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Incoming Michigan GOP ponders aggressive tax reform

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November 19, 2010

By Christopher Bedford

LANSING, Michigan: One of the first parts of Governor-elect Rick Snyder's (R) 10-point reform plan --to cut the complicated Michigan business tax code, replacing it with a flat 6% business tax-- is being investigated by a hesitant state GOP.[1]

Republicans are skeptical, and know that details will need to be discussed over a series of meetings involving the legislature and governor. "The thing about Rick's 10-point plan," says new Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), "is that it's not real specific."[2]

Republican lawmakers also understand that, as one of the 20 states with a trifecta (GOP control of both houses of congress as well as the governorship), blame for any unpopular moves will fall squarely on the party in the state's 2012 elections, while a Democratic minority can duck any fallout, continuing state partisanship with a "no" vote on Snyder's proposals.[1]

Michigan House of Representatives
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 65 47
     Republican Party 42 63
     Vacancy 3 -
Total 110 110

Michigan State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 16 12
     Republican Party 22 26
Total 38 38

Snyder, a multimillionaire businessman and political rookie, aims to cut $1.5 billion in taxes from the business tax and another $1 billion in taxes from their equipment and material costs, betting his intentionally aggressive plan will stimulate Michigan's lagging economy at the time of a $3 billion state deficit.[3]

"Unfortunately, we don't have the time or luxury for compromise," says Michigan Republican party Chairman Ron Weiser. "People want us to change the culture in Lansing and make substantial change."[3]