This morning was my annual appointment with the CPA to figure my taxes. I use a CPA, not because my taxes are terribly complex, but because I want to be sure they are spot-on accurate. I like sleeping at night, and in the spirit of that bumper sticker: “I’m a grown-up, I pay my taxes”. Taxes aren’t fun, but I like to believe most Michiganders feel the same way.
Governor Snyder told reporters this morning that his new pick for Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, is still a-okay with him in-spite of the recently uncovered tax liens on his Maryland home. The Associated Press reports that Snyder claimed his administration did a “very thorough job” in vetting the Emergency Manager candidate. He went on to say that now that this minor brouhaha is over, Orr can concentrate on the business of getting “Detroit going again“.
Of course, to millionaires like Snyder and Orr, thousands of dollars of unpaid taxes is mere sofa change. When the governor was running for office it was revealed that two of his venture capital firms incurred tax liens for not paying employee withholding and business taxes. At the time, Snyder’s campaign spun it as an “oversight”.
Admittedly, personal and corporate finances can be tricky, but they are nothing compared to the complexities found in the municipal world, especially a major city like Detroit. MSU Economics Professor Eric Scorsone, a top expert in the field of municipal finance, spearheaded the 12 hour training course for potential Emergency Managers. The Professor wiesly questions the wisdom of using corporate leaders for public sector debt restructuring projects. Scorsone admits that he finds the corporate executives he trained to have problems with transparency and the concept of open meetings, and that the private sector turn-around model does not translate to public sector needs. In his words, “It’s not a corporate world.”
Yet Snyder continues to pick tycoons and raiders that specialize in cut-back management, who operate without input or oversight, and think paying taxes is optional.
Amy Kerr Hardin This article also appears in Voters Legislative Transparency Project