Even with no opposition, is Proposal 1 in trouble?

Maybe it’s cynicism.

Maybe it’s bad messaging.

And maybe it’s just a sign of the times: that a public ballot proposal with support from the vast majority of Republican and Democrat politicians may not have the support of the public.

Proposal 1 is billed as a win for everyone – businesses get a tax cut, communities get stable funding from a different source, and residents don’t get socked with a tax hike.

Yet Prop 1, with more than $8 million spent in support and no organized opposition, faces a real possibility of being voted down in Tuesday’s primary. That outcome could set off a chain of events that could devastate Michigan communities.

“If voters don’t approve it at the ballot, it’s going to hurt local units of government more than anyone else,” warned Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs for the Michigan Association of Counties. “It’s scary. I don’t know where people are on this.”

What exactly am I voting on?

Prop 1 asks voters to give their blessing to two things: the repeal of most of the state’s personal property tax that most businesses pay on equipment, and rerouting money collected from the state’s user tax, a different, already-existing business tax, to make up the money municipalities would lose from eliminating the PPT.

Even when stated clearly, Prop 1 is difficult for most folks to get their arms around. Add to that the fact that the language on the ballot is confusing, may include an error, and doesn’t even mention the personal property tax being repealed, and you’ve got a proposal that appears to be in deep trouble.

Prop 1 has the support of Republican and Democrat leaders, a massive television, mail and social media campaign, and no organized opposition.

Roger Martin of Martin-Waymire Advocacy Communications is a veteran of 11 ballot initiative battles. He said he believes Prop 1 will pass, but acknowledges the challenges unique to this proposal.

Voters may have “ballot proposal fatigue” from 2012, when residents voted down all six ballot initiatives on the ballot. “I believe Prop 1 will pass,” said Martin, who’s not connected to this year’s proposal. “With $8 million in spending and no organized opposition, there’s no way in heck it should lose.”

Yet a July poll released by Public Sector Consultants and Denno Research, found 31 percent of respondents said they were likely to vote for Prop 1, with 27 percent likely to vote no; 42 percent were neutral or unsure how they would vote.

(Disclosure: Martin-Waymire and Public Sector Consultants perform consulting and other services for the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine.These consultants exercise no editorial review or control over Bridge reporting.)

“It’s complicated – you can’t explain it in 30 seconds,” said Bosworth, whose Michigan Association of Counties supports Prop 1. “People don’t understand it.”

Generally, voters who don’t understand a ballot proposal either don’t vote or vote no.

Adding to the jittery stomachs is the reaction on social media, which has been overwhelmingly negative.

“I don’t trust our elected officials in Lansing to protect the economic viability of local communities,” wrote one reader of a Truth Squad analysis of an ad promoting Prop 1.

Another wrote, “This whole proposal looks flawed and why can’t our do nothing legislature just fix it without a ballot proposal?”

“It’s completely bizarre,” said a frustrated Bosworth. “There’s no reason not to support this other than, ‘I don’t trust Lansing so I’m going to vote no.’”

Does ‘No’ trigger a slow-motion train wreck?

What happens if voters reject Prop 1?

Things go back to the way they were. The personal property tax is back, and communities would continue to get PPT revenue as they have in the past.

But some believe it wouldn’t stay that way for long. “I don’t think (PPT) is going to fade as an issue,” said Tony Stamas, director of governmental affairs for the Small Business Association of Michigan. “I think there will be a push to remove it (PPT) anyway.”

The legislature could, and many expect would, pass a new repeal of PPT during the lame duck session between the November election and Dec. 31. That would give Michigan businesses the tax cut they want.

But it could also cut tax revenue to Michigan towns and counties.

The legislature could promise to use general fund dollars to replace the revenue communities would lose from a PPT repeal. But without dedicated funds from the redirected user tax (the other important component of Prop 1), municipalities would have to make their case for funding every year, rather than having a guaranteed revenue stream.

“The Legislature has a short-term memory problem because of term limits,” Bosworth said. “Two years or three years from now when they’re in a budget crunch, they may not remember why they’re giving that money” to municipalities.

The bargain struck between businesses and communities represented by Prop 1 took years to finesse in Lansing and, in the end, drew the support of the vast majority of the state’s political, business and community leaders. “If this isn’t successful, I don’t know what we have to do,” said Stamas, of the small business group.

Confusion abounds

The PPT has never been popular. It forces businesses to pay a tax every year on equipment. Businesses view it as unfair because they also paid a sales tax on the equipment when it was purchased.

Proceeds from the PPT go to the cities, towns and counties where those businesses operate. The PPT generated $844 million in 2011, according to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis.

In the state as a whole, the PPT represents about 7 percent of all property tax value, according to a Citizens Research Council analysis of the ballot proposal.

For some communities, though, PPT revenues are huge. In Carson City, PPT revenues are 71 percent of all property tax value, according to the CRC report. Midland, home of Dow Chemical, has $733 million in personal property tax value in 2013.

In 30 communities with large industrial bases, PPT makes up more than 30 percent of all property tax value.

PPT repeal isn’t technically on the ballot, but only kicks in if Prop 1 is approved. What is on the ballot is the approval of the rerouting of some existing user tax fees to local communities to make up for the loss of PPT. Michigan’s user tax is another tax paid by businesses.

The wording of the ballot, though, is likely to leave a lot of voters scratching their heads.

Besides being confusing, the ballot language also may include an error. The proposal says there is a constitutional limit of 6 percent on the use tax; there is no constitutional limit on the use tax, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.

Other analyses point to mixed results if Prop 1 is passed.

For example, a report released Wednesday by the Anderson Economic Group projects that the elimination of the PPT could be responsible for 5,000 to 11,700 new jobs in Michigan by 2025, through businesses using PPT savings to expand. That report was commissioned by a nonprofit organization called Small Business for Michigan, which, according to its address, is in the same office as the Small Business Association of Michigan.

That same report includes a caution: The rerouting of user tax revenues to cities and counties will lead to a reduction in the state’s general fund of $407 million by 2020, and $497 million by 2025. While the Legislature plans to use expiring tax credits to cover the loss if Prop 1 passes, it would still mean that some programs likely will be funded at lower levels than they would have been if Prop 1 is rejected.

A Michigan State University analysis of Prop 1 reached a similar conclusion: “While businesses benefit from a reduction in taxes and locals benefit from more stable funding to provide public safety, state-provided services such as prisons, state police, highways and higher education may decline.”

Campaign spending: $8 million to zero

The group formed to promote Prop 1, Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities, has flooded the airwaves and social media with ads encouraging primary voters to vote yes.

See Truth Squad call on ad promoting Prop 1.

Prop 1 has been endorsed by groups ranging from AARP to police and fire unions, Business Leaders of Michigan and the Michigan Association of School Boards.

