Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Michigan Proposals

The following is about the Proposals on the Michigan ballot. I don’t know if other states have similar proposals or not. So, if you’re not in Michigan, this may not interest you.

There are six proposals on the ballot in Michigan this year. I’m putting them below and my own comments following each one. I am only commenting on these based on my reading of them and what advantages or pitfalls may be in them. While it may show that I’m for or against each of these proposals, I’m very open to opinions and ideas or even explanations of others. So please, if you have something to say about them, I’m interested in your opinions in the hopes that if I’ve missed something, someone will point it out.


Public Act 4 of 2011 would:
·        Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
·        Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
·        Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
·        Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.
Should this law be approved?
YES __
NO ____
Comments: I’m inclined to choose no on this one at this time. Governments around the country are going broke, much like the federal government. Bullet point one I can agree with. I believe that if local governments are going to receive state or federal money that there is nothing wrong with establishing a pathway to find if the money is being used in a sound manner.

Bullet point two is mixed in my mind. I don’t mind if the Governor appoints an emergency manager when there is a financial emergency in a community. However, the second point creates a problem. It allows the EM to act “in place” of local government officials. The local government was elected by the people in that community. They are  responsible for running the government of the city. They are chosen by those that elected them in that election to do a good job or a poor job or somewhere in the middle. The state and federal government can cease giving money to the city if they feel the money isn’t being used properly, but the elected officials are the ones to ultimately be held responsible.

If it said that an EM was needed and it was publicized that the community had to have one and that the results of the EM as well as any recommendations that they may have are publicized, I think this would be a much better law to add to the books. If that was to happen, the elected officials would then be held responsible, and in their next election, they’d be running against not only their opponent, but also the report of the EM regarding the city that they are responsible for.

Due to that second part of bullet point two, I am voting against this proposal. Remember, this is an amendment to the Constitution. If you’re going to amend the Constitution, you should be required to do it right without taking away peoples rights and responsibilities.


This proposal would:
·        Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
·        Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions. Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
·        Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
·        Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____

Comments: I will definitely be voting no on this one. People can organize now and create a union if they so choose. I don’t like the idea of government employees having a union because they are supposed to be working for the people and not hold their neighbors hostage to get their benefits paid for while the taxpayer foots the bill.
I believe that if this law is passed, it will drive businesses out of the state because businesses will not like being forced into a union and having their businesses dictated to by union officials who’s only tie to the business is that they collect union dues from the employees of that particular business.

Is changing the Constitution to favor unions doing anything for the people or just for the union people? People already have the ability to create a union and work with their employers on creating one. Making it a part of the Constitution just seems to be overkill on the part of the unions. Remember, it says an employer is defined as one employee or more. A lot of individuals with their own business that have no other employees besides themselves will still be required to be in a union.

This one is a definite no for me.


This proposal would:
·        Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.
·        Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.
·        Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.
·        Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____
Comments: I’m voting no on this one. Wind, solar, biomass and hydropower has not been proven to be enough to power what’s needed. The amendment even recognizes this by saying they don’t have to reach the 25% level until the year 2025. If they can get 25% of their energy from those sources earlier, on time, or later, if it’s beneficial,  and cost effective,  the energy companies could then choose to go to the 25% or even higher if feasible. This is something that can’t be achieved right now, so why the need for an amendment right now?
Next it wants to limit rate increases to 1%, but in the next bullet point it gives an out for the 1% increase to be increased even more.
Finally, why require Michigan  made equipment and Michigan residents the jobs? If they require only Michigan made equipment, it takes the market away. Suppose an Iowa company makes a machine just as good or better for the same or lower price than the Michigan Company. This law would require the more expensive just because it’s made in Michigan. What incentive does it give a Michigan company to compete for the business if their product MUST be used?
This is a definite no.

This proposal would:
·        Allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC). Continue the current exclusive representative of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.
·        Require MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks, and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.
·        Preserve patients’ rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC registry who are bargaining unit members.
·        Authorize the MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____
Comments:  In-home care workers covers a couple of categories. Not only is it the definition of someone in their home opening a business to take care of senior citizens and disabled people, but it also can include child care providers, and babysitters. The MQHCC is the Union known as SEIU.

A person wants to start a business. The business they choose is to take care of the elderly or the disabled. They may be in their home or they may be in the patients home.
Obviously they are licensed to carry on this work. They are usually self employed or working for someone that has been successful and needs help because they have too many patients for one person, so they hire another or more to satisfy the needs of their patients.

