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SBAM Board unanimously supports road tax plan

February 10, 2015

Article courtesy of MIRS News Service

The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) today became the third major business group to support the May 5 road funding ballot question, Proposal 1.

The SBAM’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support a “yes” vote, joining the Business Leaders for Michigan and the Detroit Chamber of Commerce in supporting the initiative.

“We strongly believe that increased transportation funding is a crucial investment in moving Michigan forward with continued economic growth,” said SBAM Board Chair Bonnie Alfonso, owner of Alfie-Logo Gear for Work & Play of Traverse City. “Better roads and a reliable transportation infrastructure are critical to a functioning economy and thriving small businesses. We urge our 23,000 members across the state, and all Michigan voters, to approve this proposal on May 5.”

SBAM also liked the additional education funding component of the ballot question, based on the expectation that the money will go to the skilled trades training.

Proposal 1 isn’t the “perfect or ideal solution,” said SBAM President and CEO Rob FOWLER, “but it’s the one on the table.”

“It represents a bipartisan compromise by lawmakers, and given the urgency of our road funding needs, it’s not prudent to go back to the drawing table for other options,” Fowler said. “Michigan needs to fix its roads and bridges, and Prop 1 will do the job.”

Yes Vote Looking To Be Visible Next Week
The “yes” campaign for Proposal 1 is expected to become much more visible starting next week, MIRS has learned. It’s expected the major funders in that effort will be the state’s road builders, but the group will not disclose how much they will contribute to this uphill effort.

Lance BINONIEMI, who lobbies for Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, confirmed what others have said will be a targeted voter campaign.

“We have a lot of educating to do to all Michigan households, not just union or non-union but every Michigan household,” he said, adding. “We have a very targeted audience.”

In other words, the campaign knows who might vote yes and it will go after those citizens.

The campaign expects a low voter turn out and there’s a debate over which side that favors. Binonimei said he is not an expert and does not know which way it cuts but he believes, “We have 90 days and that’s plenty of time . . . we are not in trouble . . . we will hit the ground running.”

Mitchell Group Starting Literature Distribution
The anti-Proposal 1 group lead by former congressional candidate Paul MITCHELL announced today his group has begun distributing “thousands of pieces” of literature against the May 5 ballot question.

The Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals also has begun social media advertising and a grassroots organization, Mitchell said. The website is due to be unveiled next Monday.

Yob Launches New ‘No’ Group
Political strategist John YOB of Strategic National announced today the creation of a new anti-Proposal 1 group called “Citizens Against Middle Class Tax Increases,” marking at least the fifth such independent effort.

The new group will start off using digital and “on-the-ground tactics” to bring out the no vote, but television ads are also in the cards, Yob said. The goal is to organize statewide grassroots effort with leadership in every Michigan county.

“This will be a comprehensive effort to communicate the concerns of struggling middle class voters about this $1 billion tax increase,” Yob said.

Formerly an advisor for Gov. Rick SNYDER, who supports Proposal 1, Yob said he “still loves the Governor, but not the proposal.”

Currently, Yob is the national political director and chief political strategist for the leadership PAC of U.S. Sen. Rand PAUL, a likely presidential candidate.

Anderson Updates Analysis
Anderson Economic Group (AEG) CEO Patrick ANDERSON today added more source material to his Proposal 1 analysis that concluded taxpayers who itemize their deductions on federal tax returns would no longer be able to write off their driver registration fees if Proposal 1 passes.

The total impact to Michigan taxpayers, he said, is $102 million in lost deductions, he said.

After Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY questioned Anderson’s conclusion, Anderson vowed to cite more information that backs up his conclusion. Today Anderson did, using cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, Michigan Supreme Court, Internal Revenue Code, Code of Federal Regulations and Michigan Attorney General to make his argument.  

Calley argues that even if Anderson is right, the Legislature would swiftly make the necessary charges to make driver registration fees tax deductible (See “Anderson Doubles Down On Driver Fee Argument,” 1/30/15). 

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