“The tremendous advantage we have is we have support across the board, whether Democrat or Republican, business or community,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokesperson for the Prop 1 advocacy group. “I’ve never seen an issue that has broader, deeper support.”

Support among voters, though, is a bit softer.

“We’re working really hard,” Rossman-McKinney said. “We have paid advertising up right now."

“You’re going to have that segment” of voters who know nothing about Prop 1 before they enter a voting booth, Stamas said, “so we just have to crisscross the state and make sure the other segments are informed.”

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Comments

John Q.
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 9:54am
Take a ballot proposal which has wording that sounds like it's straight out of a political consultant's spin machine and voters are already going to be on guard. Next, add a Rube Goldberg funding mechanism that even local officials can't explain or understand and voters really start question this proposal. Finally, take an environment where Republicans keep cutting taxes for businesses but workers don't see new jobs or income growth and you have an electorate that says "enough is enough".
Dedra Downs
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:21am
I agree wholeheartedly.
Ted
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:51am
Why can't you just admit that this is a very good idea. The personal property tax was never fair. This provides stability. Why not stop criticizing every word like you think you are an English professor and let somebody do something good for once.
Wendy
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 1:23pm
This may not be entirely on the same track, but I have to pay on my vehicle every year for the plate tabs - determined by the vehicle 'value', and Snyder wants to add to that expense. What is so wrong with businesses paying on equipment that they also can use as write-offs?
Jeri
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 12:14pm
Anytime the elected officials create an "authority" to take in the money and distribute it , takes accountability away from the taxpaying citizen. I am adverse removal of accountability from the people.
Chuck
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:19am
I vote with an absentee ballot and I voted no after reading the proposal, not understanding where they planned to make up the lost revenue and receiving a piece of junk mail that claimed getting rid of the tax would create "15,000" new jobs killed it. I couldn't figure out who paid for the junk mail, assumed it was from one of our corporate "persons" (aka Scott Hagerstrom on behalf of the Koch brothers. So, you're absolutely right: I didn't understand the ballot proposal, have lived through a decade of "job creator horse manure" and did not want to vote for another measure that would short change schools, universities, or highways.
Dave
Sat, 08/02/2014 - 8:33pm
"Up to 15,000" can be from 0 to 15,000.
Dave
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:56am
I agree...15,000 new jobs? What kind? An obvious con job from the guys who cut taxes for business and raised taxes for seniors.
Deb Sumner
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 1:00pm
You got that right!
Larry
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 9:56am
Lord help me decide - I have some "FOUND" money. I can keep it for myself or give it to a bunch of rich guys, like the governor wants me to. I would like to give it to the poor and hungry but I don't have that option. Lord what would you do?
John
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 4:03pm
I agree Larry - There is remarkably little opposition to this proposal. The proposition gives back $600 million to business, collecting instead $100 million from business. ". . .The remaining $500 million that would eventually be needed for local governments is not financed by new revenue, but rather would be diverted from the state’s general fund, which supports health care programs, the criminal justice system, higher education, and human services programs. . ." http://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Use_Tax_and_Community_Stabilization_Shar...(August_2014) Timothy J. Bartik, senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, offered critical commentary of Proposal 1. Bartik said the proposal may exacerbate the state's budget issues: “The main problem with Proposal 1 is the lack of adequate replacement revenue. The $600 million in funds for local governments are provided in part by a new, smaller statewide tax on business personal property, which would eventually provide about $100 million annually. The remaining $500 million that would eventually be needed for local governments is not financed by new revenue, but rather would be diverted from the state’s general fund, which supports health care programs, the criminal justice system, higher education, and human services programs. Some Proposal 1 proponents argue that the remaining $500 million is financed by expiring business tax credits. However, these expiring business tax credits were already scheduled to expire, and should not be counted as “new revenue”. Michigan faces a long-run budget problem. The state’s tax revenue grows slower than the state economy, while spending pressures grow faster than the state economy. Proposal 1 worsens this problem by about $500 million per year. This loss in revenue could reduce state services, which could worsen the state’s economic competitiveness, even with lower personal property taxes. Voters face this choice: if Proposal 1 passes, the state’s budget situation will deteriorate and services are likely to suffer. If Proposal 1 is voted down, it is possible that the state legislature will re-enact personal property tax elimination without replacement revenue for local governments… Regardless of what happens to Proposal 1, Michigan faces significant long-run budget challenges. The news media, outside public interest groups, and state policymakers need to focus more on the long-term budget issues facing the state, and possible tax and budget reforms to deal with these issues. We can’t keep kicking the can down the (pothole-strewn) road. [9]
Michael Emlaw
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 9:13pm
Exactly right, John. The PPT should be repealed but we need an honest proposal that replaces the revenue with real revenue, not a diversion of the state's general fund that will shortchange state programs (mental health, children's services, higher education, etc etc) that have been underfunded for years. Let's be candid here - the proposal has the support of many groups who have been told that if they don't support it, the legislature will repeal the PPT with no mechanism to reimburse local governments and school districts. It's blackmail, pure and simple. The proponents are right - it will pass. But we could have done better if our legislators had the courage to say "OK business community, the outmoded PPT needs to be eliminated and that's half a billion tax cut for you. But we just can't keep shrinking state essential services to benefit one segment of the state economy and we'll work to put together a plan to replace that revenue and you'll be a part of it." And it's very difficult to swallow conclusions from the Anderson Economic Group, the go-to organization whenever the business community wants a fig-leaf of data to justify their priorities.
Michael
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:01am
Who is responsible for the confusing wording of the proposal on the ballot?
Phil
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 9:36am
Michael --because the language was written by the Legislature, no challenge to that confusing language could have been mounted, unlike other "ballot language" that is not written by the "corporate persons" in Lansing --I'm running for State Senate in Northern Michigan, and I'm encouraging a NO vote. Reject the politics of fear (if you don't pass this sucker, we'll really stick it to you in the lame-duck session!!).
Bruce
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:02am
You’re not helping eliminate the confusion with statements like “…unfair because they also paid a sales tax on the equipment when it was purchased.” Perhaps you should tell us what kind of “equipment” was subject to sales tax. It most certainly was not equipment used to make a product. Office furniture etc was subject to sales tax but use of the term equipment conjures up images of big expensive machinery being (sales) taxed and that is not the case.
Mark
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 4:44pm
