Sunday, October 12, 2008

Young, McMillin focus on fix for business tax

I had the opportunity to speak to Tom McMillin briefly at the OPC candidate luncheon last week. McMcillin is a radical on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. Those issues haven't come up in debates or articles, but there is an incident that got some attention when L. Brooks Patterson kissed McMillin mocking McMillin's extreme homphobia. When I asked McMillin about the incident, he said, "He missed." meaning Patterson missed McMillin's lips when he tried to kiss him.

Patterson sat at my table during the luncheon for a few minutes and I got to ask him about his endorsing McMilling and his reply, "He's the party candidate," meaning, I have to endorse him, we're both Republicans. Hardly a ringing endorsement. McMillin also has had trouble playing with others while on the County Commission.

House candidates focus on fix for business tax
By ANNETTE KINGSBURY • ECCENTRIC Staff Writer • October 12, 2008

This is the first in a series of stories on issues in the race to represent the 45th state House District, which includes Oakland Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills Republican Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills and Democrat Randy Young of Rochester are running for the open seat.

If there's anything the two candidates for the 45th state House District agree on, it's that the Michigan Business Tax has problems.

Republican Tom McMillin is a certified public accountant; Democrat Randy Young is a college professor and vice president of a financial services firm. Both men place criticism of the MBT front and center in their campaigns.

The unpopular MBT was enacted in 2007 in the midst of a state budget crisis to replace the unpopular Single Business Tax. A 22-percent surcharge was later added to replace a tax on services.

In a televised debate and in interviews with the Eccentric, both candidates said reforming the MBT is a top priority. McMillin says Democrats, led by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, raised taxes at the worst possible time.

"We just increased taxes last year in the midst of the worst economy," McMillin said. He wants to repeal the surcharge and cut state spending. "If we freeze spending for two years, we'd be able to roll back personal taxes."

Young says finger-pointing is counterproductive and the MBT is just too complicated.

"The starting point has to be getting everyone on board with the idea that we need a tax that is less complex," he said. "This tax was put together so quickly and with a gun to everybody's head. It's really no way to legislate, especially something this important."


Both candidates point out that the MBT, as currently written, forces businesses to pay tax on sales taxes they collect for the state, which are counted as part of their gross receipts. They agree that provision should be repealed, and the state Senate has approved a bill to do just that. The Senate has also approved a bill that would phase out the surcharge over three years. Both bills would significantly reduce state revenue.

McMillin says spending cuts can be achieved by opening up the books so the budget can truly be scrutinized.

"I think we need that in Michigan," he said. "I've always had suspicion in government, and the more light we can shine on that, the better. ... Transparency in how we spend our money is critical."

McMillin said he won't budge when it comes to raising taxes.

"He says that because he knows that's what voters want to hear," Young counters. "From a philosophical perspective, I will come short of pledging not to raise taxes. That's political pandering at its worst. ... I think it's irresponsible actually for a legislator to make that pledge." Click here for the rest of the article

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