No state has been hurt more by the recession than Michigan, where unemployment tops 13 percent and home values have plummeted in many areas. So a few days ago, when many communities across the state voted on ballot questions to raise money for local services, the result could only be a disaster for supporters of higher taxes, right?
Voters approved 86 percent of the 623 ballot proposals calling for higher taxes or fees, according to an analysis by the Center for Michigan, a respected non-partisan policy institute.
They supported 96 percent of requests to renew expiring taxes or reverse previous tax cuts, according to the report. Even proposals for new tax increases passed at a 69 percent rate.
What’s going on? Well, once again the voters showed that they get it. While “tax revolts” often get the headlines, voters know that the services they depend on — like roads, schools, libraries, and fire protection — cost money. And they’re prepared to pay to maintain those services as part of a balanced approach to addressing the worst recession of our times.
In contrast, closing budget shortfalls entirely by cutting services hurts people in need, threatens the economic recovery by reducing overall demand, and fails to make needed investments in the future.