Actually it is machines that make the products that are taxed when purchased and every year there after. Now I do not consider myself a wealthy businessman looking for a tax brake. We are a small company with less the 10 employees. Our company and others like us will see the benefit. We are not the companies with the big office buildings. We are what is normally considered the family owned business. We don't want any special treatment, we just want to play on a level playing field. Our main competition is not the companies in Ohio and Indiana, it's importers from over seas. Anything that can reduce our expenses has the potential to provide additional jobs. I see comments against this proposal and I can understand why. I had the same questions about where will the money come from to replace this tax. After I did a little digging then I could understand the proposal. I suggest ask more questions and do more research.
Derek Ecklesdafer
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 6:38pm
Okay if it's going to help your company then tell me how many jobs do you plan on creating and at what wage and benefits? I'm voting no but I could be swayed.
Brenda Redding
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:05am
Why? Maybe it would help if the politicians would listen to the voters: ' Yes' to road repair, (?), 'No' to EM, (?), and we didn't vote on that pay raise some years ago you guys rushed in for yourselves, while the rest of us were taking pay cuts. I voted 'yes' on 1, but from the discussions I have with friends, many folks did not, because of a lack of trust, believing that the politicians do not have our interests at heart and do whatever they want that benefits their own interests, with little regard to what the voters poll. Polls help, but the politicians should take a walk around their neighborhoods and talk to a few of the voters and get a real feel for the community.
Big D
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:05am
My basic caution stems from two things: 1. We don't need another bureaucracy in Lansing, with its cost and potential for treating local govts unequally. 2. By taking compensating funding from the general fund ("use tax"), it sets the stage of cries for more revenue in the future...could include mandating sales tax from out-of-state internet companies. Recognizing how much businesses shared in the crafting of this complex just reminds me how much power they have in Lansing. Some of that is positive, and maybe this is, but think of a lot of what the MEDC does (not all, though), and the RPS, and the film scam, etc. ...and particularly think of PACs (business interests) spouting overreaching mudslinging in the 37th house GOP primary in support of their shill.
Marc
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:06am
NO NO NO NO NO. Why is this on a primary ballot when NOBODY votes? Why can't this be done via the legislature (it's not like they follow ballot proposals that have been passed)? Why do we we NOT trust the politicians? Why are we not told HOW AND FROM WHERE the lost revenue from the diversion of existing tax dollars will be made up for schools, roads, etc? WHY do we continue to accept this type of leadership? WHY is this not my table for discussion (until AFTER I'm elected)? I am not a lib nor a right wing conservative, and I vote NO. This has to end and we must be responsible for the government we get. Time to take our Govt. back
Charles Richards
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:13pm
It is on the primary ballot because the Headlee Amendment requires the voters to approve a new tax or tax increase by a local government. And the legislation eliminating the Personal Property tax created a local (though statewide) agency to distribute the money diverted from the state use tax. That agency would compensate local communities for the revenue they lost from the elimination of the Personal Property tax. The lost revenue will be made up from expiring business tax credits. So, this is not a tax cut for business. The rationale behind Proposal One is that the Personal Property tax, by making investment in new and better equipment more expensive than it would otherwise be, depresses and discourages investment that makes workers more productive, and thus more valuable. It is believed that Proposal One will stimulate the economy more than the expiring tgax credits.
Charles Richards
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:13pm
It is on the primary ballot because the Headlee Amendment requires the voters to approve a new tax or tax increase by a local government. And the legislation eliminating the Personal Property tax created a local (though statewide) agency to distribute the money diverted from the state use tax. That agency would compensate local communities for the revenue they lost from the elimination of the Personal Property tax. The lost revenue will be made up from expiring business tax credits. So, this is not a tax cut for business. The rationale behind Proposal One is that the Personal Property tax, by making investment in new and better equipment more expensive than it would otherwise be, depresses and discourages investment that makes workers more productive, and thus more valuable. It is believed that Proposal One will stimulate the economy more than the expiring tax credits.
Marc
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 1:11am
Thank you for making my point. Hope is no way to make tax policy. Fool me once shame on you - fool me twice shame on me! NO!
James
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:08am
You talk about business and communities but don't identify the impact on labor, individuals, taxpayers. I need to hear more about how it impacts these groups.
Marc
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:11am
NO flat out NO
DWhyte
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:12am
I have to believe that the REASON that voters are skeptical is because WE ARE SICK AND TIRED of the REPUBLICANS in Lansing DOING NOTHING FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T CORPORATIONS WHILE PAYING OFF THEIR RICH CORPORATE AND DONOR CLASSES!!!! Meanwhile, education is underfunded, ROADS ARE A DISGRACE, women are treated like second class citizens at hearings, and their rights to control their own bodies and receive equal access to healthcare are taken away, voting rights are limited, middle and working class people continue to see reductions in their real wages, and we are somehow supposed to believe that YET ANOTHER CORPORATE GIVEAWAY, will actually prove to benefit our struggling municipalities???? You have to be joking!!! They are reaping what the Tea Party and other haters in the MI GOP, the corporati, Snyder and his rich buddies, and the rest of them have been sowing for the last few years.
blufor
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:23am
AMEN!
Jay
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 4:34pm
Exactly! At the end of the day, this proposal takes from the general fund to provide another tax break for business.
Dave
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:59am
That about covers this entire con job from the repubs who think they don't have to think about anybody except the fat cats that make big political contributions...
Jim Stansell
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:15am
Two points of clarification should be made: (1) The "guarantee" of replacement funding to local units is essentially the same guarantee that existed with statutory revenue sharing. The dollar amounts that the municipal authority is allowed to levy are contained in state statute, and can be amended at any tome. During some future economic downturn, these amounts could be reduced just as statutory revenue sharing was cut throughout the 2000s. So, while a "guarantee" may exist, it's not Constitutional. (2) Even if full replacement funding is available, it's highly unlikely that all local units will be held harmless due to the replacement revenue calculations. While there may be no loss of revenue to locals in the aggregate, there will be individual winners and losers.
Harris
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:16am
I think the reasons outlined in the article explain the reasons for the voter distrust rather adequately. First, there is a legislature that will do the lame duck end-run to make matters worse. But that really is using Prop 1 as an excuse, a way of shunning responsibility, not accepting it. Second, as the MSU report has it, passage of Prop 1 will still mean hits to other programs like State Police, education and the like. Again, Prop 1 is offered because the legislature is even crazier, and evidently the Governor is willing to go along with this craziness. To these two expressed points we can add to more pieces of legislative history: the deliberate underfunding of the schools at the start of the current administration, an underfunding that analysis at The Bridge has shown to have led to the fiscal crisis in so many school districts. And like Prop 1 this too was promoted as a "job creator." And second, there is the utter failure of the Legislature to come up with any real road funding. What we have in Lansing is dysfunction; Prop 1 at best, only hides it. While Ms Bosworth may be incredulous about rejection, the reasons are well anchored in the Legislature's (and the Governor's) philosophical madness.
Harris
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:19am
