The Gadsden Center Surveys Livingston County Policymakers on Prop 1
On May 5, 2015 Michigan citizens will vote on whether or not to approve ballot proposal 15-1 (Prop 1). Proponents of Prop 1 tend to characterize this ballot proposal as legislation to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges. While Prop 1 dedicates some new monies to roads and bridges, nearly 40% of this $2 billion tax increase funds other priorities of the Snyder administration. One of these priorities is an increase in the earned income tax credit which some view as a form of welfare. Prop 1 also includes set asides for “disadvantaged” companies that bid on road projects, which has been described as affirmative action for road builders.
So what exactly is Prop 1? When citizens go to the polls on May 5 they will be voting on an amendment to our state constitution. Most significantly, this amendment increases our sales tax by 16.7%, taking it from 6 percent to 7 percent. If voters approve this one constitutional amendment then 10 other laws will simultaneously be enacted. Yes, 64 pages worth of new laws will be enacted if voters approve tinkering with our state constitution.
Prop 1 is the largest tax increase in Michigan in over 50 years. On average, Prop 1 will cost a family of four about $800 per year. It is a regressive tax which disproportionately takes more from low and middle income citizens. Prop 1 is not your ordinary $2 billion tax increase approved by Lansing politicians. Rather, Prop 1 is a tax increase which will become deeply embedded in our state constitution. Future legislation will not be able to repeal or reduce this constitutionally mandated tax increase.
Because Prop 1 tinkers with our state constitution, The Gadsden Center conducted a survey of local policymakers in Livingston County. Like their constituents, these policymakers will be voting on whether to amend our state constitution on May 5th. There are few votes more important than those taken to amend our constitution.
Our survey asked two questions. Do you support or oppose Prop 1? Have you made any public statements supporting/opposing Prop 1? We also asked each of these local policymakers to, in one paragraph or less, elaborate on their support/opposition to Prop 1. Our survey was sent to our State Senator, our two State Representatives, our County Commissioners, City Mayors, Village Presidents, and Township Supervisors.
When it comes to amending our state constitution, The Gadsden Center believes that the citizens of Livingston County should know exactly where our elected leaders stand. We emailed multiple surveys to all elected leaders who provide their constituents with an email address on the website of their jurisdiction. We also followed up with phone calls in case our email survey was inadvertently sent to their junk mail file.
We plan on releasing our survey results during the week of April 20, 2015.