Mike McGonegal for the Michigan House

Mike McGonegal is running for the Michigan House of Representatives from the 66th District, and this is his official campaign blog. It is monitored and posted b y his Communications Director.


It was raining candidates at Melonfest

Word of the day.

i·ro·ny - Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain).

For those of you braved the misting rain and took in the Melonfest Parade Saturday in downtown Howell you got the opportunity to see most of the candidates we will be voting for on Nov. 7.

Among those I saw in the parade were Carol Hackett Garagiola, Judge Theresa Brennan, Judge Stan Latreille, Jay Drick, Carol Sue Reader, Valde Garcia, Donna Anderson, Mary Andersson, Jim Marcinkowski, Mike Rogers and even Mike Cox was in the parade. Mike McGonegal was there, of course, meeting and shaking hands before, during and after the parade. However, the one person I didn’t see was Chris Ward.

His campaign cash was present, however. Volunteers passed out fortune cookies with the fortune saying Vote for Chris Ward and red, plastic fire hats with Ward stickers in place of the badge. My two little granddaughters wore them because they didn’t know any better. They had no idea he does not have their futures in mind in while in Lansing.

I’m sure with the money he gets from the lobbyists and special interest groups he really represents he can buy a lot of those cheap, plastic hats, but it makes you wonder how much it will cost to get direct contact with him by the people who actually vote.

The only thing Mike was giving out was his time and his ear. As you saw from the last blog entry, to get Ward’s ear it will cost you one of those very expensive burgers, at a minimum.

Upon a closer examination of the fire hats a little golden sticker about the size of your pinky fingernail caught my eye; it read “Made in China.” But that was not really the most disturbing thing about the hats.

The irony of Ward giving out fire hats in light of his irresponsible vote last week to eliminate the Single Business Tax with no replacement in sight was not lost on me.

It will blow a huge $2 billon hole in the state budget, and much of that money would have gone to local governments in the form of revenue sharing that is used to help fund essential local services like police and fire protection.

That brings us back to our word of the day, Irony.


At 9:05 PM, Blogger Big Kahuna said...

Oh come on Mike, you can do better than that, can't you? Isn't a campaign about ideas? Hats that say made in China, tired old burger comments, blah, blah. This is the reason there is apathy at the polls. Name calling and an unwillingness to talk about important issues.

I believe that the repeal of the SBT is exactly what the majority of the Michigan citizens wanted. The replacement is the issue, isn't it? Any ideas Mike?

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Communications guru said...

Well, Kahuna, I’m going to answer this question for Mike since he’s actually out everyday and night talking to voters, like his opponents should and actually gets paid to do, especially since he actually was elected to represent them in Lansing.

Are you honestly telling me you don’t think an incumbent’s actions while in office are a campaign issue? How is pointing out a fact and his deplorable conduct while in office name-calling?

I’m sure that you, like Mr. Ward, want voters to forget that he defended his actions that saw lobbyists buy him almost $6,000 worth of meals by saying “it’s convenient to meet over a burger at lunch.” Get real. That’s five times more money spent on meals than for the Speaker of the House. Come on, the public is not stupid.

Even though it would have been nice if he bought the hats in question at a union shop, the bigger issue is where has Ward been, and he has completely lost touch with the people who elected him. There is only one thing that makes politicians accountable and responsive to the people who elected them, and that’s an election. But, apparently, not Mr. Ward, and if he’s reelected with this poor performance, I can guarantee the people of the 66th District will see him as much as snow in July.

I agree with you that the repeal of the SBT is exactly what the majority of the Michigan citizens wanted, and that’s why the governors first initiated repelling it. The difference is she wanted to have a plan to replace it. Yes, the replacement is an issue, but is the dumb idea to repel it without a replacement tax even on the table.

This was a complex tax that when enacted in 1975 simplified and reduced the cost of business tax preparation and processing by consolidating the administration of the seven pre-existing taxes into one office within the Michigan Department of Treasury. It also leveled the playing field for all forms of business, and as a move away from a tax theory that effectively penalized businesses for being profitable.

Finding a workable replacement is not going to be easy, and it will take everyone at the table to find a replacement. But Ward had demonstrated he wants to freeze out the Representatives who represent almost half of the state’s population from the table.

Mike has 28 years of business experience, and he can work with both sides of the aisle. Ward does not have any of those assets.

As for “an unwillingness to talk about important issues.” Nothing could be farther from the truth, and Mike will debate him on the issues and ideas anytime and anywhere for just one person's benefit or 10,000.

We just can’t find Mr. Ward to do that.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Nik Faldo said...

Hey guru - what part of lowering taxes don't you understand? You must be a guru of socialism.

The idea is to lower taxes to businesses in Michigan - making them want to come here - thus bringing jobs to the state.

Replacing one tax with another one misses the point.
As usual, as liberals talk they expose their idiocy. You admitted the SBT is 'complex'. Why?