I think the reasons outlined in the article explain the reasons for the voter distrust rather adequately. First, there is a legislature that will do the lame duck end-run to make matters worse. But that really is using Prop 1 as an excuse, a way of shunning responsibility, not accepting it. Second, as the MSU report has it, passage of Prop 1 will still mean hits to other programs like State Police, education and the like. Again, Prop 1 is offered because the legislature is even crazier, and evidently the Governor is willing to go along with this craziness. To these two expressed points we can add to more pieces of legislative history: the deliberate underfunding of the schools at the start of the current administration, an underfunding that analysis at The Bridge has shown to have led to the fiscal crisis in so many school districts. And like Prop 1 this too was promoted as a "job creator." And second, there is the utter failure of the Legislature to come up with any real road funding. What we have in Lansing is dysfunction; Prop 1 at best, only hides it. While Ms Bosworth may be incredulous about rejection, the reasons are well anchored in the actions of the Legislature and our co-dependent Governor.
Harris
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:30am
Sorry for the duplicate.
Harris
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 1:33pm
For a measure that is billed as job-creating, 11,000 over ten years is pretty small potatoes in an economy of 4.7 million employed.
Dedra Downs
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:28am
When the flyers came to my house telling me to vote yes on Proposal 1, but told me absolutely nothing about the proposal I knew I was being flim flamed. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who feels that way. The republicans and their Koch machine have manipulated us enough already.
Dedra Downs
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:31am
When the flyers started coming to my house that told me to vote yes on Proposal 1 but told me nothing about what the proposal is I knew I was being flim flamed.
T. R. Shaw
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:49am
My two problems with this. First, if both sides of the aisle agree on this, why couldn't the legislature just take care of this? Is Lansing that inept that they have to pass this off to voters? Second, why is this issue being decided in a primary when only 15-20% of voters will bother to show up?
Chris
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 12:30pm
Good point!!! I'm guessing the reason is neither side wants it to appear as though they are giving tax breaks to businesses.....especially the Dems. The Republicans are probably already feeling heat from too many breaks to businesses. And the Dems would sooner have you launch an expletive laced attack on their mothers than go on record voting for something that benefits business. Any pollster can claim an initiative has bipartisan support but if came down to a roll-call vote where the politician is on the record I'm willing to bet that many would vote no or abstain. So if the legislature won't take it up themselves it makes me think they know the deal looks shady or at least may not produce the promised results. Their solution....let the voters deal with via a ballot proposal. My solution - vote NO!
John S.
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:05am
As Mr. French said, if voters don't understand a ballot proposal very well they will either vote "no" (stick with the status quo) or not vote on it. Primary voters are generally more informed than general election voters, and for that reason, there's at least a tiny chance it will pass.
Frank
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:06am
Simple. I'm voting no because I'm tired of cuts, at least undefined cuts. I'm tired of businesses getting tax breaks and the people paying (see the Senior Tax or education cuts). Prop 1 doesn't tell me what will be cut. We need to raise revenue; look at the roads. The people in Lansing have to be smarter. Maybe this is a statement for ending term limits.
Charles Richards
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:25pm
The elimination of the Personal Property tax will be financed by the expiration of business tax credits.
Cliff Schrader
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:17am
Here's what the voters see; it all comes across as a Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s spin on Obama Care “you have to past the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”
Chuck Fellows
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:28am
Proposal 1 is a flim flam dedicated to removing the authority from local units to raise local revenues and to decide on which projects their local communities will support and need. Follow the money. Prop A was supposed to equalize funding for all. It did not. It did create 55 hold harmelss school districts free to raise local funding at their discretion and the rest of the districts were left to hold out the tin cup to Lansing. The state operates the teachers retirement fund. It is insolvent. The legislature now takes away funds from the classroom to fund their investment missteps and they call it an increase in education funding. Time for legislators to stop legislating their ideology and begin to rebuild trust. Revenue sharing, constitutionally protected (a joke), is no longer shared.
Kevin Taylor
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 12:13pm
If the voters turn it down, the Legislature will pass it anyway in lame duck; why bother putting any proposal on the ballot. The current bunch in Lansing have the system so twisted their way that the State of Michigan is a twisted fast sinking ship!
Mark Grebner
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 12:14pm
The comments all show exactly why Prop 1 may lose - they're very perceptive, and I think they represent the primary electorate's views quite well. Some points: 1) Prop 1's immediate problem is the ballot language, which was extremely poorly crafted. Whatever the legal meaning of the proposal, what really counts is what the voters SEE. And the 100-word caption is full of vague, evasive, p.r. puffery. It's almost designed to make taxpayers' hair stand on end. 2) The campaign in favor is likely to be ineffective or even counter-productive, because the real message it conveys is that there are people willing to spend millions of dollars to pass this. Since the voter can't seen any benefit to themself, and somebody else obviously sees a bonanza, every slick TV ad just makes them more cynical. 3) The fact that almost all the politicians in the state are supporting the proposal might have been valuable 40 years ago, when many people genuinely trusted state government. But today, it's more like hearing that all the mafia families have gotten together and are hatching big plans. 4) The primary electorate is NOT a tiny number of people. I guess there will be 1.5 million votes on Tuesday, consisting of the best informed and most active voters in the state. They're older than the general population, better educated, more likely to be homeowners and married, and likely to have lived in their current home for over 15 years. That's the group to whom the messages need to be addressed. I think the intellectual level of the pro-Prop 1 campaign sells them short, and is almost insulting to them. 5) Conventional polling is almost worthless for predicting the outcome of a ballot proposal. The only way I know to predict the outcome is a technique I call "straw balloting", which involves asking random voters to fill out and mail back anonymously a dummy ballot. It's almost exactly the same experience as voting absentee - you see exactly what's on the ballot, without any further explanation. And Prop 1 wouldn't be singled out; it would just be one item among a dozen on the ballot. I haven't conducted a straw ballot on Prop 1, but I bet I'd be seeing a lot of "NO" markings, if I had.
John Q. Public
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 6:47pm
Grebner seems to "get it." Our household is nearly perfectly representative of the demographic he describes. The "it's so confusing!" mantra is indeed insulting to those who read the bills. They want us to vote in a new tax, and all the other bills are tie-barred to a 'yes' vote. The tie-barred bills make promises that future legislatures are not compelled to keep, and they are being sold as "guarantees." The local government lobbyists have informed their constituents that they're being blackmailed, and they have more to gain than lose by capitulating. I'm not only voting 'no' on 1, I'm voting 'no' on my representative who is backing this garbage (that's not the only reason, but it's enough.)
Scott
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 11:04pm
