In a long, rambling, press release, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced that if a tax increase is passed by the legislature and signed into law this year, his party would be willing to vacate the state. Democrats have pushed proposals to increase revenues, including either through a hike in the income tax or sales tax, have been discussed in order to plug the $1.8 billion hole in the state’s budget, but none appears to have a consensus of support behind it.
Anuzis said in part, “We want real reform FRIST before discussion of any tax increase. So no talking about taxes until REAL reform!!!?! Not a word…nothing. Republicans always open to partisanship…open to compromise…on size of tax and budget cuts.
“Republican State Committee passed resolution demanding government reforms and tax cuts BEFORE tax increases are even thought about. It was unanimous.”
According to the Detroit News, one angered GOP member who wished to remain anonymous, said, “It’s unprecedented for a party chairman to dictate policy to legislators of his own party.”
Rep. Lorence Wenke (R-Galesburg) said, “It seems he is setting the new low standard.”
According to the press release, Anuzis doesn’t agree. “From day won I have vowed to fight any an all tax increases unless reforms! Moving is last resort…last itch effort to save state.
“I don’t want GOP to lose our brand, don’t lose image that attracts people to vote for us, image that works for us.”
Republican Dick Devos lost by 14 percentage points in last Fall’s gubernatorial election to the incumbent Jennifer Granholm, and Democrats gained control of the State House from the Republicans.
“Moving has been under discussion for some time, and only know am I telling everyone. This decision not taken lightly…it very serious. but if tax increase is passed and signed into law this year, I am willing to lead Republican Party out of Michigan to greener pastures of Mississippi. Mississippi is PRO-growth and has already offered us more ‘flexible’ labor environment, more ‘friendly’ business climate, more ‘friendly’ voting environment, and tax incentives.
“As Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said, ‘It doesn’t make sense for [Governor Granholm] to go out and recruit jobs when there isn’t an environment here for making a sizable investment.’ And it won’t make sense for us to recruit Republicans here if there won’t be environment for making a sizable recruiting effort. A sure sign of a hostile Republican environment is a tax increase. States that embrace tax increase aren’t Republican enough. We must hold line…stay true to our ideals.”
Anuzis also complained that there appeared to be too many Republicans willing to compromise with the Democrats on some form of a tax hike. An action that he claimed would tarnish the Engler Legacy.
He ended with an ultimatum: “Bottum line is no tax increase or Republican Party leaving.”
Whether the party chair will make good on his threat, remains to be seen. But insiders believe he’s serious. From the Detroit News again,
Richard McLellan, a Lansing attorney and Republican activist who was a close adviser to Gov. John Engler, asked: “What is Saul doing? Somebody is going to have to tell him to knock it off.”