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Republican Tax Hike Opponents Too ‘Ideological’ — Or Just Enough?

Half the 12 GOP Reps who opposed 2017 tax cut needed new jobs after 2018 election

Republican state Sen. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City was quoted in Crain’s Detroit Business as applying the ideologue label to some of his Republican colleagues who are not willing to approve a tax increase.

“There are a few (in the House) that are a bit more on the ideological side in trying to be pure in whatever it is that they’re doing,” Schmidt said, according to Crain’s. “They're much more about getting reelected and staying with that than they are with governing.”

Republicans routinely hold themselves out to voters as the limited-government, fiscally conservative alternative. Given this, GOP politicians who buck that brand once they’re in office may face extra challenges when trying to move up the political ladder. The pattern can be seen in the record of a dozen GOP politicians who did that in 2017.

Specifically, in 2017, 12 Michigan House Republicans voted “no” on a measure to cut 0.2 percentage points off the state income tax, while 51 Republicans voted “yes.”

Of the 12 who voted no, six were defeated when they ran for reelection or for an open state Senate seat. Six others ran for another term in the House and were reelected. (One of those six is now under federal indictment for allegedly selling his vote on a different bill; he also is the target of a local recall campaign). Here's the roster:

  • Gone: Dave Maturen, Vicksburg, defeated in a House primary by a more conservative challenger.
  • Gone: Michael McCready, Bloomfield Hills, defeated in the Senate general election.
  • Gone: Dave Pagel, Berrien Springs, defeated in a Senate primary. (He lost to former Rep. Kim LaSata, who voted for the tax reduction and is now a senator.)
  • Gone: Daniela Garcia, Holland, defeated in a Senate primary.
  • Gone: Brett Roberts, Charlotte, defeated in a Senate primary.
  • Gone: Chris Afendoulis, Grand Rapids Township, defeated in a Senate general election.
  • Reelected (and indicted): Larry Inman, Williamsburg, returned to the House. Inman is under federal indictment for selling his vote, and a recall effort is underway.
  • Reelected: Scott VanSingel, Grant, returned to the House.
  • Reelected: Jason Sheppard, Temperance, returned to the House.
  • Reelected: Kathy Crawford, Novi, returned to the House.
  • Reelected: Jim Lilly, Park Township, returned to the House.
  • Reelected: Julie Calley, Portland, returned to the House.