I am a pro-business Libertarian leaning conservative. I am voting no on this proposal. I'll tell you why. I got socked with a massive state income tax increase 2 years ago. I am a 60 year old pensioner who retired before the pension tax was passed by the legislature. My 62+ year old retired friends do not pay state income tax on their pensions because they were born in 1952 or earlier. Tell me how that is any more fair than this personal property tax that businesses pay. I will not support tax cuts for ANYONE until the pension tax is reversed. I am mad enough that I am voting against every Republican who voted for the pension tax.
Deborah
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:03pm
I'm a 63 year old pensioner; my pension is taxed by the state.
Thu, 11/13/2014 - 3:29pm
so, pro business, Libertarian leaning-I'm just guessing here, probably have voted for mostly Republicans over the years- now that their policies directly affect , you have a problem?
Mark Grebner
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 12:22pm
One additional point: The only people who are strongly supporting the proposal are those who expect financial benefits from it, plus the folks who were co-opted during the process of putting it together. (Local governments, mainly.) Liberals are likely to see it as a continuation of Republican efforts to eliminate taxes on the wealthy and business. (Which is an accurate perception.) But conservatives, who slightly predominate among primary election voters, are likely to see it as some kind of flim-flam, and are not likely to support it by a very wide margin. When an ballot issue has problems both on the right and the left, it's in trouble.
John Q. Public
Wed, 08/06/2014 - 5:57pm
Or not.
Jeff
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 12:26pm
Unfortunately, this sounds too much like, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 12:30pm
The comments section for this article--and the thousands of other comments at other Michigan news sites--express the irritation and aghast reactions that the body of the main article can't quite confront. It's not that Prop 1 is just confusing; it's insulting to people who would like to do their own research and understand it. It's poorly written and there's no excusing full-time legislators and their staffs for that. The legislature should get serious, gain some respect for the people it's working for and try again with a special election, if need be. The threats about the lame-duck session (where do they come from? why do "many" believe them?) should stop being repeated. If our state representatives are engaging in blackmail, then there are larger problems that must be addressed. Here's our attempt to understand Prop 1: http://threepinesgander.blogspot.com/2014/07/proposal-1-cure-worse-than-...
Glenn
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 1:34pm
Here are the reasons I'm voting NO: 1. Businesses already got a major tax cut two years ago at my expense when the state started taxing my pension after promising for over 40 years that my pension would be exempt from state income tax. I don't remember any businesses feeling sorry for me when my retirement income took a hit on their behalf. The ads trying to make me feel sorry for them are falling on deaf ears. 2. Speaking of ads trying to evoke sympathy, how is a personal property tax businesses pay year after year different from real property taxes we pay year after year? I could make the same argument--I paid tax on my property 29 years ago and it's unfair that I'm still paying tax on it. 3. Anybody who believes that the savings businesses realize will be used to create jobs or will be passed along to customers is naïve. The savings will go into a few deep pockets, namely those of the people who can afford to spend eight million dollars promoting this campaign. 4. As for lost revenue being made up by enforcing the use tax on internet or out-of-state purchases, closing loopholes, and letting tax credits expire, I'll believe it when I see it. This is wishful thinking. If the legislature is so sure, raise the revenue first, then cut taxes. 5. I have no respect for or trust in the governor or the legislature (see reason 1). They are only looking out for themselves and their big business donors. I've been fooled too many times to fall for their lies again.
Jeff
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 3:03pm
First, businesses pay real property taxes just like the rest of us. The PPT is an additional tax on top of property taxes. Second, taxing retirement income is an issue of fairness. The younger generation is forced to pay taxes on all of our retirement income. Why should you be any different?
Glenn
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 4:38pm
It's a matter of keeping a promise that was made to people for decades who planned accordingly. If it's so fair, why was it not applied to everyone? Selective fairness or political manipulation?
Another No Vote
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:01pm
1. The ballot proposal language is a spin so I was on guard immediately. 2. After reading about it, I felt that businesses would get a tax break and the municipalities would either not get replacement funding or schools would somehow ending up paying for thus. 3. No trust for Lansing.
Bill Fullmer
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:10pm
I voted no because the prop was insulting as others have noted, and because it created a new body to manage distribution of funds. I expect a representative gov't to actually represent the people of their district, and to be up front and open with me. Prop 1 fails on both my expectations. Do away with the pers. property tax if needed, but then have the guts to increase the business tax to make up the lost revenue.
Jerry Lindsay
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:24pm
A few comments: 1. Business taxes have already been massively reduced by this administration at the expense of seniors, education, etc. This is an additional business tax reduction. 2. Paying the personal property tax every year is similar to paying home taxes and vehicle taxes every year. They aren't a one time thing either. 3. They say no tax increases elsewhere to compensate for the personal property tax loss; they'll just take the money out of the state general funding. The state doesn't have enough general funding now to cover necessary roads, education, state police, etc. These lost taxes would have to be made up by a new tax increase on us. 4. Proposal 1 doesn't tell us any of these things. They are avoided in the hope that we won't understand the situation.
Bob R
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 2:52pm
I see the Prop 1 TV spot describing the business that bought a grinder in 1963 and still pays property tax on it in 2014. Well, my response is that my wife and I bought a house in 1985, and we've also paid property taxes on it every year since. So what's his complaint? If his business isn't making a profit it's not because he is still paying tax on a fifty year old grinder. It's because he hasn't reinvested in his equipment for five decades. That antique belongs in Greenfield Village, not a 21st Century manufacturing enterprise. My point is not really to bash a business -- it's to point out what a terrible way this is to write complicated tax law. We pay taxes every single day for full-time legislators who sit on tax committees and hire pricey fiscal experts to study the effects of taxes. If there's a problem with business taxes, and there very well could be, why aren't they figuring it out and fixing it, instead of dumping the issue on the electorate and trying to persuade us with glossy mailings and slick TV spots? That's neither wise, nor fair. Don't make me do the job my state legislators were elected to do. On Prop 1, my vote is no.
Larry
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 5:17pm
I am certainly not an advocate for further cutting taxes on business: they've had their free lunch and ours, too. The important thing to keep in mind in all of this is that the Personal Property Tax is going away regardless the result of Prop 1. The mixed nuts in Lansing WILL see to that. What Proposal 1 does is provide a mechanism to replace the loss to cities and municipalities, which have already taken several hits (revenue-sharing, grants and low-cost loans and eroding property values). The Personal Property Tax is the last help communities have. Police, Fire, streets, curbside waste removal, libraries, parks, etc. will lose even more. Municipalities will face either massive cuts to services or have to try to raise their own taxes. It's a shell game, to be sure, but without Prop 1 cities and communities across the state will be in deeper trouble than they are now. As the article mentions, Prop 1 does nothing to the Personal Property Tax. Lansing will repeal it anyway. Prop 1 gives Michigan communities a mechanism to replace that revenue. You can be sure that our legislators WILL NOT!!!
blufox
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 5:40pm
