My brother proposes the “Salvation Tax” to solve Michigan’s budget woes.

Here in Michigan there’s been quite a bit of talk about new taxes after the governor and legislators signed off on a plan to close this year’s budget deficit by shoving a good portion of it into next year’s budget just so they can claim they didn’t violate Michigan’s constitution which requires a balanced budget. The very next day the governor put out a call for the legislators to get busy coming up with new tax ideas that can be used to balance next year’s looming shortfall. One of the ideas proposed so far is being called the Ticket Tax:

One option—a possible 6% sales tax on sports, music, movie and other entertainment tickets—has galvanized opposition by a group of power hitters that includes the owners of Detroit’s major sports teams and concert venues.

Fans Against Ticket Taxes launched its campaign Thursday, led by Mike Ilitch, who owns the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and the Fox Theatre, and Bill Davidson, who owns the Pistons and operates three of the biggest concert venues: DTE Energy Music Theatre, the Palace of Auburn Hills and Meadow Brook Music Festival.

At the Tigers’ Thursday afternoon game, Comerica Park staffers handed out flyers urging fans to visit a Web site——and contact their state representatives.

The campaign illustrates the political peril of a steep tax increase, which many lawmakers say is unavoidable given a $1.8-billion deficit the state faces in the 2008 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

In response my brother sent off the following email to his state representatives in Lansing and he invites all fellow Michigan readers to do likewise:

    Mr. Marleau,

    I’m writing you regarding the “luxury tax”, going to the movies is hardly a luxury. I pay income taxes already and I fully expect to be paying more. I pay “Sin Taxes” since I smoke and have an occasional beer. Therefore I would like to offer up a new “solution” to the states money problems.

    I feel it’s time for the state of Michigan to be a leader in what I’m calling the “Salvation Tax”,  let’s face it religion is a big business, it’s time for God to put his two cents in where it counts (the state’s coffer).

    This program has only a limited effect upon the state. Think about it clearly, if another church leaves the state, so what? It’s not like they’re pulling their weight around here anyway.

    I thank you for taking the time to consider the salvation tax issue (those bastards squirrel away a lot of money), if you feel you would like help getting this to the floor, please feel free to e-mail me and I will do what I can to assist you.

    Wes Jenkins

At this point I think most people in Michigan are fully expecting some form of tax increase someplace as there’s really no other way to deal with next year’s budget without making cuts that most folks agree are just a bad idea. There’s already plenty of folks upset over guidelines put in place for State troopers that asks them to limit their daily mileage to around 40 miles a day as a result of the budget mess. So perhaps it’s time that the churches in this state started paying their fair share of the tax burden and help keep Michigan in the black.

Needless to say I think it’s a wonderful idea and I am dashing off a similar note to my representatives as well. If you’re also a Michigan resident you can look up your Representative here and your Senator here.

7 thoughts on “My brother proposes the “Salvation Tax” to solve Michigan’s budget woes.

  1. Setting the taxation level would be easy when combined with the old adage “throw all your money in the air. What got wants, he keeps. You get the rest.”

    Anything that hits the ground is tax.

    If they feel they’re been unfairly taxed, all they have to do is pray harder so the government preys less.

  2. So now Athiests (assuming your brother is one too) want to further erode the wall between church and state.

    I hope this was all in jest, even though I don’t see a humor tag…  The idea is truly horrid.  I really don’t see good benefits coming out of this.  Sure, more revenue (how much, really?), but the price is steep.  One step closer to an overt Christian fundamentalist government, like the Islamic republics in the ME.  (I say Christian as it’s the dominant religion in the US.)

    Now I can hear you all now, “But we already have it like that.”  We don’t have it like that.  Yes, there are christian leanings in our leaders.  I don’t have statistics on all politicians, but it seems statistically reasonable to assume that 85-ish% of our politicians are some flavor of religious.  Those that follow the teachings of their faith will have it bleed over into work to some degree.  It happens.

    Now, give the churches Taxation… and what will follow is the demand for real, overt representation. 

    If I sound wound up about this, I am, just a bit.  I don’t agree with nearly everything that you and your commenters say here, but I’ve never seen such a scary-crazy idea presented seriously.  I just hope my sarcasm meter is broken.

  3. Ben, you seem to have some confusion about what “representation” means.  If churches were taxed, that wouldn’t mean that the church as a body would get representation, any more than businesses which are taxed get representation.  Citizens have representation in Government- businesspeople, churchgoers, atheists.

    At least that’s the way it should be.  Of course in fact, greed does get represented in government one way or another: bribes, lobbies, “think” tanks…  It’s a moot point whether or not churches would have even more influence in government if they were taxed.

    But I think it’s a good idea.  If churches want tax-free status, they should have to earn it just like the tax-free businesses without imaginary friends.

  4. (from zilch’s idea)
    Compulsory churchgoer tax/fee – would bring in a fortune and people’d pay almost anything, and you might get fewer fundies as people consider other ideas. No democratic government with an economically minded xian majority is going to be able to instigate it, but imagine if the vatican did.

    BTW It’ll cost you #5 per person to see my miricle-made jesus waffle

  5. Yes, there are christian leanings in our leaders.

    You do understatement rather well, Ben.

    I really don’t see good benefits

    (It’s the kid in me – I can’t help myself.)
    So as well as understatement you do a good job of tautology.

    what will follow is the demand for real, overt representation

    As has been pointed out, they already have it – I’m lead to believe some of your top god-representatives-here-on-earth have the ear of POTUS as well as the ear of The Invisible Sky Critter.

    Why do you consider the idea scary-crazy?
    I’m sure your god could produce a few rabbits from his imaginary hat to cover costs.
    Or if you will, whip up a few more gullible victims to suck the blood from.
    Personally the time can’t come quickly enough when churches start being taxed like every other business. It’s not as if they have to sell anything but delusions and dreams. All they have done for centuries is suck the life from their adherents like leeches, like parasites.
    WHY are religions given special licence to promulgate their system of entrapment and profit or, if you will, scam and sting?

    If I sound wound up about this, I am, just a bit.

    You and me both, mate; you and me both.

  6. LuckyJohn, did I somehow give you the impression that I’m something other than atheist?

    Let me be clear:  I’m an atheist and I think this is a huge mistake.  However, to avoid becoming tautologous wink , I won’t restate my arguments.

  7. Good onya Ben and

    to avoid becoming tautologous, I won’t restate my arguments

    either. wink

    I apologise for the incorrect assumption but based on the evidence I couldn’t make another.

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