Editorials

Proposal 1: Likely failure 2015.04.29

When the Observer reviewed Michigan’s Proposal 1 ballot issue two weeks ago, we reported that it’s actually much more than just a road repair bill. That fact leads to another thing we pointed out: There’s something for everyone to dislike about the proposal.

For example, we know of someone who will vote “no” because there would be a surcharge levied on electric and hybrid vehicles. Someone else is troubled by the additional money going to schools. The problem for this voter is that money would only go to public schools and not charter schools.

A lot of people will oppose the measure simply because it’s a tax increase—that alone is an easy reason for many taxpayers to say “no.”

We’re not pushing for passage of the measure, but we urge citizens to at least know why they’re opposed and not just reject a tax increase outright. There’s so much misinformation circulated about this issue that it’s hard to wade through the facts.

We expect passage of the proposal has about as much chance as a 70° day in April. It’s just not going to happen. There’s talk of going to Plan B when it fails, but from what we’ve read, there is no Plan B—certainly not anything that would come close to matching the funds that this proposal would bring in for road repair.

Many of Michigan’s roads are notoriously bad—we rank high in the rating of automotive repair due to road conditions—and the situation will only worsen with the failure of Prop. 1. 

We all want better roads, but no one wants to pay the price. Legislators need to get over their fear of raising taxes and to stop worrying about their next election chances. Instead, they need to take responsibility to address the situation that becomes more serious with each passing underfunded year. But the likelihood of that is about the same as a victory for Prop. 1.