Check the fine print. This legislator is notorious for slipping a SMALL amount of money into anything they deal with to keep the Citizens from putting an initiative on the ballot to overturn what THEY want. On another issue. Does anyone know if the POLLUTED water from fracking that is injected deep underground is technically still in the Great Lakes Basin? If it is, then it's it a violation of the Clean Water Act to dump it untreated? If it isn't, then isn't it an illegal removal of the water from the Basin and a violation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact?
John Q. Public
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 6:17pm
"It’s completely bizarre,” said a frustrated Bosworth. “There’s no reason not to support this other than, ‘I don’t trust Lansing so I’m going to vote no.’” Is there a better reason? The lobbyists representing local governments all seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome.
John Q. Public
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 6:35pm
Do the lobbyists believe themselves, or have they just been lying so long and so often that they can't tell the difference between reality and Lansing any more? “The tremendous advantage we have is we have support across the board, whether Democrat or Republican, business or community,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokesperson for the Prop 1 advocacy group. “I’ve never seen an issue that has broader, deeper support.” Everyone who represents an organization poised to profit somehow supports it. Everyone who realizes they're the ones who are going to have to pay the piper are against it--especially after they've been educated. Leave the scripted press conferences and step into the daylight, and the support is neither broad nor deep. "It’s completely bizarre,” said a frustrated Bosworth. “There’s no reason not to support this other than, ‘I don’t trust Lansing so I’m going to vote no.’” Is there a better reason? The lobbyists representing local governments all seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome. Revenue replaced by "expiring tax credits"? Do you really believe future legislatures will have no appetite for new tax credits? They're a pack of liars under the dome, and everyone who pays attention knows it. Here's hoping they are the majority of voters who show up on Tuesday.
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 8:45pm
This is the most convoluted mish-mash of words that tend to confuse and make one very suspicious of 'what are you trying to pull'. There are two things I find troubling, the amount of TV ads, mailings, and endorsements and especially endorsements by the various Chambers of Commerce. The loss of revenue to these communities, in some cases, are huge amounts of operating monies for them - they are going to be replaced without tax increases? I just can't imagine that. Somewhere, sometime soon, there will be a call for more taxes to support these very same things you say these 'cuts' can/will support. Convoluted? Indeed!
Dlb
Thu, 07/31/2014 - 9:35pm
Too little information about how the money will be made up without negatively impacting other State services. And strange that they would put it on the primary rather than the November ballot. Feels like the typical Michigan GOP style of trying to pull a fast one. Remember when Snyder said he wouldn't try to push through Right to Work legislation then the GOP slipped it through in th middle of the night. And they expect trust?
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 7:35am
I been searching for pros and cons on this proposal for a while and this site was a great assistance. If there are others ways to fund police, fire, library, EMS,school aid and so on, why aren't we do so? I have a request for a library millage and fire millage increase and I am going to vote no on them because the way I understand the Proposal 1 if passes will cover their needs for funds.
Michael P
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 8:29am
Great comments. When thoroughly confused and in doubt, vote NO.
Denny
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 9:52am
When I built my home, I paid sales tax on all of the materials that went into it, and I pay property taxes on my home every year. While I may quibble about rates, I do not feel that this is unfair. However, corporations whine that it is "unfair" to pay this property tax every year, especially since they paid sales tax on the property. Give me a break! What is fair for people is fair for corporations. If I were a local unit, I would not trust this legislature to "make me whole" let alone an appointed committee.
Slightly Informed
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:56am
But Denny business also pay "property taxes" each year on their real estate and buildings just like you do... except that they do not get a homestead exemption. What we are talking about here is "personal property taxes". You do not pay taxes on your "personal property" like your lawn mower (alive or dead), bed, dishes, rugs, tools, junk in the basement, etc. Even if you make a few bucks on the side when you use your tools to help your mother in law fix her kitchen sink. Businesses pay taxes on all this old junk. The personal property tax is for businesses is dumb and should be replaced.
Scott S
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 9:57am
I find the wording on the proposal interesting. In most states, the use tax is a one time tax on purchases that you didn't pay a sales tax on or weren't charged a tax on. Personal Property taxes are usually called personal property taxes. Looking at the schedules that have to be filled out on personal property, you will find that by the time something is past 10 years, the amount of tax applied to it is negligible. And there are rules for equipment held but not in use for which you don't pay a tax. There is something hidden in the words of this proposal that makes it high suspect
Leslie
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:08am
Great points!
Jeff
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:00am
Vote NO. If the lame duck legislature wants to repeal the PPT, let the blood be on the hands of the GOP at that time--and we voters will remember come November! These legislators are terrorists, holding 20% of the replacement funding HOSTAGE for another tax break for their corporate donors. They should be ridden out of Lansing on a rail. And ... an "appointed" authority to decide which community will get how much back ... Not on my watch.
Dianne
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:08am
Assuming that an individual will hire more staff or upgrading machinery is about as likely as a bank CEO passing on a bonus! Too many assumptions on Prop 1. You know Education is the first place they will reach for to cover the shortage if Prop 1 passes. Hence, speeding up the freight train that is the 'dumbing down of America'.
rpt
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:42am
Most folks know that the state has cut many programs, including schools and revenue sharing to the communities. The perception is that business already got a tremendous tax cut, which has NOT benefited folks in the state - as in more and better paying jobs. The perception is that this proposal is an effort to benefit businesses again, with the result that communities and schools will have to shoulder the effort to recoup the 20% on their own. At this point, the legislature and governor have lost credibility and believe-ability. Given their behavior in the lame duck sessions.... and given the talk that they plan to ram through a large tax hike for roads in the next lame duck.....no one believes that this offer is a benefit to the state, only a benefit to lobbyists and corporations...
JR
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:49am
I hope that some of the individuals quoted in the article above who are astonished to think that people might not support this proposal are reading these comments. There is great insight about the temper of the electorate contained in them. The comments encapsulate exactly what I am hearing about the proposal on the street, and I will personally be astonished if it passes. The future of this proposal does, as so many have said above, simply come down to widespread distrust among the electorate about the motives of those in government. We are all historians. Based on observation, voters have noted that business has repeatedly benefited at the expense of individual taxpayers in recent years, and they assume that this proposal is another tax shift to individuals in the making. Those in cities who think that it helps solidify their revenue sharing need to read it again, I believe.
Leslie
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:58am
Reminds me of the lottery money, which was SUPPOSED to boost schools in Michigan. Schools actually get about 30 percent of lottery money, and instead of schools getting that lottery funding in addition to the allotted general fund money, the general fund total was decreased by that amount. In other words, the amount going to schools never increased due to lottery dollars, although that's how the lottery was originally promoted. It's stuff like that makes the public oh so leery of politician-promoted proposals.
Slightly Informed
