With the election just a little over a week away, we at the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) are increasingly concerned about Proposal 5. This proposed extreme change to the Michigan constitution would create a fiscal nightmare for our state. For that reason, MPCA strongly opposes Proposal 5 and encourages you to vote NO on this proposal November 6.
Passage of Proposal 5 would mean fewer residents have a say in what happens in Michigan. It requires a two-thirds vote of lawmakers in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature to alter, update, or modernize the state’s tax system in any way. (Something that has NEVER happened in modern history.) That means just 13 State Senators would ultimately have the superminority power to prevent a tax change viewed as necessary for our state by the other 135 legislators. Where is the democracy in that?
Passage of proposal 5 would make it nearly impossible for the Michigan Legislature to ever include a tax in any future budget solution, locking Michigan into its current tax structure. This is alarming since, as we know, Michigan’s economy changes. In addition, some current taxes like the insurance claims tax is due to expire in 2014. This amendment would require a two-thirds vote to extend the insurance claims tax, possibly resulting in a $400 million dollar hole in Michigan’s current budget. Michigan MUST be able to adjust to change and invest in programs needed to improve its economy or solve a financial emergency. Lacking the ability to adjust state taxes to fit current needs would shift costs to the local level, resulting in higher local taxes and more cuts to essential public services that protect the well-being and safety of our families, like health care, education, roads, and public safety.
Michigan should learn from the states that have already adopted a constitutional majority requirement that applies to all tax increases. These states tend to have higher than average unemployment (Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate) and lower than average per capita income (Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation). That is not what we want for Michigan. We want to live in a state that has the ability to invest in its future and where the government can govern, not where lobbyists and special interests rule. MPCA urges you to vote NO on proposal 5.