Portrait of a Tax Hiker: Mike Lahti (D-Hancock)

“Basically, this entire package was delivered by Democrats.” – Andy Dillon,?Detroit News, October 2, 2007.


This is the fifteenth in a series of looks at specific members of Dillon’s tax hike caucus. The Democrats hold a 58-52 lead in the House. A shift of just four seats returns control to the Republicans, a caucus, for what it’s worth, that held the line in impressive fashion against the Democrats’ tax and spend gambit. According to Andy Dillon anyways.


Four seats is more than doable. A move to a common sense approach that protects jobs and Michigan families is doable. Just a matter of getting rid of a few bad apples. ?Today we head back up to rural northern Michigan where Mike Lahti hopes his actions in Lansing go unnoticed back home.





Will the real Mike Lahti please stand up? ?The freshman lawmaker from Michigan’s beautiful 110th has made a habit, during his first year in Lansing, of confounding supporters and observers alike by consistently saying one thing then doing another. ?In a city full of government officials who act in accordance with the direction of the wind Lahti proudly marches to the front of the column. ?

To properly tell the story we need to go back to the beginning. ?The date, February 24, 2006. ?Candidate Mike Lahti was on a whirlwind tour of Michigan’s picturesque Keweenaw Peninsula, maybe the most beautiful piece of landscape?

and geography in the entire state of Michigan. ?He was delivering speeches, talking with the local press and talking with small business owners, hunters, moms and dads… you name it. ?It was a campaign, after all.

And at one stop the gentleman offered this with?Keweenaw Now?in the room:

“We’ve seen the loss of too many jobs. The people of the Western U.P. need a representative whose number one job is jobs,” Lahti said. “I will fight for working families. We’ve seen too many CEOs take the golden parachute and leave employees holding the bag…We need to reward businesses to stay in Michigan instead of sending them to other states and overseas.”


And who could disagree with him? ?If there’s anything that blue collar Michigan hates its when the people at the top, the ones making the financial decisions, when they go ahead and take care of themselves and their own concerns and well being by tossing the working man (and woman) under the bus. ?

It wasn’t only Keweenaw Now that recorded Lahti’s pledge. ?He did that for us himself when making the claim on his own?campaign website:

I believe we should reward companies that do business here in Michigan, not the ones that export jobs overseas. I want to create tax incentives for companies that create jobs here. I will fight to change, diversify, and strengthen our economy.


In the end, though, Lahti seems to disagree with himself. ?While the state remains the only in the nation to lose jobs year after year, struggles with a nation’s worst 7.5% unemployment rate and sees families heading for the borders in record numbers the Representative cast a tragic vote in the early morning hours of October 1st and followed it up with a series of votes in the weeks that followed.

Mike Lahti claims his number one job is jobs but when push came to shove he voted to raise the sales tax on services by over $613 million, driving jobs out of the state. ?Mike Lahti claims he’s fighting for working families but when push came to shove he voted to raise the income tax on working families by nearly $800 million this year alone. ?

And that golden parachute he spoke of with such derision? ?Lahti voted to raise his own budget by 2.5%, failed to cut his own pay or benefits, supported a move by House Democrats to guarantee himself?lifetime healthcare benefits?and increased overall and discretionary spending in Lansing creating the largest budget in the history of the state of Michigan. ?

While working moms and dads worry about losing their jobs and see dramatically smaller paychecks the fat cats in Lansing get fatter. ?Talk about golden parachutes. ?

But hey, those tax incentives for companies that create jobs here? ?Technically we’re still waiting but we did get a sneak peak just last week at what the Representative has in mind. ?According to the?Ironwood Daily Globe:

State Rep. Mike Lahti (D-Hancock) is co-sponsoring legislation that would exclude ski areas from the tax…


So that’s something.

Unfortunately for the people of the 110 and the rest of the state of Michigan, Lahti’s hypocrisy wasn’t limited to that one series of votes. ?Even his apparently conservative stand on a variety of social issues is suddenly more than questionable. ?Take his “support” of hunters and hunting rights. ?

Lahti is currently leading the charge in the legislature, rounding up support in the House and pressuring the GOP controlled Senate to raise taxes and fees on hunters and fishers and helped advance a budget that assumes he’ll be successful. ?According to theDetroit Free Press:

There was no agreement to raise hunting and fishing license fees or fees that businesses need to discharge air and water pollution. But conference committees assumed those fee increases would be enacted by Jan. 15.


Rep. Mike Lahti, D-Hancock, a member of the DNR budget conference committee, said there are enough votes in the House but not the Senate to increase hunting license fees… Lahti said he hopes Senate support builds…


And more than hoping for these tax hikes, he’s been working the process via the conference committee for weeks to make them a reality.

His entire first year in office, Mike Lahti has been a lesson in contradictions. ?The great people in the Upper Peninsula often?
?about being disconnected from Lansing, and with good reason. ?Sadly they’ve now got one of their own who’s counting on the distance to conceal his actions.

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