Livingston County Policymakers Weigh in on Prop 1
The Gadsden Center surveyed key Livingston County policymakers to learn where they stood on Proposal 1. Given the far-reaching impact of this ballot proposal we thought voters should be informed of how their local elected leaders view this proposed amendment to our state constitution.
We are pleased to report that we have finished compiling the results of our survey. The results of our survey are published here, for review by interested citizens.
The $2 billion tax increase otherwise known as Prop 1 funds more than just road and bridge repair. In fact, only 60% is allocated to fund road repair. The remaining funds will be spent on items which have nothing to do with fixing our roads and bridges.
Some of these remaining funds will be funneled to townships and counties. Some opponents of Prop 1 view these funds as a payoff to township and county officials to gain their support for Prop 1. In fact, organizations that lobby on behalf of townships and counties have lined up in support of Prop 1. Who could blame them? After all, these governmental bodies would be getting “free” money should voters decided to pass the largest tax increase in Michigan in the last 50 years.
Which organizations are anxious to get their hands on more of your money? The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) and the Michigan Townships Association (MTA) are lobbying on behalf of their members to increase Michigan’s sales tax by 16.7%, taking it from 6 to 7 percent. Who are the members of these key organizations supporting Prop 1? Well, their members are none other than county governments and township governments along with the men and women you elect to serve as local leaders.
Do your local elected officials share the viewpoint of the MAC and the MTA? Or do they have an opposing view? On an issue as complex as Prop 1 it is understandable that some local officials will be for Prop 1 and some will be against. Case in point, local elected leaders in neighboring communities came out on both sides of the issue. Here is an excerpt from a Detroit News article published on April 24.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said they support it. But Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he doesn't.
The so-called Big Four made the remarks during a panel discussion, the main event of a luncheon for more than 750 people at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.
Their comments come less than two weeks before voters go to the polls to decide the fate of Prop 1, which calls for eliminating the state's 6 percent sales tax on fuel sales and replacing it with a new wholesale fuel tax system as well as a 1 percent sales tax increase on all other goods.
Duggan said he plans to vote in favor of the proposal. "We have pushed the bill for our roads on to our kids and our grandkids," the Detroit mayor said. "At what point are we going to stop pushing it to the next generations?"
Hackel said he thinks the legislators behind the proposal didn't do a good job of explaining to the public what the measure will do to help fund road repairs, though he backs it.
But Oakland County's executive, the only Republican in the group, said he opposes the proposal. "There are other ways to fix our roads without jamming the taxpayer," Patterson said.
The Gadsden Center appreciates that these local leaders came out publicly and took a stand, either for or against, Prop 1. We appreciate the transparency shown by these county and local leaders on an issue of critical importance.
Seeking that same level of transparency locally, The Gadsden Center asked Livingston County leaders how they stood on Prop 1. Details regarding this survey are published elsewhere on our website.
Here is our summary of this survey:
Surveys were emailed to 30 of 33 policymakers, including Township Supervisors, City Mayors, Village Presidents, County Commissioners, State Representatives, and our State Senator. We were unable to email our survey to 3 elected officials because their email addresses were not on the website of their jurisdiction.
8 survey recipients responded by email, 22 did not.
7 of 8 respondents oppose Prop 1, one did not state his support or opposition.
Of the 22 non-responders, 5 verbally indicated their opposition to Prop 1.
No elected officials responding to our survey, either in writing or verbally, expressed support for Prop 1.
The Gadsden Center believes constituents are best served when policymakers provide leadership and take a stand on Prop 1, a constitutional amendment which could produce the highest tax increase in Michigan in the past 50 years.
We at The Gadsden Center applaud those policymakers who stated their position, in writing, and provided leadership for our community.
Here are the detailed results of our survey:
These individuals returned the survey and OPPOSED Proposal 1.
Bill Green, District 2 County Commission
David Domas, District 3 County Commission
Lana Theis, District 42 State Representative
Hank Vaupel, District 47 State Representative
Mark St. Charles, Green Oak Township Supervisor
Patrick Hohl, Hamburg Township Supervisor
Michael Cunningham, Tyrone Township Supervisor
This individual returned the survey without expressing support or opposition to Proposal 1.
Bill Hanvey, Marion Township Supervisor
These individuals DID NOT return the survey, but verbally expressed opposition to Proposal 1. Note: Written confirmation had not been received when this report was published.
Carol Griffith, District 7 County Commission, Chair of the County Commission
Dennis Dolan, District 8 County Commission
Gary Childs, District 9 County Commission
Alfred Mattioli, Deerfield Township Supervisor
Donald Parker, District 5 County Commission (originally listed in incorrect category, correction made on 4/27/2015)
These individuals DID NOT return the survey. Note: volunteers called these individuals to remind them of the survey. They either spoke with them or left a message.
Jim Muzzin, Brighton City Mayor
Nick Proctor, Howell City Mayor
Kate Lawrence, District 1 County Commission
Ronald Van Houten, District 4 County Commission
Steve Williams, District 6 County Commission, Vice-Chair of the County Commission
Tom Murphy, Brighton Township Supervisor
Mark Fosdick, Cohactah Township Supervisor
Michael Rife, Conway Township Supervisor
Gary McCririe, Genoa Township Supervisor
Bill Fountain, Hartland Township Supervisor
Mike Coddington, Howell Township Supervisor
William Bamber, Osceola Township Supervisor
Ron Rau, Putnam Township Supervisor
Linda Carol Walker, Unadilla Township Supervisor
Linda Lavey, Pinckney Village President
We were unable to email a survey to these individuals because their email addresses were not on the website of their jurisdiction. However, each individual was contacted by phone and informed of the survey.
Ed Alverson, Handy Township Supervisor
William Miller, Iosco Township Supervisor
Wayne Copeland, Fowlerville Village President
Note: State Senator Joe Hune did not return the survey. When a volunteer called his office she was told that Senator Hune would not express support or opposition. However, subsequent to our survey, the Livingston Daily reported that Senator Hune was opposed to Proposal 1.