2012.10.31 Keith Pennington: Reader explains ballot proposals
As I look through this year’s Michigan ballot proposals I think, “Could they make the ballot language any more confusing?” I know the result that I wish to see on the issues, but many times the language is so confusing that I don’t know whether a yes or no vote will achieve that result. This year’s ballot is particularly troubling in that the last five ballot issues all seek to change the Michigan Constitution.
Citizens ought to be very cautious when asked to change the Constitution. The Constitution should not be used to achieve special interests that cannot be achieved through the legislative process.
As a citizen, I hope to see the following results:
Proposal 1- Vote Yes
Voting yes will uphold current law that allows the state to assign an emergency manager to a school or municipal government if the local parties have been unable to get their financial house in order. It has only been implemented a handful of times in the years of its existence. It brings unions and boards together to do the hard work needed, avoiding your tax funds from being used to bail out cities and schools that have been irresponsible for decades.
Proposal 2 – Vote No
Voting no will keep laws protecting the collective bargaining process within the existing state law and not enshrined within the constitution.
Proposal 3 – Vote No
Voting no will keep the state’s renewable energy policy within the existing law which mandates 10 percent of the electric power will come from renewable energy sources by 2015. Voting no will also keep electric rates lower. The proposal seeks to enshrine within the Constitution an increase of renewable energy use to 25 percent, while dictating which renewable energy source will be used.
Proposal 4 – Vote No
Voting no will keep in place current state work laws for home health care professionals. The proposal seeks to force through the Constitution a requirement for home health care workers, who you choose to employ at your residence, to join a collective bargaining union or at least pay the union fees.
Proposal 5 – Vote No
Voting no will maintain “majority rule” concept by continuing the requirement of a majority vote of the elected members of the House and Senate to change taxes levied. The proposal seeks to enshrine within the Constitution the requirement of a two-thirds super-majority to change the tax code. As we have seen at the federal level, a super majority requirement really gives the decision making power to the minority one-third.
Proposal 6 – Vote No
Voting no on this proposal will leave the decision of whether to build a bridge or tunnel to Canada with our elected representatives. Backers of the proposal seek to remove this authority from our elected officials and instead enshrine within the Constitution the requirement for a vote of the electorate directly.
In summary, I’m voting Yes on the first ballot proposal and No on all the rest, which seek to change our Constitution for special interests. Please consider voting likewise.
– Keith Pennington
Silver Creek Drive, Morenci