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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Response to Phil Pavlov's Editorial in Sundays Port Huron Times Herald

Photo credit - Lady Liberty Facebook Wall Photo

Mr Pavlov: "Michigan has had emergency manager laws in place since 1990 because local government insolvency is ultimately a statewide problem. The alternative is bankruptcy, which is truly the elimination of democracy in a community.

If bankruptcy were to occur, a single judge from the federal government would wield far more power than any emergency financial manager ever could. As a state legislator, I represent the people of my community, but I also represent the interests of Michigan.

The Local Government and School District Accountability Act (Public Act 4) identifies signs of trouble sooner, restores financial stability more quickly, and gives taxpayers and job creators confidence that a troubled city or school district will turn around."

If PA 4 was an Emergency Financial Adviser that went in and worked with the elected officials that would be one thing - but it is not they go in and make the elected official impotent. While bankruptcy would not be pretty and one judge would oversee the process it does not violate peoples right to representation by making their elected officials impotent and replacing them with a dictator. Bankruptcy is a protective restructuring that allows for the organized liquidation of assess by the debtor according to a negotiate settlement that is overseen by a judge. The judge does not undermine the right to self-determination when overseeing municipal bankruptcy, nor does the judge adjudicate the dissolution of communities for the purposes of satisfying credit obligations. The only part a judge actually plays id to ensure that both parties are negotiating within the limits of the law.

Mr. Pavlov: "The budget proposed this week would raise education funding at all levels, with a more than $110 million increase for K-12 schools alone. That money will go to schools that can measure results and growth for students in the classroom."

As for schools you and your colleges cut vital funding to our schools needed to help them make improvements and reforms. You have voted to take our school tax dollars and give them to for-profit unregulated charter and cyber schools. Schools our locally elected school boards will have not have any oversight or control over - while stealing valuable funds for their local public schools they are responsible for. You have proposed that school districts should have the option to hire teachers from private for-profits companies. When asked about classroom size - you said that keeping classroom size down was important, but everything you are doing with regards to funding our public schools is increasing classroom size and forcing them to do more with less - charter schools can set what ever classroom size they want and limit enrollment. My questions are: Does this "increase" restore funding to where it was? It is a long-term increase or just one year? Based on your comments regarding "measuring results and growth" - who gets the money? Two articles I have read say that when the numbers are actually run - it ends up being a cut not and increase:

Mr Pavlov: "Our unemployed are finding the tools necessary to retrain and go back to work, and our unemployment rate has dropped below double digits for the first time since 2008."

For those who are unemployed you voted to shorten their unemployment benefits and take away their tax credit for tuition and fees.

Mr Pavlov: "We have eliminated the jobs-killing Michigan business tax, and now have a structurally sound budget that gives job creators and investors the confidence to build and grow."

Good luck with that, you lowered taxes on businesses and corporations and increased them on the poor, the working class and retirees - we know what that means less money in their pockets to spend = less demand = less jobs. Now you want to raise the gas tax and increase registration fees by 67% - another tax that will take more money out of our pockets and therefore the economy.

The only tax reduction passed was the elimination of the corporate income tax. Everything else in the tax bill will mean a tax increase or lower refund for every poor, working class or retiree taxpayer in the state.

• Repeal of the public pension exclusion for taxpayers born on or after Jan. 1, 1946;
• Repeal of the pension exemption amount for private pensions and annuities;
• Repeal of other special exemptions for seniors;
• Repeal of special exemption for unemployment compensation greater than 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI);
• Repeals the $600 deduction for children 18 and under;
• Repeals the credit for city income taxes;
• Repeals the credit for public contributions, contributions to homeless shelters, food banks, and community foundations;
• Repeals the credit for contributions to medical savings accounts;
• Repeals the credit for college tuition and fees;
• Phases out the personal exemption beginning at $75,000 of household resources for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers;
• Elimination or reduction of the homestead tax credit, based on new guidelines for a homes taxable value and income level;

Mr Pavlov: "Thanks to the sacrifices we all made, we now have additional resources to place in critical areas of need for the long-term: education, public safety, and struggling local governments."

I am not above a little sacrifice to help fix Michigan - but it needs to be shared. Where have you and your fellow legislators sacrificed - did you give up some pay, some benefits, ANYTHING???

Mr Pavlov: "I am committed to making certain you are informed and a part of Michigan's reinvention, as we still have work ahead of us. I encourage you to stand with me by sharing your ideas and suggestions as to how we can continue to make Michigan a place where our families can live, work and play without being plagued by the financial instability of our past decade."

Keeping us informed?

How by using editorials and opinion articles to justify your (Great Lakes Education Project, Mackinac Center, Americans for Prosperity, etc) positions?

Share our ideas and suggestions?

How people who post their ideas, suggestions or comments on your face book page are either ignored, deleted or banned. I have been to several of your town halls - you never really answer a question - other than with talking points.

Families can live and play without being plagued with financial instability?

The financial instability is just beginning thanks to the new tax law. While business and corporations will be paying less taxes the poor, working families and retirees will be paying more. I am sure the cost of living will not be going down. We will have less money to spend just to make ends meet let alone to spend on other things. Demand is what makes the economy grow and creates jobs - not tax cuts for corporations. We Mr. Pavlov are the job creators - the ones who spend money on goods and services - Less Money = Less Spending = Less Demand = Less Jobs.

There needs to be an article written "Phil Pavlov's claim to represent his constituents raises doubts - Constituents or Donors?"

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