To Serve and Protect: Nickelback 'wanted' by Australian police

This is wonderful.

"Police are on the lookout for these men who are believed to be impersonating musicians," the force said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, which includes a rough drawing of the suspects.

As it turns out, the Queensland police have a history of detesting Nickelback. In December 2014, they stated they would destroy a Nickelback CD received as a Secret Santa gift.

God bless our police for all they do.


Nine reasons Proposal 1 went down in flames

Some people would vote against a tax increase even to save their lives. But as I explained yesterday, most voters - even in Republican-leaning areas - do understand the need for taxes.

So what doomed Proposal 1? A number of factors:

People just don't trust Lansing politicians. The people who put this on the ballot are not trusted. People are naturally going to be suspicious of anything politicians in Lansing support.

Lawmakers didn't listen to voters. As I'll discuss later, the disconnect between lawmakers in Lansing and ordinary people across the state is bigger than ever. Lawmakers did not consider their constituents when putting together this proposal - in part because many of them haven't taken the time to understand their constituents' needs.

Folks want the rich to pay more. Many people would've been fine with the proposal had Lansing not shifted the tax burden away from corporations and onto individuals over the past four years.

It was a sales tax hike, not an income tax hike. Many people who voted against it did so out of concern about the regressive nature of the sales tax. Because poor people spend a higher share of their income on sales-taxable items, a higher share of their income is also paid to the state via the sales tax.

The legislature didn't do its job. This was a common frustration among pretty much everybody. It made supporters reluctant to vote Yes. For many opponents, it's what clinched their No vote. There were even quite a few people who didn't vote at all because of this. Lawmakers are paid $80,000 per year to tackle tough challenges - why didn't they do that?

It couldn't be explained easily. I know we all wish 30-second sound bites weren't the norm in our politics, but...

Voters didn't see what was in it for them. If you want someone to vote a certain way, you need them to (1) have a reason to go vote and (2) have a reason to vote the way you want them to vote.

It's not enough. $1.2 billion would have stopped the bleeding - but it wouldn't have done much to reverse the long-term problem of poor investment in our roads.

The anti-Prop 1 folks were much more energized. Whatever message people wanted to send, they were ready to send it - and they came out in force. Proponents of the proposal, on the other hand? Even many supporters 'held their nose,' the proposal was bad - but that the alternative would be worse. People who have to hold their nose to vote for something will hardly ever do much to persuade other people to vote.

Despite people's objections to Proposal 1, some things are clear: Voters do not trust the Republican-led government. They oppose cutting education and health in order to fund roads. They support funding our schools and communities. And they are willing to pay taxes - if they feel they're getting a fair shake.


Voters OK with taxes, but not with Lansing

The Tea Party is already trying to spin Proposal 1's defeat as either (1) the voters sending sending lawmakers an anti-tax message or (2) the result of confusion from the addition of such things as Earned Income Tax Credit and education funding.

They're wrong.

Many things combined to doom Proposal 1, but as voters in Michigan have repeatedly shown, they're okay with paying taxes - if they know what they're getting.

Michigan Has Raised the Sales Tax Before

It was just 21 years ago - the same year as the "Republican revolution" of 1994 - that Michigan voters voted overwhelmingly to raise the sales tax from 4% to 6%. That proposal, like this year's Proposal 1, had a lot of complex parts, including provisions relating to taxable value of homes.

Nearly 70% of voters approved it.

Proposal 12-5

In 2012, tea partiers sought to get Michigan to require that any tax hikes get the support of 2/3 of the legislature.

That went nowhere fast. In fact, more people voted No on that proposal than voted for or against any proposal since 1963 - and possibly any proposal in Michigan history.

Politicians No Longer Punished for Raising Taxes

if the 1983 recalls of State Sens. Phil Mastin and David Serotkin seem long ago, it's because they are.

In 2011, Republicans passed a tax shift that forced poor people to bear the brunt of Michigan's financial burden. We've had two elections since then - neither of which led to Democrats gaining any control in Lansing.

After Democrats (and a few Republicans) voted to raise the income tax in 2007, Democrats gained nine seats in the state House in 2008. That year, Mark Schauer actually got a promotion, defeating Tim Walberg in a red-tilting district.

Republican Kent County Backs Millage Increases

Last year, Rick Snyder got 62% of Kent County's vote. Even Terri Lynn Land got 52% of the vote here. Yet voters in this Republican-leaning county passed three - not one, not two, but three - tax increases:

The result of these millage increases is that most Kent County residents who live outside of Grand Rapids are paying $31 per year for every $100,000 in value to their house.

In fact, today's vote on Proposal 1 is likely to represent the first failed tax vote on the ballot anywhere in Kent County in two years.

So don't fall for the anti-tax spin. Even many opponents of Proposal 1 know that taxes are necessary, even if they didn't like this proposal.

Who I'm voting for today

I'm voting for a lot of people today.

No, there are no names on the ballot - just proposals - but the results of these proposals will affect people both here and around the state.

So I'm voting for children to learn from the best teachers in state-of-the-art buildings. I'm voting for teachers to have good-paying jobs. I'm voting for Earned Income Tax Credit beneficiaries who would be better off with full restoration of the EITC. I'm voting for road workers who would have steady jobs.

What's right isn't always popular - and what's popular isn't always right. The results of Proposal 1 will likely bear that out.


Like a Democrat voting in a red district, I'm choosing conscience over popularity. I'm choosing students, teachers, workers, and the poor over letting Gary Glenn decide the future of road funding. I can live with a Yes vote. I can't live with letting Todd Courser and company decide how - or if - our roads get fixed.

It's been nearly five months since Proposal 1 was voted onto the ballot. I've heard few decent reasons to vote against it. Even the best reasons for a No vote can be debunked. And the worst reasons for voting No? Well, see Sunday's post about the cruelty of punishing people for potential political profit.

There's never been a perfect proposal. Prop 1 is no exception. But good things will never happen as long as we keep making the perfect the enemy of the good. Even if Prop 1 is "meh," I'll take "meh" over "blegh" any time.

So today, I'm voting Yes.

Then I'm going to do what I can to make sure Democrats win the State House (and other offices) in 2016. Then I'm going to help un-f**k the redistricting process. Then - and only then - can we even consider making responsible investments in infrastructure. And no matter how badly Prop 1 goes down, I'll be able to sleep knowing that I did my part.