The solution is simple. It is making socialism look good that is difficult. Voters in Mikey's discrict do not want a replacement. They want smaller government and jobs!

Of course the rest of the Socialist Republic of Michigan, the People's Republic of Detroit and the Communist Republic of Ann Arbor disagree.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Communications guru said...

That’s the most misinformed and offensive comments we have ever had on this blog.

The residents of Michigan are not socialists or communists, and I have no idea where you got that ridiculous idea. I agree the idea is to simplify and lower taxes in Michigan, but cutting out 25 percent of the budget is not the way to do it, especially after three years of belt-tightening and raising fees to make up the $2 billon deficit left by the previous administration.

The fact is we are nowhere near the top among states with a high business taxes.
An Anderson Economic Group study paid for by the House Republicans released last week said Michigan isn't doing as badly as some might expect in terms of the burden it places on businesses, and the study puts Michigan at 27 out of 50 states in total taxes paid by businesses as a percentage of profit earned within each state. That’s about right in the middle, and the middle is a pretty good place to be when you consider all of the other attractive features we have.

You are right, the idea is to eliminate the SBT to replace it with something better, and it was the governor who first proposed it and had a plan to phase it out.

Clearly, you know nothing about the SBT, and it is very complex. Anytime you take seven different taxes and combine them into one there will be some complex issues to deal with. There are some good sites where you can read up on it. I can give them to you, and then you can come back and debate the issue when you know what you’re talking about. Maybe you should stick to something you know, like gambling.

It’s not just lower taxes that attract business. It’s investment – with taxes – in good roads, infrastructure, police and fire protection and an educated workforce. Things paid for with our investment in our state with our tax dollars.

You have no idea what the people in Mike’s district want. The people in the 66th District want to know what is going to be cut with the elimination of 25 percent of the budget, and they want to know what is going to replace it to restore those cuts.

Mike is the only candidate who has actual business experience with the kind of companies we are trying to retain and attract.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Big Kahuna said...

Communications...I do not think it is good enough to be in the middle of the pack when it comes to the tax burden on business in Michigan. I would argue that we need to be near the bottom. Given that our reputation is tied to automotive we need to work harder to attract "non-automotive" new business and keep the existing ones. In the current climate states and even countries are marketing to business to bring them to their areas. Cheap labor is one attraction, but there is also the quality of life issues that must be considered. We have frankly a marginal climate. The cold weather is a deterrent along with the huge problems in Detroit. People outside of our area have a very negative impression of the SE portion of our state, if not the whole state, because of the crime and general reputation of Detroit. Next, it just isn't cool to live in Michigan. There are far more trendy places to live and work which casts us in a very bad light. So, how do you overcome those objections (I have cited only a few)? You make it almost impossible for a company to choose somewhere else or difficult for them to pick up and move. Low taxes and costs are one sure fire way to do that. The federal government has proven (capital gains taxes) that when you cut taxes it actually increases the receipts into the treasury. Food for thought....

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Communications guru said...

I do think right in the middle is a good place to be, and I don’t want to be at the bottom. I don’t want to be Alabama or Mississippi; I’ve been there. I agree with you that quality of life is a big issue, and I think it’s just as big an issue as “cheap labor.” New companies want an educated workforce, and that takes good public schools. They want decent roads and infrastructure, and that takes money for maintenance and upkeep. They want quality police and fire protection, and that also takes money.

It disturbs me this “race to the bottom,” and the middle class that made this country great and the envoy of other nations is rapidly disappearing in the race for “cheap labor.”
Mike believes strongly that we need to diversify the economy, but we also need to actually help U.S. automakers. He favors a health care plan similar to what Massachusetts has. Health care costs are a big expense for U.S. companies, and like you, I agree we need to cut some of their cost of doing business.

They will be building the new Camaro in Oshawa, Ontario because the current administration in Washington, D.C. will not even look at adopting health care, trade and tax policies that level the playing field with their foreign competitors.

I would argue the cold weather is an attraction. You can’t ski, snowboard, sled, skate or snowmobile in Florida. Michigan residents spent $300 million during deer hunting season. To me the woods, lakes and streams are a big state asset.

I don’t know where this negative stuff about Detroit and southeast Michigan is coming from, and I must disagree with you. Detroit is one of the nation’s great cities, but sure, it has its problems, just like any urban area. I think the Major League Baseball All-Star game last summer in Detroit and the Superbowl at Ford Field helped dispelled some of those untrue negative myths about Detroit.

In fact, I’m looking forward to spending this weekend in Detroit at the Democratic State Convention Saturday.

I don’t think the federal government has done anything to help Michigan, and I don’t think Lansing has helped much either. They seem to be too busy worrying about their next elected office to think about addressing some of the problems you talked about.

