Sunday, March 20, 2011

Letter: A home-grown remedy for budget woes

Dear Editor,

Governor Snyder tells us that we are broke, that we are facing a two-billion dollar deficit -- and that we must make dreadful cuts in spending.

There is, however, a potential remedy on our doorstep, in that the Michigan Legislature is giving away similar amounts of our natural resources (specifically, metal ores) which could instead be applied to the deficit.

For example: The Eagle Deposit in the Upper Peninsula is to be mined by Rio Tinto, a London-based "mining giant" corporation, probably Number 3 in the world, depends on who is counting.

The value of the metals therein is around 4.7 billion dollars, with much more to come.

To put 4.7 billion into terms which Joe Doakes can comprehend: $4,700,000,000 in dollar bills taped end-to-end would stretch this far :
4,700,000,000 divided by (5280 ft/mile x 2 bills/foot) = 445,000 miles.

Most of us simply cannot even grasp 445,000 miles in our mind. Like deer in the headlights we are truly blinded by the numbers. The accountants are not blinded by them and take advantage of our blindness.

Anyway -- the State of Michigan has no firm plans for taxing the profits on that income, which will go offshore. King George III, the villain in your Revolutionary War, is chuckling in his

At the Flambeau Mine in Wisconsin, Rio Tinto paid a miserly 2.5 percent to that state.

Considering the magnitude of the loot and the probability that more mines would follow, let it be known that we, the people, want/demand a fair share of the income from Michigan’s non-renewable resources.

Let us follow the lead of the Australian government, which recently placed stiff taxes (initially 40 percent) on excessive income from resources.

Can we get a mining tax law like that in Michigan? You bet! How? Call Sen. Tom Casperson (517-373-7840) and Rep. Matt Huuki (888-663-4031) to demand that they push for enactment of an Australian-type supertax on profits from your resources. And do it NOW!

Jack Parker, Mining Engineer
Baltic MI 49963

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