Lenawee County Commissioners – just proposed a millage increase

What does the Ave Maria School of Law have to do with a new tax hike?

If you watch the short video of the ribbon cutting ceremony, at about the half-way point Monaghan explains what happened to the school. Michigan born entrepreneur Tom Monaghan fought for five years trying to get rezoning to build a University and Law School in Michigan. Favorable zoning for the school was ultimately defeated. Naples Florida on the other hand, was much more business friendly. Dealing with the Florida County was an opposite experience from what he found in Michigan, says Monaghan.

Michigan and Counties et al can extinguish our home-grown resources, forcing multi-billion operations out-of-state while asking taxpayers to pay incentives like tax abatements and grants to lure (not yet viable) companies to Michigan. The 3.1 million dollar lure for BioDri comes to mind – thanks to the LEDC. It’s like paying someone to dig a ditch and then paying someone else to fill the ditch in. There has been no evidence – anywhere, that Economic Development works, because it doesn’t.

Recently Lenawee County Commissioners approved a November ballot proposal to impose a county-wide 0.28-mill tax on property owners to promote economic development in Lenawee County.  The Lenawee Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), which supports the proposal, is hosting town-hall meetings to explain the proposal.  All meetings will be from 7 to 8 p.m., with RSVP requested to the LEDC at 265-5141, or e-mail to andy@onelenawee.org .

Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Sept. 21 – Glass Room, Tecumseh Community Center, 703 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh

Sept. 28 – Blissfield American Legion, 451 High St., Blissfield

Oct. 5 – Hudson Community Center, 323 W. Main St., Hudson

Oct. 6 – Cambridge Township Hall, 9990 W. M-50, Cambridge Twp.

Oct. 12 – Clinton Village Offices, 119 E. Michigan Ave., Clinton

The previous alert came from the Lenawee 9.12 project. If you would like to sign up for their “Forum Fast Facts” alerts, email them at L912F@yahoo.com or visit them at their website, Lenawee912.org.

LEDC will not be explaining the proposal as much as they’re going to try to sell the proposal, they have an invested interest in passing this millage. However, the decision should ultimately boil down to what side of the economic fence you sit on. Do you agree with “supply side” economics or, do you adhere to “demand side” economics? By familiarizing ourselves with these two opposite economic principles every fiscal decision should fall into one theory or the other – making the decision easy.

I’ve provided some basics and some in-depth analysis bellow. The two principles are best epitomized by Friedrich A. Hayek for “supply side” or “bottom up” against John Maynard Keynes for “demand side” or “top down”. A really great and entertaining introduction to both comes in the form of rap video below (turn up your volume).

The most important question for you to answer is; Do you want your fate decided by the government, or do you want to be in charge of your destiny? Remember, in the world of mathematics, if an equation doesn’t work all the time…it doesn’t work period.

Desperate for Diversification
A brief history of Michigan’s economic development strategies

Why Keynesian Economics Is Internally Inconsistent

Famous Economist Inadvertently Blurts Out the Truth About Keynesian Economics

It’s time to decide!

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11 Responses to Lenawee County Commissioners – just proposed a millage increase

  1. Tom says:

    Ultimately, Tom Monaghan wasn’t able to get approval from the local Planning Commission due to him wanting to put up a 250 foot cross at his Ave Maria College. This caused an established college to move away, with all its cultural and economic benefits it provided to our state. Yet there has been a lot of county Planning Commissions, including my own here in Mason County, allowing scores of 500 foot wind turbines, which come with a host of additional problems, to go up in the county with the majority of the people lined up against them. Hypocrisy– kind of looks that way.
    Wind development and economic development, when you think about it, are actually closely related. The government gains more control and more tax money; favored businesses get tax breaks and tax subsidies; the people get more taxes and less control over their lives and their environment. While both prop up themselves as necessary and beneficial to all…

    • Robin says:

      You’re absolutely right on all accounts Tom! I was going to mention the industrial wind farms, but you went right to them. The connection/relation they have with economic development is the government creating unsustainable faux markets instead of the private sector producing real wealth. When the private sector invests their money, they make pretty sure there’s a reasonable chance to get a return (ROI) on their investment. A private entrepreneur is betting they have something of value…a better service or product to create massive appeal. A government venture…well, take a look at the post office vs. Fedex or UPS. The post office monopolized the market and made it illegal for anyone but USPS to deliver letters. Pick any government entity and stack it up against its privatized counterpart.

