Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vote NO on Proposal 1

Today gives us a rare May election in Michigan. While school bond proposals are up for a vote in many communities, the main reason for today's balloting is Proposal 1, a statewide initiative which would raise the sales tax and generate nearly two billion dollars. Most but not all of the money would go for roads, and the passage of the proposal would ignite a flurry of legislation in support of the bill.

Whatever. True, Michigan roads need work. But where the money needed to fix them comes from is something the state legislature should decide for itself. That's what it exists for, and that's why we elected legislators: to prioritize state spending according to importance.

That a Republican legislature could not find the power and political will to do that is galling. That it would shift its responsibility to the voters under the guise of democracy is merely insulting. And as it seems quite likely that the measure will fail it looks as though the state GOP will have to come up with an alternate roads plan anyway. Its looking like the whole election will become only a delaying tactic and that Lansing will have to come to grips with the issue all on its lonesome after all.

We support state maintenance of roads on the grounds that good roads are in the general interest. But to ask the public for more money simply to do what a spineless legislature has no apparent interest in doing does not live up to that responsibility. It's just shifting, or, better, trying to shift, the blame for road conditions onto someone else. As a judge might send a hung jury back for greater deliberations, so too Michigan voters ought to send the roads question back to their lawmakers for resolution. Vote NO on Proposal 1.

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