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June 07, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-06-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 -- The Michigan Daily - Monday. June 7, 1999
Edited and managed by EMiLY ACHENBAUM NICK WOOMER
students at the , Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
Q a University of Michigan
,'LUnless Othewise nned, unsigned editorials rlect theopinon al h
420 M aynard Street ioitii othe Dais eciii ioiaiboaud Allotier artiiceslettemr and
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 iiiiiiidoinot iec.,.iiiiilcr etheiipiioflTh iiixiDily.

A s Michigan's budget surplus continues
to rise, Gov. John Engler announced
plans Wednesday to give the money back --
to large businesses. Dismissing a
Democratic plan to return $50 to every tax-
payer, Engler instead proposed to reduce the
Single Business Tax, a reviled levy that
brings in $2.7 billion in annual revenue for
the state, over a 23-year period. ,
Since its inception in 1976, the SBT has
been amended so that most of the burden has
been shifted away from smaller businesses
and towards out-of-state companies operat-
ing in Michigan. Engler has already reduced
the tax six times since 1991.
There appears to be a general consensus,
at both ends of the political spectrum, that
some of the surplus should be given back -
only the logistics of the return are in ques-
tion. As bills to reform the SBT are intro-
duced over the next few days, lawmakers
should carefully consider whether the sorry
state of public education in Michigan war-
rants a tax cut in the first place and kill cuts

Risky tax cut for businesses helps few

to the SBT in favor of a more egalitaian
refund for taxpayers.
Before lawmakers even think about tax
cuts, they must consider the state of public
education in Michigan. Currently state fund-
ing for prisons is higher than funding for
schools. While respectable increases in state
funding for universities and health-care pro-
grams will claim a significant chunk of the
budget surplus, the quality of public educa-
tion in Michigan remains poor -- especially
in the inner-cities and rural areas. The bud-
get surplus has put the state in the perfect
position to increase funding for public
schools across the state.
It has been suggested by some that a tax
refund should be given in proportion to the
amount of taxes paid, but this line of thought

ignores the needs of average citizens who
can use a tax refund more than wealthier tax-
The argument against the SBT is largely
economic - out-of-state businesses are dis-
couraged from investing in Michigan
because of the SBT, and that a cut on the
spised tax will create jobs and benefit
workers and companies alike. The economic
theory behind the proposal may or may not
be sound, but it ignores the immediate needs
of the majority of Michigan's citizens.
Booming economy or not, most people
still have plenty of financial worries
loans, payments, and bills all need to bV paid
off. $50 may not arnount to much for a per-
son making a six-digit salary, but to the aver-
age individual earning $20,000 to $25,000 a

year, $50 can be a serious boon.
Whether cutting the SBT will bring
more jobs to Michigan eventually is irrel-
evant when plenty of people can use a tax
refund now. Engler's proposal would cu
the SBT over a period of 23 years_- push-
ing any significant benefits for people
other than wealthy business owners far
into the future. In the meantime, lawmak-
ers will have to hope that businesses actu-
ally flock to Michigan as the SBT is cut at
a rate that will make up for the eventual
loss of the $2.7 billion in revenue the SBT
draws in.
Cutting the SBT is an unnecessarily
dangerous proposal that only offers the
possibility of benefits to the average indig
vicual over a long period of time. While
Engler gambles $2.7 billion on a tax break
for wealthy businesses, public schools con-
tinue to rot and normal citizens continue to
struggle to pay their bills. Lawmakers
ought to make schools and working people
their first priority.

Character faw
Community should support local businesses
A fter serving the community for 66 ber of options available to consumers.
years, Campus Bike and Toys - a Since the large chain stores attract so
landmark in Ann Arbor -- has been many customers, they have the ability to
forced to relocate from its present loca- control the products that make up the
tion on East William Street to the out- market. But the selection of rare r per-
skirts of Ann Arbor. sonalized items suflers because they fail
This muse frrther signifi.s tlic cdmi- to ring ulp arge sales, puiting them in
nation cif lay ctait stnres itin Ani even icre cf a tiche maket that is ci
Arbor that hs for,.cd many' saxli indhe- fcicii io ii tare hasiness io bcnrit
pc-ndet binsses t0 eircos c in frm.
This is as unforuna- busie. iien hoss bsisstntoalcisisa
that ihacn i h d'iveri0 'I 1rdcsraiyo freetr0s.Btteted

