Outside the Box

We have all heard the term “Outside the box thinking,” and most understand what it means. Thinking “outside the box” is to think differently, unconventionally, from a new perspective.  Joseph Lehman doesnt use the term in his response to a writer with regard to teaching time for Marc Holley’s analysis of teacher reform, but he still makes the point, that much of what becomes great is that which arrives from a different and sometimes unexpected source.

In Michigan, it seems the box ain’t very big, yet  we still remain there, inside it smothering.  The policy makers in Lansing continue the practice of coveting our work, our efforts, the fruits of our labor, and carefully handing out when they see fit. (human services, city grants, etc..)  Great works! Some will exclaim, yet these efforts continue to be proven ineffective in combating the very problems they were designed to solve.  In fact many would argue that they expand those problems, and often create new ones. Throughout the perpetual failure of Lansing policy, our “leaders” however still insist on doing things the SAME WAY as you would see by reading the Lt. governors responses to community questions.

Renaissance zones were introduced in 1996, and gained a great deal of popularity for fighting blight, and for their renewing of city landscapes that were under severe neglect and abandonment.  The creation of this process was considered NEW and Unique!  And.. it worked.  For some..  The problem however, is that it is not more widely implemented.  If it worked in the original plan, and in fact has helped in several other areas since it’s inception, then why not expand the relief from income and property taxation to all?

Because they cannot.  This incredible idea that reducing or eliminating taxation spurs growth and development is SO FAR OUTSIDE THE BOX, that it resides in a different galaxy.  Liberal, Conservative, Blue, Red, Democrat, Republican:  “NO WAY can we de-fund the state!”  This is the typical response to the suggestion of ELIMINATING those taxes.  “There are TOO many good works to be done!”We have responsibilities to our citizens!”  These are VALID concerns, but they operate from within the same frame as ALWAYS has been done before,  but I believe I can help.

Some OUTSIDE THE BOX thinking.

1.    Eliminate Property Taxes, Business, and Income taxes in the state.  This will cause a MASSIVE influx of new development in the state creating new jobs, and new opportunities for Michigan business owners to expand, innovate, and compete more readily with foreign and other national firms.  This COMPLETE renaissance makeover could revitalize ALL areas of Michigan.

2.    Establish a FAIR tax sales tax code which allows VOLUNTARY compliance by simply purchasing goods they need or desire. Costs due to the increased amount in sales tax would be mitigated by lowered tax, compliance and regulatory costs to sellers, and prices on product would be lessened.

3.    Eliminate Human services from the state budget.  Wasteful and perpetually mismanaged, the $18,000,000,000.00 (approx) savings from those of us who pay dearly each year would allow private donations to increase and each of us could pursue our own objectives in philanthropy.  It would also eliminate the state assistance in Baby Killing, and encourage those who play the system to become productive members of our communities once more.    AND…   I’ve said it before, and will continue saying it: “Without the hammer of government, privately funded charities, local organizations, and churches who have a stake in the communities they serve would be better funded through private donations. Families would be solidified as the rewards for bad decision making disappear.”

4.    Eliminate Marijuana possession Laws altogether.  There is a reason it is called DOPE, but if an adult wishes to make an adult decision, we are NOT within our rights to legislate against it.  These laws are immoral, and violate our personal liberties.  This action alone would relieve the stress on the crowded and expensive prison systems, courts and police departments, and would likely save hundreds of millions in related costs.  (what does it cost to arrest, adjudicate, and incarcerate?)

5.    Privatize the prisons.  There are many suggestions on how best to do this, but the Mackinac Center likely has done the homework better than I could.  The reductions in prison population due to repeal of “victim less” laws, as well as competitive market forces would lower our costs considerably.

These are completely unconventional ideas that come not from a politician but a guy who actually works for a living paying the politician’s bill.  Beat me up, tell me where I am wrong, offer your own ideas.  The old ideas DON’T work.

3 comments for “Outside the Box

  1. July 10, 2008 at 11:57 am

    To add to this, the following states have NO personal income tax, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee (where the state Supreme Court ruled personal income taxes UNCONSTITUTIONAL), Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

    Financially, the previously mentioned states are MORE fiscally responsible than Michigan and are NOT enduring the financial hard ships that Michigan is. If Michigan would eliminate property taxes, business, and income taxes, as suggested here, and do the other suggestions, Michigan would be a better place to live and work. As we know, the state legislature is horrified by the idea of reducing and eliminating taxes. They would not know how to runt this state that way because they would have to spend our money RESPONSIBLY, and they just cannot do that.

  2. Judi Daniels
    July 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

    we bought a small piece of property in South Haven last year. In a neighborhood NOT on the Lake, it was a side yard at one time. Just received the summer tax bill of over 3000.00! Could not believe the number of taxes for a piece of property that does not even have a tree on it or a mailbox attached to it. We own a home in KY and pay less then 2000.00 for a one acre 300,000 dollar home in a nice subdivision. It will be a long day before we move to MI, and the only stick that will be on that property will be a for sale sign. You guys have really screwed things up tax wise. Scared us to death to even think about moving North. Judi

  3. jgillman
    July 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I feel your pain. Literally. But, ….

    Hard to imagine reasoning behind THAT kind of tax bill. I would investigate to see if you aren’t paying for the “parent lot” as well somehow. My summer tax bill for 38 acres in Traverse City was roughly that much, and it doesn’t fall under the homestead we have for our residence.

    It DOES drive home a point however, that our tax code is pretty well messed up.

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