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:47am
The current PPT is asinine. We had a small office that we allowed a local non-profit company use. They had furnished the office with 40-year old donated desks, chairs, and file cabinets. When they moved out they also left left behind a 10 year old broken desktop computer. This stuff was all completely useless junk. While the building was vacant, we just left this stuff in there, sort of to show how the office could be set up. So the local assessor looked in the window, and took pictures of the stuff, and placed a value of $2500 on this stuff and sent us a PPT bill... if I remember correctly it was approximately $150 for junk that we didn't own, never used and just didn't throw away. I can see why people may not trust the wording of the ballot proposal, but this has been a long time coming. I totally sympathize with small businesses who struggle to stay alive and have to pay this dumb tax every year on stuff that they own, whether it is used and useful, or not. Let's not blame "business" for our social problems. If we strive to provide a positive business environment, we can attract more companies to Michigan and there will be more jobs.
Susan Leithauser-Yee
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 1:28pm
I favor the proposal because I hate the personal property tax. The current tax unfairly penalizes capital-intensive businesses such as manufacturers; the backbone of the Michigan economy which is already under pressure on various fronts. However, neither the ballot nor the PR campaign effectively explains the proposal. The glaring question is "How will the tax revenue be replaced?" Based on my review of Senate Bill 822, I understand that a portion of the existing 6% use tax will replace the personal property tax revenue & that expiry of $600MM in tax credits will ultimately make the State whole. The sponsors and/or folks behind the PR campaign would have done well to provide a graphic showing the replacement revenue source. When advocates don't address obvious questions, we think they are trying to hide something.
John Q. Public
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 9:03pm
They would have shown where the replacement revenue is coming from, but they didn't want to lie. I'm not sure why; they've done it before. You understand how they operate, though: they didn't address the question because they ARE trying to hide something. They take their cues from Rick "Don't warn them that they're going to be shot until after you've pulled the trigger" Snyder. Even if one believes expiring tax credits are sufficient to make up the difference (I don't), one would have to completely ignore history and have an amount of faith that defies logic and reality to think those expiring credits won't be replaced with new ones in an even greater amount by future legislatures.
Ken Headrick
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 5:59pm
We have to pass it, to find out what's in it.
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 6:45pm
Everyone from Jack Lessenberry to the AARP urges that you vote Yes on Proposal One. Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press endorse it. So why shouldn't you vote for it? The first danger signal that something crooked is going on is that the ballot proposal is written in a manner which requires a tarot reader to divine. Noting is said about the Personal Property Tax for businesses being eliminated. (It's interesting to note that there is no PPT on agricultural equipment.) The second danger signal is that Proposal 1 will create a new level of bureaucracy, a Local Community Stabilization Authority. Goody! Just what we need! More bureaucracy! Who will be on the Local Community Stabilization Authority boards? Well, I think it's quite certain that I won't be appointed. That's very certain. I doubt if you'll be appointed either. Instead, we may expect that Sue Snyder's ne'er-do-well nephew will be appointed, as will every political hack in the state. Since we are yet burdened with those Republican Term Limits, there are always a number of out-of-work ex-politicians looking to feed at the public trough. Coleman A. Young II (né Joel Loving) will eventually be term-limited out, and he'll need a sinecure that pays enough for him to reimburse his minder. The proponents of Proposal 1 tout that it will create jobs, and that it will, but not for you. No business that receives a tax break will use that money to hire additional employees that it doesn't need. A business that receives a tax break on equipment may use that money to buy more advanced equipment such as robotic welders which take the place of human welders, so if anything, Proposal 1 may eliminate jobs. Industry is desperate to get rid of the Personal Property Tax, because it is expensive. The money from this tax goes directly to the communities in which the business is located, and for many smaller communities, the tax provides the bulk of their revenues. The City of Ecorse, for example, relies on the PPT for 41.77% of its total income. For River Rouge, 37.97% of its income will disappear should the proposal pass. How will Proposal 1 compensate for this lost revenue to already-boroke municipalities? A tiny portion of additional income will come from expiring tax breaks (incentives devised by the Grandholm administration) on high-tech battery development ventures, but the rest will come from the Use Tax. (It says so right on the ballot.) You know what the Use Tax is, don't you? The Use Tax is a facet of the Michigan Sales Tax, and like the sales tax, it is 6%. If you were to purchase, say, a car in a state with no sales tax (socialist Oregon has no sales tax, neither does New Hampshire) OR a state with less sales tax (Ohio) and bring it home to Michigan, you would be required to pay the same sales tax here as if you had bought the car in Michigan. That's the Use Tax. But, you say, you don't buy cars in New York (4% sales tax), so this doesn't affect you. Well you certainly buy plenty of things on line from Amazon or eBay, &c. You are required to pay Use Tax on every one of those items, and in fact, there's a page on the back of your Michigan 1040 where you're required to list all items you bought on line but didn't pay any sales tax on. You certainly filled that out, didn't you? I know I did. BWA - Ha - ha - ha - ha - ha! Proposal 1 will compensate for the lost PPT revenue by "closing tax loopholes," and guess which tax loophole will be closed first? Will it be one which benefits business or one which benefits the little guy? Swami Otis predicts that, should Proposal 1 pass, within six months you will pay your Use Tax on every MP3 download, every shower curtain, every cat toy and asthma inhaler you buy on line. That's what you get from listening to your experts.
John
Sat, 08/02/2014 - 12:21am
I've read about half of the comments on this thread to date and I've noticed that several readers have negative words for Republicans, their backers, and their supposedly rich business associates. All of the mailings I've received promoting Proposal 1 have come from union-backed Democrat legislators. Readers who correlate Proposal 1 with Republican shenanigans are way off the mark. This proposal has widespread bipartisan support.
JT
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 8:53am
It has widespread POLITICIAN support - that's the problem here
Ruspertt
Sat, 08/02/2014 - 3:03pm
Also as well as deceiving the voters about the school receiving increased revenue from the lottery,there was to be no state tax on the lottery winnings, but now there is and the lottery winner was supposed to be random numbers picked but the instant lottery is all pre-determined winners as they are printed..
Wanda Jan
Sat, 08/02/2014 - 3:12pm
When in doubt, do without! My first question became: how do we make up for the lost PPT and how in the heck can you guarantee 15,000 with a proposal and you can't even talk about or replacement of . . .employment, unemployment and living wages. Issues that are of grave concern to Michiganers prior to the submission of that proposal! Again, When in doubt, do without!
Marge Forslin
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 9:26am
Still no explanation of where the money is going to come from, i.e. what that money is funding now, who/what is being taxed to provide that money. We can clearly tell business will be taxed less, but that HAS to mean someone else will be taxed more if the same amount of money is going to result. Nothing complex about that, just a lot of deception/ weaseling / smoke and mirrors.
Leslie
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 10:13am
