Constitution for sale

Dear Editor:

Nearly all of the issues up for a vote of the people of Michigan, this election, involve a change in the State’s Constitution. Of the six issues before the people, only one (#1) is a referendum, which is normally what appears on the statewide ballot. The remaining five all seek to change the State’s Constitution. A change in the U.S. Constitution is a very, very difficult process and happens very, very rarely. Not so, it seems, with the Michigan Constitution, where all you need is a few million dollars.

Ballot Proposal one is more than a bit confusing. It is about the Emergency Manager law,which allows the State to appoint someone to manage the finances of a particular entity (twp., city, school district) that is approaching bankruptcy because of alleged fiscal mismanagement. If you vote no, the State will go back to using the old “emergency-manager” law which contains little real authority for said manager. If you vote yes, the new law with more power for the manager will remain the law. There will be an emergency manager either way, but yes means that person will have the power to effect change and no means they can be ignored if desired. This is a tough one to call either way, depending on your feelings about having such a law in the first place.

Proposal two concerns collective bargaining rights for State and private employees. First of all, those rights are already guaranteed by the Federal and State governments. This constitutional amendment is about expanding and cementing the power of unions. It will place collective bargaining agreements above any law enacted by anyone, except perhaps the federal government. It is a 100% political power grab, period.

The third proposal is about renewable energy and would require that at least 25% of all power generated in the State be from renewable sources (e.g. wind or solar). Has anyone noticed a change in their electric bill since we have been required to be 10% green? These sources may be practical someday, but right now are not. They have windmills rusting away right now out west. Pretty aren’t they and the birds love them. Hopefully common sense will prevail on this one.

Proposal four is more of a money grab than a power grab, but it is being done by the same people that brought you prop 2. If you vote yes, everyone who takes care of an elderly or disabled family member and receives government money to do so, will be considered to be a public employee and be deemed a member of the union. This means that the union will take a percentage of that government check for union dues. Pretty nifty scheme eh? This little scam had actually already taken place under the previous governor’s watchful eye. It was exposed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the legislature put a stop to it. Now someone would like it to be part of our Constitution and thus get around that messy little legislative thingy.

Proposal five is, again, very debatable. It may sound like a great idea to require that 2/3 of the legislature approve any new taxes, but it also may tie the hands of that same legislature when they have to tinker with the tax codes. If our legislature wants to lower taxes in one area and have to raise them in another, they will be unable to do so. Still it sounds really good to place a major hurdle in the way of any new tax increases.

Proposal six is about a very specific item, the proposed new bridge between the U.S. and Canada, in Detroit and Windsor. This proposal was paid for by the man who has the concession to collect the tolls on the existing international bridge. He has made a lot of money in this manner and, of course, would like to continue doing so. Most, if not all, of the petition signatures to get this on the ballot were collected by paid signature gatherers and probably every ad you have seen, pushing this proposal, have been paid for by this man. Again, it is hard to tell who the good guys are in this battle.

In the opinion of many (mine not being the lone voice), it should not be this easy to change the Constitution of the State of Michigan. Any or all of the above issues could be worked out in our duly established legislative system. The only amendment that would seem necessary would be one changing the way in which the Constitution is amended, making it a process requiring at least some judicious thought. Instead we have something that allows anyone with enough money to write themselves something of value into our very Constitution. We need to say no to anything that changes the basic rules for the way in which we run our state.

At a recent tea-party meeting there was a straw-poll regarding the six proposals. The 11 members present voted in the following way: On Prop1 – 6 yes, 5 no; Prop2 – 11 no; Prop 3 – 11 no; Prop4 – 11 no; Prop5 – 9 no, 2 yes; Prop 6 – 7 no, 4 yes.

If you think you are unhappy with your children having to leave the State to find a decent job, wait and see what happens if Propositions 2 and 3 should pass. Number 4 will not break the State or its people, but merely take money from caregivers and their charges and hand it over to the union(s). This election is the most important election in the history of the United States (including the one in 1860) and the choice we make will decide the course of this nation for those who will follow. Please get out and vote and vote like your country depends on it.

 

Dave Isaac

 

One Response to Constitution for sale

  1. American Wind Energy Association

    October 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Regarding Proposal 3, there are a couple key points missing from this letter:

    First, the Proposal caps rate increases at 1 percent, safeguarding Michigan electricity consumers.

    Second, a recent Michigan State study found that Prop 3 will generate thousands of jobs and $10.3 billion of private investment. Already, at least 31 businesses produced wind components in Michigan. For example, wind turbines are manufactured in Saginaw, and wind towers are now being made on a former brownfield site in Monroe.

    Third, Michigan has some of the best wind resources in the U.S. According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory data, Michigan ranks 17th among U.S. states in wind resources, with 59,000 MW of economically viable wind resources, enough to meet the state’s electricity needs one and a half times over.

    In short, Prop 3 would be a win for Michigan’s economy, environment, and manufacturing future.