I know this, Mike is the kind of guy who listens to all sides, he’s not afraid to ask questions and he has 28 years of actual business experience that gives him the experience and knowledge to help find solutions to some of the things you talked about.

Thanks for the food for thought and the civil debate.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Big Kahuna said...

CG: I think you should reconsider your thoughts/position on Detroit and the effect it has on this state. In all honestly it has a very bad reputation in this area and way beyond. I believe that affects the ability of our state to attract new business. It once "was" one of our great cities, but no longer. Until they take a hard position on crime I believe it will continue to deteriorate. Just my two cents.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Communications guru said...

I completely disagree with you. Apparently you weren’t paying attention last January during the Superbowl and in July of 2005 for the MLB All-Star game. Thousands of out-of-town visitors and national press came away with a positive impression of the city. I find so many people who have the same attitude as you, especially in Livingston County, who have never even been to the city. It’s just sad.

How do we “take a hard position on crime?” More cops on the street is one answer I can come up with, and others are better education and after school and other programs to keep kids off the streets. Then we should be asking the President why he cut the federal COPS program, and we should be asking Chris Ward why he voted to end the SBT without a replacement in sight for the $2 billon it will take from the budget. That revenue would be used for revenue sharing to fund police protection, not to mention all the programs that will have to be cut.

I’m not sure what this has to do with Mike taking his campaign to the people, and Ward ignoring the voters, but we welcome any comments.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Big Kahuna said...

Well, as soon as the Dems take their heads out of the sand on Detroit and stop defending and pouring money in there we all will be better off. I do believe it is time realize that Michigan and the rest of the country (Canada too) have, for the most part, a VERY negative impression of Detroit. It is well deserved. It is not sad, CG, it is reality. Crime is the problem with Detroit, and as goes Detroit, goes large portions of Michigan. This affects the ability to attract new people and businesses to our area.

You discuss more cops on the street. Great idea! You discuss better education. Not sure how you do that with the attitude of the teachers in Detroit and the fact that no one is interested in sending their kids there while the crime problem is so bad. You discuss programs to keep kids off the streets. Another good idea. These are the responsibility of Detroit and they are dropping the ball. I believe you should stop blaming the President and Mr. Ward and start blaming those who should be running Detroit. They get an unfair share of tax benefits already with little or no positive results. They are not accountable, in my opinion.

Here is what it has to do with Mike taking his campaign to the people. He hasn't presented any ideas that the public wants to talk about in Livingston County. The SBT decision is old news. The voters don't care. They will care later, but not today. Ward isn't ignoring the voters, he is responding by voting to end the SBT as soon as possible. Just one example, CG.

I respectfully disagree with your whole mantra about Ward. You and Mike are going to have to do a lot better than that if you have a prayer in November. Just my opinion.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Communications guru said...

Sorry I couldn’t answer your charge sooner, but I spent the weekend at the Democratic Convention this weekend at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to really hear all of the speeches or attend any of the caucuses because I volunteered to help check people in for credentials. I did meet a lot of people. It was amazing to see and talk to all the different nationalities, races, ethnic groups and different kinds of people who attended. I don’t see that kind of diversity here in Howell. I guess that’s why they say Livingston County is predominantly Republican.

I think it’s telling the Republicans held their convention in Novi. Now there’s a city with a lot character and history. I spent the weekend at my sister’s house so I could attend both days. We spent Saturday night sitting on her front porch in southwest Detroit talking. I was looking for all that crime you alleged goes on in Detroit but I never saw it. I did see a lot of people downtown Saturday and Sunday, especially Saturday night. There was an ethnic festival in Hart Plaza, some guy named Kenny Chesney played a concert at Ford Field and there was a convention at Cobo, all at the same time. Yet I saw no crime. Some dying, negative city, ha? You keep telling me the country has this alleged negative image of Detroit, but you still haven’t old me where you were during the MLB All-Star Game or the Superbowl. You could not have been in Michigan or the United States. Just by typing one word in a search engine I quickly came up with this article for Detroit, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11166359. That’s just the first one that popped up.

You say I “should stop blaming the President and Mr. Ward and start blaming those who should be running Detroit.” But the fact is this post was never about Detroit it was about Chris Ward’s arrogance and record. You brought up Detroit. It’s Ward who we are trying to make accountable. I can guarantee you this; if he wins you will rarely see him in the 66th District until he starts, officially that is, campaigning for the Senate seat in the 22nd District. He’s already running for that seat now.

Mike has talked to the people about the issues and his positions, and if you're in the 66th District, he will gladly come to your door and talk to you about any issue you please. Just e-mail me your address offline, and I will arrange it. See if Ward will do that.

Of course Ward wants his irresponsible vote for the SBT to be old news, but how can it be when he has not even told us how he plans to balance the budget minus a $2 billon hit and what he plans to cut. He wishes his record was old news, but we will not allow that. I don’t know how you can possibly say an incumbent’s record while in office is “old news.”


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