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home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016


6/5/2010 5:13:00 PM
Letter: Would the last person leaving please turn out the lights?

Editor:

The last time I was in Michigan I landed in Flint. I would estimate that every other business and every third home I passed were vacant and boarded up. It appeared that the best business in Michigan had to be the plywood business. I was appalled to find out, while reading the news, that the state, already with some of the highest taxes in the country, was trying to pass an additional 10-percent surcharge on all business taxes, meaning an extra $100 on top of every $1,000 paid.

I was simply unable to wrap my mind around this type of anti-business thinking. Michigan is losing population for good reason, but now comes news from there that a Republican in the state senate, Sen. Bruce Patterson, introduced a bill early this month, Senate Bill 1285, that “would require customers to pay a deposit on each newspaper they purchase equal to one-half the retail price of the newspaper. Newspapers would be required to be returned to a redemption center, with each publisher in the state required to operate at least one such center.”

What really surprised me to read this item is that Michigan has recycling programs, most communities offering curbside recycling that include newspapers. If there is no curbside pickup, in most cases there is a recycling center within a reasonable distance.

As it turns out, this is a back-door tax designed to raise taxes for the schools. With a diminishing population you would think cutbacks would keep pace -- but not in Michigan. The bill requires that all unclaimed deposits be claimed by the state and deposited in the school aid fund. If passed, we may hear the death-rattle from the newspaper industry in Michigan. The entire national industry “is already facing immense pressure from decreased advertising revenues and the proliferation of online information. If this bill were to become law it would seal their fate.”

To paraphrase a long ago Seattle, Wash., billboard, “Would the last person leaving Michigan please turn out the lights?”

Jim Barber

Camp Verde



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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2010
Article comment by: cogito ergosumatra

This is one of those wonderful "straw man" arguments that Mr. Barber loves to make.

You cite an event that might happen, in this case a piece of legislation in another state that has little chance of passing, and proceed with your argument as if the law has passed and is an indication of general decline in some false value.

It's a time-tested demagogic tool that's used when there are no actual facts available to support your paranoia.

Imagine using all the hare-brained examples of poor legislation floated in the last year in Arizona as proof of a decline in our values. The real lesson is that these failed, just as the newspaper deposit will fail, thereby proving that there are still thinking people in the world.




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