Portrait of a Tax Hiker: Mike Simpson (D-Liberty Township)
By Nick, Section News
Posted on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 09:29:24 AM EST
"Basically, this entire package was delivered by Democrats." - Andy Dillon, Detroit News, October 2, 2007.
This is the second in a series of looks at specific members of Dillon's tax hike caucus. The Democrats hold a 58-52 lead in the House. A shift of just four seats returns control to the Republicans, a caucus, for what it's worth, that held the line in impressive fashion against the Democrats' tax and spend gambit. According to Andy Dillon anyways.
Four seats is more than doable. A move to a common sense approach that protects jobs and Michigan families is doable. Just a matter of getting rid of a few bad apples. Today we take a look at Jackson County and the first of two conservative districts with tax-and-spend liberal Democrat state Reps.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE SIMPSON (D-LIBERTY TOWNSHIP)
Just when you start to doubt the idea that every vote makes a difference you meet someone like tax-and-spend liberal Rep. Mike Simpson. The Brooklyn area native is serving his first term in the Michigan House after eaking out a narrow 1,600 vote victory over Leslie Mortimer during last fall's Democrat tsunami.
But for every doubt an election result like that puts to rest, it stirs another to vibrant life. The doubt, for instance, that any Michigan Democrat can be trusted when they say they don't want to raise your taxes.
Late last Sunday night Simpson joined his colleagues in voting YES on HB 5198, a bill that raises taxes on Michigan job makers by $613 million. This followed a campaign that saw him promise to eliminate taxes (the SBT), reduce and consolidate government spending and to defend Michigan small business owners.
And it was followed by this statement.
When the question of a sales tax on certain services was brought into the negotiations, I agreed to support it ONLY if the tax would be on a very limited number of services...
That very limited number of services included, of course:
Astrology services, carpet cleaning, consulting services, investigation, guard and armored car services, janitorial services, commercial landscaping services, baby-shoe bronzing, bail bonding, balloon-o-grams, coin-operated blood pressure testing, coat check room services, concierge services, dating services, escorts, fortune telling, house sitting, coin-operated locker rental, palm reading, party planning, porter services, psychic services, restroom operation services, shoe shines, singing telegrams, wedding planning, wedding chapel services, scenic transportation services, skiing services, tour operator services, personal care services, security system services, mini-warehouse and self-storage unit services, business service center services, investment advice, consumer-buying services, discount-buying services, genealogical investigation, social introduction services, numerology services, pay telephone services, personal fitness training, personal shopping services, coin-operated photographic machines, phrenology services, packaging and labeling, specialized design services, passenger and ground transportation services, courier and messenger services and document preparation.
But the sad reality with Simpson, like so many of his colleagues in the House Democrat caucus, is that his support for massive tax-hikes during a single-state depression (7.4% unemployment rate anybody?) is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to broken promises and disastrous public policy.
Take Simpson's pre-election discussion with the Lansing State Journal :
LSJ: What are voters top three concerns and how would you address them?
SIMPSON: JOBS- Total business tax review, seek "new-tech" jobs and open a trash reclamation facility in Jackson County, which would create approximately 200-300 jobs.
HEALTHCARE-Create "risk assurance pools" and "2nd generation MSA's."
SMALLER GOV'T-Downsize the state legislature through a constitutional amendment by merging the Senate and the House into a one-house General Assembly with 60 seats. The plan would reduce the state legislature by 88 seats, give the remaining 60 seats a 10% pay cut and make all future pay raises subject to voter approval. The plan would save the taxpayers of Michigan approximately 50 million dollars annually.
Oh those pesky pre-election interviews... mix them with the internet and voters all over the state might find out how full of... bologna sandwiches... a candidate really was.
Lets take a look at how Simpson has delivered thus far.
Smaller government. Well, $613 million in new taxes not withstanding how's he delivered on those other promises? Saving taxpayers 50 million dollars. Not quite. Subjecting future legislative pay raises to voter approval. Nope. Downsizing the legislature through a constitutional amendment? Hardly. He strikes out there.
What about healthcare... he wanted to create "risk assurance pools." Actually, Simpson had a chance on this one. The House approved SB 418, a bill to save the state of Michigan $200-400 million a year by ending handouts to Democrat special interests at the MEA via MESSA. It accomplished that by allowing local school districts to get together, form pools and collectively bargain for better prices at huge overall savings.
Simpson voted no. Not exactly living up to those campaign promises so far.
But he'll hit one out of the park on jobs. After all, he'll tell anyone who'll listen that he's a small business owner himself. He knows what it takes to create jobs. He must. And he really likes those "new-tech" jobs.
Which is why it's so hard to fathom his decision to take a leadership role on the Democrats' attempt to repeal Michigan's FDA defense law by sponsoring HB 4044.
By way of background, and I've said this before, drug companies create drugs. They research them, they test them, they rework the formulas, they test them again and once they have something that will save lives or improve quality of life they send it along to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their own testing and approval.
The FDA tests these drugs. They make sure they do what the drug companies say they do. They make sure they're safe for use under a doctor's supervision and that all of the correct interaction and warning labels are properly applied and ready for marketing. Then it's back on to the drug companies to sell them in compliance with those FDA standards.
In Michigan, if you believe the warning labels misrepresented the risk, or you think the drug company foisted something on you fraudulently you go to the FDA, you tell them what happened (they take these sorts of things seriously) and if the FDA figures out the company really did misrepresent their drugs or didn't tell the whole story about them then you get to sue!
So what's Simpson's deal all about? He thought it'd be nice if you could sue for millions because you catch a sniffle. He's encouraging frivolous lawsuits and looking out for his trial lawyer buddies by trying to repeal the FDA defense law enabling anyone to sue any drug company for any reason, whether they met every single FDA standard or not.
You know how governor Granholm's always talking about life sciences and incubators and new economies? So much for that.
MichBio reports that more than 540 life science companies are up and running in Michigan. They've got over 30,000 employees creating drugs to save lives.
Now take those companies, already limping through Granholm's single-state depression and take the leash off the trial lawyers. Sure, some of the companies will survive. Lots of them won't.
And believe me, when they go away, it's a big deal. Remember Pfizer?
But Mike Simpson wasn't done. He then cosponsored HB 4045, a measure one-upping his own legislation by making it retroactive!
Yep, Simpson wants Michigan businesses to be sued for things they did years ago under a different set of rules! That'll be good for business. And there aren't any Constitutional issues at all.
And there is nothing... absolutely nothing... that job makers in other states looking to expand like more than a legislature that votes to raise their taxes AND threaten to change the rules on them years down the road so that the trial lawyers can rip them to shreds. Really inspires confidence in the business community.
One heck of a record Mike Simpson's compiled since taking the oath of office back in January. 1,600 votes away from getting he and his crippling economic policies out of Lansing.