Think again

Oct 24, 2001 at 12:00 am

It may come as a shock to many of our readers, but News Hits has rarely, if ever, agreed with a Republican. But, hey, sometimes you have to distinguish the message from the messenger. And the message GOP state Sen. John Schwarz (R-Battle Creek) is heralding makes darn good sense.

As you well know, the state is facing a deficit of about $800 million, meaning the likelihood of across-the-board cuts in everything from public education to social services. Sen. Schwarz, who is widely respected by both his own party members and Democrats, has a plan to help address this looming economic nightmare.

He proposes that two state tax cuts approved in 1999 be postponed two years. In 1999, the Republican-dominated Legislature voted to reduce the state income tax from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent over five years, and sliced the single-business tax from 2.2 percent to zero over two decades. The reductions, which began last year, have cost the state a heap of cash — about $250 million a year. A two-year moratorium, says Schwarz, will put at least a half-billion dollars back in the state’s coffers.

“This is revenue the state could use,” says Schwarz. “It will give us room to breathe.”

Schwarz and some other legislators are now trying to determine if they have enough support before a bill is proposed.

“My sense is that there is support and it will be bipartisan,” says Schwarz. “I think the thinking Republican will understand that the situation demands that we postpone the tax cut.”

News Hits just wishes that the so-called “thinking” Republicans had thought ahead before ramming the tax cuts through two years ago.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]