and killing at least 30 dogs in one county after they showed signs of a parvo-like disease, The Associated Press reported.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said it is working with local animal shelters, veterinarians, Michigan State University’s Veterinary Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners on tests to determine the cause of the disease.
The state agency said that “several dogs” in the state’s northern Lower Peninsula have been diagnosed with the same symptoms from a disease similar to canine parvovirus, which affects a dog’s gastrointestinal tract and is transmitted through dog-to-dog and dog-to-dog contact Contact with contaminated feces is spread and surroundings.
A veterinarian told MDARD officials about treating a dog who was vomiting and having diarrhea, which are common symptoms of canine parvovirus.
However, this dog tested negative for the parvovirus at a veterinary clinic, the agency said.
The department said it has since heard from animal control agencies in northern Michigan about dogs with the same symptoms whose causes have not been determined.
State veterinarian Nora Wineland said in a statement that “investigating the details of unusual or reportable animal disease findings” is an important part of MDARD’s mission.
About 30 privately owned and mostly unvaccinated dogs have died in Otsego County, said Melissa FitzGerald, the director of the county’s Animal Control Division. She said it didn’t appear the dogs had any contact with each other.
“It’s scary,” FitzGerald told the Detroit Free Press. “There are many things it could be.”
Adrianna Potrafkey, who lives in northern Michigan, said four of her dogs woke up with bloody diarrhea and an upset stomach in early July.
All of them have since recovered, which Potrafkey attributes in part to the vaccines they received as puppies.
She said she hadn’t worked for two weeks because she was worried about leaving her dogs alone and said her vet was confused about what was making her dogs sick.
MDARD said it strongly encourages dog owners to work with their vet to ensure their dog is up to date on routine vaccinations.
A highly effective vaccine against the parvovirus is available to protect dogs from the disease, the agency said.
Experts advise dog owners to do their best to ensure their pet doesn’t have close contact with other dogs for the time being.
This may be the best way to keep your furry friends safe at home, at least until experts understand this disease better.
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