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Ignoring ticket tax as revenue source is irresponsible


Last week Governor Jennifer Granholm put a proposal on the table to charge sales tax for tickets to concerts, sporting events, movies and other attractions.

Michigan’s Senate Republicans, who hold the majority in the state senate, quickly spoke out against the proposal and on a sports-talk radio show last week, I heard two say the ticket tax proposal is a bad idea and definitely didn’t come out of the Michigan Senate.

It should have.

Charging six-percent sales tax on tickets to these events is not only a viable option for increasing the state’s revenue, but one I feel the state legislature would be foolish not to heavily consider.

As some of my friends know, I love going to concerts. From 2006-08, I went to 12 different concerts, mostly in the Detroit area.

If I would’ve been charged sales tax on the tickets, know how many I would have went to?

That’s right, 12.

So the idea of taxing tickets didn’t come out of the Senate, but what did?

Of course, that would be more cuts to education, fresh out of the chamber that cut state funding for pre-k.

This time, instead of just aiming at young children, the Senate set its eyes on college students and school districts as a whole, by attempting to cut the Michigan Promise Scholarship altogether (thankfully this didn’t go through, although it was cut) and trimming other financial aid; and by knocking down the per pupil allowance by $218 (kudos to Sen. Barcia for standing up for students by voting against the proposed cuts in committee).

And this seems to be a common talking point from those opposing the ticket tax:

“We can’t balance the budget on the backs of our young people.”

Lies. Cutting education puts quite a burden on the back of young people. I’ve said it before – unfortunately the auto industry isn’t strong enough to provide the state with a plethora of jobs, like it did in the past. Instead, we hear government officials talk about bringing in all these high-tech, 21st century, advanced businesses.

Whose going to be qualified to work at these places if the cuts to education continue? Any Michigan students?

Sales tax wouldn’t prevent people from going to concerts just like increasing taxes on tobacco hasn’t led to a smoke-free Michigan. People skip out on concerts because they’re too busy, gas would cost too much to make the trip (especially for someone like me, traveling from Standish to Detroit), or the tickets, as priced, are too expensive.

Just like when someone stops buying cigarettes, it’s usually not because of the tax, but because they want to quit smoking.

Let’s do a little basic math.

Most concerts I’ve attended, the tickets have cost about $35 a piece, and there were probably 5,000 people at the average one. The Michigan sales tax on the $35 tickets would mean another $2.10 would be tacked on to the ticket.

Multiply that by 5,000 people in attendance and you get $10,500. Keep in mind that there are tons of concerts in Michigan every year and some have much higher ticket prices, and you can start to see this as a major money maker for the state. Also, remember this would include tickets to watch the Tigers, Red Wings, Lions and Pistons or go to a movie.

I think the Michigan Senate was hoping it already did enough damage to education to make sure that nobody could do the math I just did.

Too late guys.

tim barnum


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Why is the reponse to steal more money from the publics pcket to give to the politicians to spend irrisponsibly? In a time of so many jobless, and people not getting raises and needing to make cutbacks, what gives them the right to expect more from us? Try maybe making some actual cutbacks, shut down some things, postpone some things. Dont cut public safety, which is always the knee jerk reaction, because that works as a great scare tactic, were not all so stupid that we can't figure that out.

Our politicians make well above the average wage and from what I've seen are totally incompetant, based on the fact that the budget is so far out of whack. Leave the money in our pockets for once, they work for US, not the other way around!!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 | Report this

Our elected officials are cutting safety, education, prisons. Yet they continue to spend taxpayer money foolishly.

Last week Department of Human Services had another conference. This one was held at Mackinaw Island. TV5 did a short story about it. They didn't report about the members of DHS from Arenac County that went, only members from Bay and Midland Counties.

This whole conference cost over $30,000 of taxpayer money. This was only one little sliver of the big pie. What is the overall cost of these conferences in all departments?

Both the republicans and the democrats knew about this conference and no one did anything to stop it. Calls were made to elected officials who just blew it off. They claimed it was only pennies in a bucket.

Why do we need to have more taxes when our elected officals allow this type of waste? This could have easily been a teleconference.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 | Report this

How about returning a huge chunk of money to the people by requiring representatives earn their money some other way than by being politicians.

If there was no payment for being a representative, maybe we would have people doing the work who could make decent decisions and with no state or federal cost for representative wages then maybe we would have more money for jobs.

Now there's an idea we can all imagine our country's representative putting their weight behind! ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2009 | Report this

Our governor said that we would be blown away. She was right. This state is being blown away at a record setting pace. Now she wants to tax the amusements that folks have to try to forget the big mess that we have. Next she will want to tax food and medications. Time for her to blow away to some other place where there is more damage to be done.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | Report this

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