E-Tax Plan Derailed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tim O'Brien
HAZEL PARK. Governor Engler and
the Republican hierarchy in the state legislature were dealt a stunning setback
yesterday in their plans to facilitate collecting Michigan's 6% tax on Internet
And the Libertarian Party, long-time champion of free trade
and lower taxes generally, opponent of the stalled "Streamlined Sales and Use
Tax Administration Act" particularly, is celebrating the success of its first,
concerted, coordinated, multi-pronged lobbying effort, as the legislature
adjourned for the summer without taking any action on the bill.
began its campaign against Internet taxation more than a year ago with two
weeks of radio advertising opposing the idea when it was first being advocated
by Republican Governor John Engler.
In recent months party officials
testified against the current bill at both senate at house committee hearings.
A few weeks ago an op-ed opposing the bill was distributed to newspapers across
the state. Party members were encouraged to call or write their legislators.
And the LP-sponsored but nonpartisan SpeakOutMichigan.org web-based petitioning
utility was also activated, generating more than 300 e-mails to legislators.
"Of course," O'Brien hastened to add, "credit for this victory must be
shared with state representatives Robert Gosselin (R-Troy) and Leon Drolet
(R-Clinton Township). They may not be Libertarians," he said, "but they are
certainly champions of liberty."
The two Republicans both serve on the
house Tax Policy committee (which never reported out the bill).
"Representatives Gosselin and Drolet were unflagging in their commitment to
smaller, less expensive, less intrusive government," O'Brien praised, "and
tireless in their efforts within the legislature to rally opposition to SB-433.
We are grateful for the courage they have shown in standing up to their party's
This success by the LP and the two maverick Republicans
represents a substantial embarrassment to Michigan's Governor, a vocal
proponent of the idea of adopting a reciprocal sales tax compact among the
states. Engler is poised to assume the chairmanship of the National Governors
Association in August, unable to sell his pet proposal in his home state --
with his own party in control of all three branches of government.
Michigan Libertarians have vowed to make Cyberspace a free trade zone and
joined this fight against Internet taxation with an almost religious zeal. "We
know this is just one battle," O'Brien said, "essentially, only a holding
action. The Republicans have already promised to bring [SB-433] back as soon as
the legislature reconvenes in September. But they will find us still standing
our ground, throwing sand in the gears of the government juggernaut. We think
back to our grandparents' time and wish they would have stood firm back then
against the income tax proposal. Well," he concluded, "this is our time. We
will not let our grandchildren down."