Libertarians Press Fight Against Expanded Sales Tax
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tim O'Brien
LANSING. The Libertarian Party
of Michigan continued its fight on behalf of Michigan Internet users (called
"Netizens" by cyberspace insiders) as party chair Michael Corliss testified
against the "Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Administration Act" before the House
Tax Policy committee last Thursday.
The bill (aka SB-433) would send
four representatives from Michigan to a National Conference of State
Legislatures meeting to negotiate a multi-state agreement to provide for
interstate collection and remittance of sales and use taxes.
Libertarians are opposed in principle to the idea, the party chair kept his
testimony to constitutional and practical arguments against the bill.
"The Michigan Constitution specifically gives you [the legislature] the
power to levy and collect taxes," observed Corliss. "I believe if this bill is
adopted you'll be turning over your taxing authority," he said. The bill would
give power to the four appointed Michigan representatives to negotiate a model
sales and use tax system, a unified standard that would be a necessary part of
the agreement. Further, the administration of the reciprocal tax system would
ultimately be handed over to private companies.
He was especially
concerned that the elimination of caps and exclusions could set the stage for
Michigan to expand application of its 6% tax to services and possibly even food
Corliss also noted that the bill was written in such a
way as to insure that the appointment of all four Michigan representatives to
the September NCSL meeting would be made by Republicans -- a concern also
expressed by Rep. William O'Neil (D-Allen Park).
The LP, long regarded
as a non-factor in Lansing because of its minor party status, has turned that
independence to its advantage by seeking support for its position on the bill
from both sides of the aisle.
"It doesn't matter to me why they vote
'No'," Corliss said. "We just want to see cyberspace continue to grow and
prosper as a free trade zone. And," he concluded, "we will work on this issue
with anyone from any party who agrees with us on it."
supported by the Engler administration, was said to be on a fast track until
the Libertarians got actively involved a few weeks ago -- first raising a grass
roots groundswell of voter opposition in the form of phone calls and e-mails to
legislators, then directly lobbying legislators and testifying at legislative
It now appears that the momentum has shifted so much that the
bill may not even make it out of the House Tax Policy committee. No vote has
been scheduled at this time.