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Why Michigan needs two more proposals

Published 10:53am Monday, November 5, 2012

What Michigan voters need Nov. 6 is a ballot proposal making the constitution harder to change or limiting the number of such issues per election.
Proposal 1 tries to repeal a law already on the books.
The other five proposals seek to amend the state constitution.
That’s why Cass County Republicans supported a yes vote on Proposal 1 and rejected the rest.
A yes vote on Proposal 1 retains the emergency manager law. This is a referendum on a tool state government uses to police school districts and cities that fall short getting their houses in financial order.
Proposal 3 seems promising. Even former President Bill Clinton endorsed it and called on Michigan voters to approve a plan to create jobs and rein in high energy costs. “Proposal 3 is Michigan’s best opportunity this year to jump start the state’s economy by creating 94,000 jobs and increasing the use of renewable energy,” Clinton said. “Proposal 3 invests in Michigan’s future so it won’t get left behind by the 30 other states that are already creating new clean energy jobs and lowering consumers’ electricity costs. That’s why I’m so proud to endorse Proposal 3.”
Proposal 3 requires electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of sales from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and water power, by 2025.
Proposal 3 supporters promise a one-percent cap on rate hikes, but that’s not guaranteed and only covers the generation cost.
It fails to recognize other costs, including transmission, decommissioning, storage and fuel.
Proposal 5 has been called the most dangerous by essentially blocking any state tax increase from taking effect, even in an emergency, unless a two-thirds legislative majority agrees or a statewide vote is held.
Six complex proposals with such sweeping effects seem overwhelming with everything else on a presidential ballot — especially five attempts to slip pet issues into the constitution.
“If ballot proposals pass,” Susan Martin, chief of staff for state Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, put it, “It takes away the Legislature’s ability to do anything other than stick with the mandate.”

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