N " good enough.
Anti-crime program must be amended
Tn 1997, Virginia lawmakers created questionable net gain for the Nation's
i"Project Exile" to deal with the state's justice system.
high per-capita murder rate. Under the The worst flaw inherent in the current
program, when convicted felos are form of Project Exile is that it is direct-
caught caryix gxm. they are chired ed almost entirely towards inner-city
wii i feelera Iofense iInstead of a state crimte oxrwhelitingly subjecting
lieunsc t mLiig it easier f7r pirisec- iicat Amciics to t sugh iiecution
turs to secure- a cnxic'ti oh n ai sxiffccxr x u i cii i iI feb is ftc' a 'to lcO
iete ce. 'As c a xr en' nvi i t ch nO an0 ith'I l'iter
id thmsevs sr i cm iwa senecs 1 i sbmi ccii
edr pisos hi riinalIs vwho . lom ihe
Sixh rgrmsicp iontw sam rIm ii iurlhirgii ma It al
yeas obemude rteinRiluon, heii time hir inncr-city con rIr


ciownx aftet 22 yer of qperaatin ci,.' to
Bike and Toys has not been a result of
the arrival of a direct competitor, as in
the case of Schoolkid's Records, it has
been the victim of many large chain
stores setting up on the outskirts of Ann
Arbor. These stores offer the advantage
of a large variety of products along xith
numerous parking spaces soitxetlxit
that the ceiter of Ann Arbor lacks.
Consumers turn to the large chain stces
due to tela eotxxeriiences they offer attd
htave tnded tc overlook smalle riide-
pendeIr stcres in dwntvix Attn Arboi
The coufi xl dcx elnixxic cf scc a
scixacin xx ll ex'ext aly redctce ste inim-

s Th"Moainad lsn fid-
pendn siloaxres becausex of ccimlpetitioxnx
Irom ltrge chains is afen dimg trecd.
hle ciainIs have the right tobseek xusi-
ness, it is unfortunate that their success
comes at the expense of independently
owned establishments.
The identity of Ann Arbor has, over
the years, developed around small inde-
pendent stores. Losing another part of
its character is extremely damaging for
Ann Arbor, something that threatens the
future survival of the remaining inde-
pendent businesses.
The commuity should make an
effort to support independent businesses
to iti theixx iec Att A rbor. The
closure or relcati x ise stoxes will
bring the at!xtxphcrc u m Abo' with

1 o, 1 0 e(. xixI .iiuit the
Pojec e has eoded the lc cal
courts with smallttxxe local crime.
\hile these courts taxe a better chance
of putting such criminals away for long
periods of time, sometimes for twice as
long as a state sentence which usually
includes extensive parole time, the fed-
eral courts are beginning to experience
the backlogs that local courts already
suffer. This leads to long waits for trials,
meaning that criminals who post bail
will be back on the streets.
As a result of the backlog, more seri-
ous federal crimes can not be tried as
quickly. To sosic extent, the local
authorities ate lihteini their own
heads by 'dutpig ' thee criminal on
feclesal judges it the end, the sacifice
in federal trials ;puediness ads up to a

eecx ica Atmeiticans
M1,ever sce ie crimias cas's
Ire her btie federaI juies wich
drawsxc xri the etntiie se, th m ostly
bck efedxaitface juisic tht Are, on
ixcrge, 91) 5erceit xxite. f ht cactors
coralmrme to miAke Project Exil iherent-
ly racist in nature.
On face, Project Exile is a good idea.
It targets violent, gun-totixg criminals
and prosecutes then severely so that
they will not get the chance to harm peo-
ple again for a long time. To some extent
it has worked, reducing the murder rate
in Richmond by 32 percent it its two
years of application
Project Exile is packing criinials
into an already overcrowded, over-
worked federal system and unacceptably
targeting African Americans while try-
ing the cuider mostly white juies. Th
laws Ihiercnt t Project Exile are cleam
at r ic cIties ixeed to reex lu'tte iland
aend the plan before they ihplheixeit it
themsetx es

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