One additional reason to vote no: per the Citizens Research Council memo at page 3, the 5-person authority created to administer the distribution of revenue to local governments is not answerable to the citizens or to the local governments but is appointed by the Governor. Also, for some obscure reason, this authority will also "exercise the powers and duties of the former Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Right-Of-Way Oversight Authority, which was established in 2002 to streamline the permitting processes involved with acquiring rights-of-way to facilitate expanded telecommunications services." Great way to bury this important function very deep, away from public scrutiny. And perhaps to create TWO bureaucracies rather than one since the two functions are so very different. And for those wondering why this vote is being held in a primary, likely to have very low voter turnout: those most likely to vote in a primary are Republicans, who are the folks primarily responsible for this mess in the first place.
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 12:10pm
Based on the timeline alone, 2014 to 2025, I doubt that the revenues needed to compensate for the implementation of Prop 1 would ever be reached. Moreover I also doubt that the hiring expectations of Prop 1(if reached) would ever cover the lost revenues.
Paul Beach
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 4:42pm
What about windmills and the promised local revenue from windfarms?
Sarah Delia
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 6:28pm
The big problem with Prop 1 is that I don't trust the legislature to make up the difference, if indeed, use taxes are insufficient to compensate local entities for loss of personal property tax income.
Michael Emlaw
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 9:31pm
Michael Emlaw August 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm Exactly right, John. The PPT should be repealed but we need an honest proposal that replaces the revenue with real revenue, not a diversion of the state’s general fund that will shortchange state programs (mental health, children’s services, higher education, etc etc) that have been underfunded for years. Let’s be candid here – the proposal has the support of many groups who have been told that if they don’t support it, the legislature will repeal the PPT with no mechanism to reimburse local governments and school districts. It’s blackmail, pure and simple. The proponents are right – it will pass. But we could have done better if our legislators had the courage to say “OK business community, the outmoded PPT needs to be eliminated and that’s half a billion tax cut for you. But we just can’t keep shrinking state essential services to benefit one segment of the state economy and we’ll work to put together a plan to replace that revenue and you’ll be a part of it.” And it’s very difficult to swallow conclusions from the Anderson Economic Group, the go-to organization whenever the business community wants a fig-leaf of data to justify their priorities.
Marianne M
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 11:16pm
I was prepared to vote yes on this proposal however after reading these comments I have changed my mind. I did wonder where the money would come from to see that the communities were not short changed. Shame on you governor Snyder! I am sick and tired of all the hype of "providing more jobs". I am sick of the control of the power hungry Republican Party! I'm voting NO.
Pete
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 7:56am
Gosh Phil, your publication is so unbiased. Did you read the comments about the proposal, which you didn't even explain in your article? People are overwhelmingly not buying the worn out premise of this mess - that giving more money to the wealthy is good for anyone except the wealthy. How about some actual reporting about where the replacement money is going to come from and how taking it from the general fund is going to hurt services and pay to average citizens?
Pete
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 7:59am
Excuse me...that giving more money to the wealthy is good for everyone else.
Kincaid
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 1:37pm
Looks to me like the Internet 6% "use tax" will be collected as an outcome of passing prop 1. Both sides can claim it is not a new tax but it has never been collected in the past so it IS a new tax on consumers. Business will get a windfall since their personal property tax will be repealed and retailers will get an additional 6% advantage competing with the internet. Consumers will pay for all of it and none will go to fixing roads (the only thing everyone can agree on).
dan brown
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 4:02pm
Why should we believe the propaganda? $6 million spent. Where'd it come from? Prop 1 is supposed to help small business according to the garbage that has been cascading into our mail box. Did small business put up the $6 million? Maybe a big chunk came from Ford and Dow. Since when did they represent small business? Highly likely that they get the big benefit. Time for honesty in advertising.
Mickey H
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 4:18pm
Some of the problems with Proposal I 1. Its constitutionality. The law on which this proposal was based (Article VII) Section 27 of the Michigan Constitution which reads..."the legislature may establish in metropolitan areas additional forms of government or authorities with powers, duties, and jurisdictions as the legislature shall provide." The normal dictionary version of "metropolitan" is an urban city and surrounding nearby areas (usually contiguous) Proposal I interprets metropolitan as one urban city , presumably Lansing, and the rest of the state as the metropolitan area. 2. Carson City will only have control over 29.03% of its taxes. The rest will be under the auspices of the Local Community Stabilization Authority consisting of 5 non-elected governor appointees, and the same goes for nearly one third of Midland's $2,321,355,878 tax base. So much for local control. The LCSA will have taxing authority and the local community's stabilization share tax rate will be determined by a calculation by the Michigan Department of the Treasury which, in turn, is based on self reporting of personal property purchased and owned by the business or industry rather than verified by a local assessor. 3. This is not for small business. Most small businesses do not have more than $80,000 worth of equipment that would fall under the personal property classification. All these business are already exempt from personal property taxes if they turned in their affidavit. This is for big business. 4. The expands the authority of the Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Right of Way Oversight Authority.
G Churchill
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 8:20pm
The reason I am not in favor of proposal 1-2014 is the language about making up any lost revenues from the general fund. No dollar values listed. Is this another transfer from businesses to the general public? All the fee increases in the past two administrations, the pension income tax, money for Detroit, who buy the way was the result of its own doing vs the lack of a more justified bill for road repairs. The long history of money from Michigan gas taxes going to other states and to support train funding of the east and west coasts systems, and the high salaries and benefits for government workers. I think they have over two weeks of federal holidays, I had six at the most and no pension.
Billy1st
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:23pm
I'm voting no just because they really don't want the public to understand it! If it is dependent on our vote, why don't the write it so the people can understand it? What happens if the general fund is broke, who pays then, another millage for home owners to fund? No it is not clear enough, and it reads as if the only thing that benefits from it is businesses! Looks like the same type of bill that the feds would try to push through! Vote yes because media says it is the way to go? I say no thanks, the people pay way more then they are supposed to!
Billy1st
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:44pm
They've passed other bills, that were supposed to bring more jobs here, I don't see any more, and the ones that do come leave just as fast as they got here, Show me some legislative that has worked and start wording bills and mileages that the normal Joe can understand without leaving us in the dark, and things will start to improve! Instead of spending the money in media, spend it on understanding!
Matt
Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:39pm
A better example of how unrepresentative Bridge readers are of the general voters of Mi has never been shown! I knew it was bad but not this bad!
charles Veneros
Tue, 09/23/2014 - 11:16am
What the article does not say is that local units if gov. will have the authority to turn around and tax people more for fire and police protection because of the loss revenue according to the Lt. Gov. Something the Bridge needs to dig in further?
Jamie
Sun, 10/26/2014 - 12:18pm
I am voting no- local governments should look to alleviate property tax for those residents who have paid in full for their home and land before alleviating taxes for businesses who have paid for their equipment. Also- there is no guarantee of the replacement revenue