      Although, I don’t think I’m telling you anything new – you already get it. Keep up your great work, my hat’s off to you!

      • Kathy says:

        On September 12, 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act I requested some figures and some documents from the Lenawee County Economic Development Corp. Their response to
        me was, “The LEDC is a 501c6, private non-profit corp. and as such is NOT subject to Freedom of Information Act requests”. It was signed by Tim Robinson the Cheif Operating Officer who’s salary package is six figures from LEDC.

        LEDC can take our tax dollars and while they do so hide information from us. Isn’t that

        • Robin says:

          Kathy, yes it’s very interesting, thanks for sharing that information. This status is another convenient way to prevent us from following the money trail, a new trend to mix the private and public funds with public/private partnerships. Like you said, it’s also a creative way to circumvent the sunshine laws. Forget about not liking something they’ve spent funds on, they can say those were private funds used.

          My solution is to have more business friendly regulations, meaning un-regulating (less constrictive, less bureaucracy, fewer fees), lower tax rates and implement a “right to work” state. Instead of offering incentives for a few, why not make Michigan equally attractive for everyone? Let the free market weed out the good businesses from the bad. Reduce these unnecessary programs and the size of government, hence the cost of government. Finally, let the private sector organically re-build Michigan’s economy. Government got us into this economic mess. “Economic Development” keeps us in this mess because it doesn’t work, it’s not the government that creates wealth or jobs (or the entities in bed with government)…it’s the private sector that government has regulated out of the state that does create wealth, jobs and a vibrant economy.

          When the economy has tanked as much as Michigan’s, the first thing you lose are jobs as business conservation measures go into effect. After the loss of jobs, we lose the skilled workforce that has no choice but to migrate for employment elsewhere. If we rely on government to steer us out through micromanaging our economy, we’re essentially watching them let the chickens out of the pen only to spend valuable resources to lure them back again.

          Vote “NO” on the millage increase.

  2. Kathy says:

    Robin, I hope when it gets closer to the election you will write a letter to the editor of the Telegram. You need to write the same thing you have written in your blog. I’m finding out that most people don’t even know there is an election because they don’t read the artlcles about LEDC. Good job!

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, good job to you too Kathy. I suppose I can pare down my post to qualify for the character or word restriction for a letter to the editor.

      I sent an email to Commissioner Tuckerman and requested his presence and his opinion to the Town Hall meeting in Blissfield tonight. In his reply email, Mr. Tuckerman informed me, “I can tell by reading your e-mail that you’ve made a few assumptions about LEDC and its relationship to county government. Although I support the activity in which the LEDC is involved with its not a branch of county government. The LEDC is a 5013-C that is made up of a board of concerned citizens that are a cross section of people from through out Lenawee County.”

      Here is a list from the LEDC Lenawee Jobs Now Committee Members – the good cross section of concerned citizens Commissioner Tuckerman may have been referring to:

      Lenawee Jobs Now Committee Members
      Chair: Doug Kapnick, Board of Director for LEDC
      Treasurer: David Hickman, Treasurer for LEDC
      Pat Farver, Board of Director for LEDC
      Frank Dick, Executive Committee for LEDC, Chairman Emeritus, Gleaner Life Insurance Society
      Steve Krusich, Executive Committee for LEDC, Superintendent, Lenawee Intermediate School District
      Jim Van Doren, County Commissioner, Board of Director for LEDC (Vice Chair)
      Jim Philp, Executive Committee for LEDC, Superintendent, Lenawee Intermediate School District
      Dave Maxwell, Business Consultant for LEDC (is this the same Dave Maxwell? http://www.lenconnect.com/news/x2145965745/Town-hall-meeting-draws-those-for-and-against-health-care-reform?photo=0
      Joe Williams, Executive Committee LEDC, Lenawee County Chamber of Commerce
      Paul Heidbreder, Publisher Adrian Telegram, Board of Director for LEDC (Past Chair)
      Rick Gurdjian, Board of Directors for LEDC
      Tim Jakacki, Board of Directors for LEDC
      David Stimpson, K, County Commissioner, Executive Committee for LEDC
      Z Bolton, County Commissioner
      Janet McDowell, Executive Director of the Lenawee County Education Foundation and
      Ann Hinsdale-Knisel, Lenawee Intermediate School District

  3. Tom says:

    Over a year ago, Ludington (my city of interest) sent out 1300 income surveys so as to determine whether it would qualify for grants concerning upgrades to its sewer system. If we were poor enough we would have qualified for grants. The surveys were sent out by a non-profit organization Michigan RCAP which proudly boasts on its home page that it receives funding only from government agencies: “Services are funded by:
    * Department of Health and Human Services,
    Office of Community Services (HHS:OCS)
    * USDA Rural Development
    * U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
    Office of Water (USEPA)

    But our Ludington Community Development Director chose to ignore the protocols for this survey and sent it out using the homeowner’s list instead of the resident’s list without any pre-publicity about what it was for. And then when the results came back, we were declined, while only 42% of the households sent surveys had returned them, again a number less than protocols demanded. This was looked at in detail in this link: http://ludingtoncitizen.ning.com/forum/topics/does-this-income-survey-have-a?

    But even though I had some questions and requested some documents to the regional director of RCAP, a Michael Burrington, about the survey, the process, and whether the use of the homeowners list would mess up the validity of the process (which I sent via a FOIA Request), he replied: ” I regret to inform you that I cannot comply with your request. Michigan RCAP is not required to respond to FOIA requests.” Funny; on each survey sent out, they explicitly directed any questions about the survey to be directed his way.

    Unfortunately, the federal FOIA law effectively says that private organizations that receive federal funding assistance grants are not agencies for FOIA purposes unless there is extensive, detailed, and virtually day-to-day federal supervision over the organization.

    However, when the private organization’s records are acquired by an agency subject to the FOIA, the documents then become records of the acquiring agency and must be disclosed upon request. If you have a non-profit organization or group, such as the LEDC, that receives funding from some government agency that that group reports to, you can still possibly get some of the information you seek. I would suggest to Kathy, Robin, and any other involved individual to climb the funding ladder up to get the information you need.

  4. Kathy says:

    Thank you Tom.

    On September 19, 2011, after the LEDC denied my FOIA request I sent a FOIA to the County. I have not heard from them as of today. It will be interesting…

    • Tom says:

      Kathy, your welcome, and thank you for getting involved by seeking what many officials consider privileged information! You may already know that failure to respond to a FOIA request within 5 business days constitutes a public body’s final determination to deny the request [MCL 15.235(3)]. You can now either:
      (a) Submit to the head of the public body a written appeal that specifically states the word “appeal” . or
      (b) Commence an action in the circuit court to compel the public body’s disclosure of the public records within 180 days after a public body’s final determination to deny a request. or
      (c) Sit and stew about it.
      If time is of the essence, you’re sure the FOIA was properly sent, and you feel it is being ignored, I’d recommend (b), and perhaps get things rolling by the end of the week. At this point, it might still be ‘in the mail’, but by Friday that wouldn’t be the case.

      • Kathy says:

        Tom, shortly after my last comment (blog) yesterday, I received a phone call from the county administrators office. He was out of his office all last week and the mail piled up on his desk.
        He was very concerned that he had not responded to my FOIA within the 5 day period. This morning, eary, his office called and told me everything was ready and I could pick up the documents.
        I think alot of people don’t realize that all public documents are the People’s documents!

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