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.
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.
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:
- A more than 50% increase in the Senior Millage passed by a nearly 2-1 margin.
- A 45% hike in the Kent District Library Millage passed by a 4-3 margin. That was not on the ballot of
- A new Veterans Millage got 2-1 support as well.
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.