Sunday, September 23, 2012

Michigan's 2012 Ballot Measures - My stance so far

I thought I would comment on the Michigan ballot measures in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.

This is a good resource for Michigan's ballot measures - http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Michigan_2012_ballot_measures 

Here is the Governor's stance on each measure - http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-60279-286346--,00.html

Ballot Measure 1: Expand powers for emergency managers (EMs) and ability of Governor to appoint EMs.

Vote: Yes

The Emergency Manager law is necessary.  Despite resistance from the Detroit City Council and Corporation Counsel to an EM in Detroit, the city has done virtually nothing to reorganize its bloated bureaucracy, streamline, merge, and consolidate departments, and reduce the size of tis workforce.  The EM law is designed to address inept government and is in the interest of the citizens not only of the impacted municipality but for everyone in Michigan who send money through Lansing and back to communities with inept government.  As much as like Dave Bing as the Mayor of Detroit, he hasn't been able to break the broken Detroit bureaucracy.

Ballot Measure 2: Makes collective bargaining a right for public and private workers.

Vote: No

I believe unions play a role in the private sector on unchecked profiteering and in protecting workers that put their physical well-being at risk (manual labor) on a daily basis to support our economy.  I also believe unions play a role in the public sector to protect those who perform manual labor that puts their physical well-being at risk.

The reason why I do not support this measure is that unions already have too much power in the public sector.  Whereas labor costs are an input to the profit / loss risk taken in a private venture, state and local government doesn't have the luxury to operate at a loss.  Unions cannot represent a barrier to running a fiscally responsible government and downsizing government in times of fiscal constraint.  Our founding fathers believed in small, lean government.  I personally witnessed public sector union workers with job descriptions designed 20 - 30 years sit behind a desk, do very little, collect a paycheck, and they were not subject to ANY performance measures.  Taxpayers deserve a modern, efficient, lean, government that is responsive to its citizens.

Ballot Measure 3: Mandate that 25% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

Vote: Yes

This is a no brainer.  Energy companies have too much power.  If they could have it their way, they would continue with business as usual - producing electricity from the cheapest, dirtiest source possible while continuing to raise rates on energy payers.  They won't change their behavior unless forced to do so.  Furthermore, certain energy companies have resisted green metering which would allow local, green, home, renewable energy producers to sell their excess energy back to the grid.  This law needs to force change and it will drive job creation and economic growth in Michigan.

Ballot Measure 4: Gives home health care providers limited collective bargaining rights.

Vote: Undecided

I recognize the work done by health home care workers is tough and they don't necessarily have the professional power to lobby for better conditions.  I realize with the retirement of the baby boomer generation, these workers will be more important.

I don't necessarily oppose collective bargaining by these professionals, however I do have issues with this group being specifically called out in the state constitution.  I agree with the aspects of background checks for the workers, but I believe, like any collective bargaining unit, that they should not yield excess power without specific performance measures to ensure the quality of their work.  If we fund background checks and training, we should also be instituting performance measures for licensing and renewal of licenses home care professionals.

Ballot Measure 5: Require increase in state taxes to be approved by 2/3 majority in Legislature or statewide vote.

Vote: No

Taxes are a necessary evil.  Nobody likes them, and we need to make sure that they are spent wisely.  We cannot impede public decision-making around taxes in times of need by putting this stipulation on it.  I smell dirty partisan interests on this one or a specific interest group led by a bridge owner.


Ballot Measure 6: Rquires voters to approve any new bridge or tunnel from the state to Canada.

Vote: No

This is Matty Maroun's measure to block a public bridge.  Even though the Governor claims that this bridge will cost Michigan taxpayers nothing, I don't care.  I would pay a few taxes toward it, I think having more border crossings makes economic sense, and I think more crossings protect us in the event of disruption at one of the existing border crossings.  A billionaire shouldn't be deciding how things work in Michigan.  He can build his new bridge, and there can be a public bridge, and we can all realize the benefits of trade and economic prosperity.

Thanks for reading.

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