This amendment would force them to join the union and specifically the MQHCC aka SEIU. It would also force patients to use the financial services to manage the cost of their in-home care. This seems to be a conflict of interest. In addition, forcing someone opening a business out of their home or in the homes of their patients to join a union is not what we should be doing. If the business owner wants to join the union, great. But forcing them too and then requiring financial services for the patients by the union and keeping a registry of the patients smacks of big brother. These are things the business owner should be doing. Finding someone to provide financial service, if needed, would be a perk for a business owner to provide, and keeping track of their patients on their own, is the business owners responsibility.

Requiring that these elderly, disabled and parents pay certain minimums for the care they are getting is another intrusion by the union. These are things that should be worked out by the business owner and their clients or patients.

I have to add a little disclosure here. I’m in the financial services field. So if you want to perceive a bias from that regarding any mention of financial services, that’s your choice. You should be looking at the proposals yourself to decide what’s right and wrong with a particular proposal. I’d urge you to try to see the other requirements if you think I’m using a bias when it comes to the financial services.

Offering a union to employees is one thing, but forcing a union on them is something removing a freedom. Removing freedoms should not be in the Constitution. That statement could even be used with some of the other proposals.

This proposal is a no.


This proposal would:
Require a 2/3 majority vote of the State House and State Senate, or a statewide vot of the people at a November election, in order for the State of Michigan to impose new or additional taxes on taxpayers or expand the base of taxation or increasing the rate of taxation.
This section shall in now way be construed to limit or modity tax limtations otherwise created in this Consitution.
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____

 Comments: With the recession we’ve recently gone through we are now seeing what our legislators do. They spend tremendous amounts of money. When the governments get additional revenue, remember, records were set on the amount of revenue the government received following the two most recent tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, they not only spend what they were spending but they spend the additional as well and even spend more than what they have to spend. Then when times get tough, they want to raise the taxes of the people to make up for the excessive spending that the government has done.

If this amendment is passed, the legislature will now have restrictions on what they can collect from us to cover their irresponsible spending. This isn’t taking away their ability to tax, it’s just ensuring that a super majority of the people and Congress agree that more taxes are needed. This does not remove freedoms from the people. To the contrary, it actually makes them more involved in their own freedom.


This proposal would:
·        Require the approval of a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where “new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” are to be located before the State of Michigan may expend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing, or promoting new international bridges or tunnels.
·        Create a definition of "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" that means, "any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of January 1, 2012."
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____

Comments: Make no mistake about this proposal. While it applies to ANY bridge built in the future between the United States and Canada, it was started by the controversy over the construction of the bridge to replace the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.

This debate about the bridge in Detroit has been going on for years. In the recent past, there have been questions about Canada paying $100 million that the US will not have to pay for this bridge. However, it came out recently that the US will have to pay at least a portion, if not all of the $100 million.

Remember the bridge to nowhere from the 2008 presidential campaign? Money spent to build a bridge where it wasn’t needed. It was a pet project of Congress to get money for certain areas. Most notably in that case was for Alaska.

Whether you are for the bridge in Detroit or against it, one thing is very clear. Congress, the legislatures can and have passed bills (wasted money) on things that weren’t necessary. Sometimes they actually do spend money wisely for things that are needed, but sometimes they don’t.

This amendment if passed would give the people say about whether a bridge should be built. If they pass it and it’s a bad deal, the people have chosen. If they pass it and it turns out to be a good deal the people have passed it. It’s not the legislature or Congress that is just spending money without concern for need. The people in the area where the bridge is to be built, will decide. How can that be a bad thing?

You’re welcome, and asked, for comments.



loachridge said...

I am going to call you out on this blog for what seems to be a lack of research. Yes, I know its a blog. But, in being responsible one should do the research.
And I am going to base this on just reading your proposal 1. It appears that you dont even understand what a referendum is. This is not an amendment. There are 5 amendments, Prop 1 is not.
I will finish reading and probably post more comments. Or you can go over to my blog.

loachridge said...

Prop 2.
Now I know you havent done any research.
Government employees, Federal and State, have and do belong to a union. Please accept this as truth as I work with a former State employee and am currently a Federal employee.
Prop 2 does not establish a broad union base across the state. It roots the State employees union into the constitution. Meaning any union contract would be locked in and their employer(s) wouldnt be able to discuss changes in times of stress or hardship.
It means the State employees would be exempt from many of the same laws and regulations non-organized labor have to follow.
I recommend a NO vote based on the fact that it has nothing to do with protecting Michigans citizens.
Again my blog address this.
And I would not recommend reading this blog any farther.

loachridge said...

Yeah, I really have a problem with how this is being done.
Makes me wonder if any reading beyond that of the Proposals as written for the ballot has been looked at.
I have done the digging. I have done the reading. I have connected the dots.

Brielle Franklin said...

What an interesting article. I have been looking up information on writing a proposal and just reading through your post helped me out a bunch. Thanks so much for the basic layout of a proposal.