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Ballot Proposals Threaten Local Government

Tuesday, September 19, 2006   (0 Comments)
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This year’s November ballot could see up to six ballot proposals, several of which, if approved, will impact local government construction-related activities. These include:

1. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which would eliminate the ability of public institutions such as local government to use affirmative action programs in hiring and contracting;

2. Restricting the ability of government to use eminent domain for the purpose of redevelopment;

3. A mandate to spend a certain level of funds for K-16 education.

K-16 Ballot Proposal

Nearly everyone agrees that good schools should be a top priority. Most individuals want to support education as much as possible within the confines of a finite budget……….as long as it doesn’t result in major cuts in important state programs that fund other critical services. The K-16 ballot proposal would mandate annual funding increases equal to the rate of inflation for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. The non-partisan House and Senate Fiscal agencies estimate its cost during the first year alone to be in the range of $1 billion. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that this would have a detrimental impact on programs such as revenue sharing and thus, ultimately local government construction spending.

Click here to view the K-16 Ballot Proposal Web Post Card.

This past year, revenue sharing received $420 million, which is $600 million below required statutory funding levels. Of the $4 billion in state budget cuts the last four years, revenue sharing has been reduced by $1.5 billion, almost 40% of all reductions made. This has forced communities across our state to make reductions in critical services such as police, fire and infrastructure spending.

It just doesn’t make sense to lock in funding for one particular segment of the budget, given what effect that will have on funding for critical government services. Arguments made by proponents that since this isn’t a constitutional amendment the Legislature could change the increases simply don’t wash. This would take a super-majority (three-fourths) vote to accomplish a nearly impossible feat.

MITA opposes this proposal and is part of a broad coalition fighting this initiative. Your association encourages you to vote “no” on this proposal on November 7th. If you have any questions on any of the ballot initiatives, please feel free to contact either Mike Nystrom by e-mail at or Keith Ledbetter at or call the MITA office at 517-347-8336.

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