Proposal 1 fails the citizens and our roads. Vote No on May 5 and tell our leaders in Lansing – JUST FIX OUR ROADS!
Read Paul Mitchell’s Sunday Op-Ed in the Detroit Free Press.
By Paul Mitchell
Proposal 1 asks voters to approve one of the largest tax increases in Michigan’s history. The compelling arguments from those supporting this proposal are that our roads are crumbling and in desperate need of repair, and that there is no alternative plan to fix them.
Supporters of this $2-billion tax increase lead the public to believe that all the money would go to fix this urgent problem. Not so. More than $700 million will be devoted to projects that do nothing to repair or improve our roads. Those projects may have some merit, but they should be debated separately from roads — not hidden or included as a ransom for a roads package.
Supporters contend that Proposal 1 guarantees funding for the roads.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The funding promised to transportation is not constitutionally protected and will continually be subject to legislative approval of budgets. How often have we seen priorities and budget choices change in our state Legislature? Further, Proposal 1 would allocate the new tax money raised through road funding to the Transportation Fund — of which only 79% is actually spent on our roads. Some guarantee!
Proponents of Proposal 1 say we’re nearing a state of emergency without any alternative — any Plan B. Some of our leaders in Lansing who support the ballot proposal have actively worked to discourage legislators from proposing or discussing any more-responsible proposals. Yet, legislators are stepping forward with plans to address our roads exclusively.
Plans B, C, D and E are already being introduced within the House and Senate Chambers. Many legislators are now actively opposing Proposal 1. Even the elected proponents of Proposal 1 are stepping forward to proclaim that if Proposal 1 fails, the Legislature will address the road issue.
The reality is, if we want to get the most money we can directly to fix our roads now, then we can and should support the Legislature addressing this problem in lieu of supporting Proposal 1. Only $400 million of the $2-billion tax will go to repairing our roads in the first year (the lion’s share will pay off existing debt incurred for previous roads projects).
Criticism of Proposal 1 goes beyond criticism of the process. It’s about how Lansing is governed.
If Proposal 1 were a clean package and committed all its resources to fixing the roads, you’d see a very different reaction.
If Proposal 1 put every dollar available toward fixing our crumbling infrastructure as soon as possible, you’d see a very different reaction.
If Proposal 1 actually guaranteed anything beyond dedication of only a portion of the $2-billion tax hike to transportation, you’d see a very different reaction.
The bottom line is, Proposal 1 is bad policy, and voters should reject it. We need to allow this newly elected legislative body and leadership the opportunity to coalesce around alternatives, some of which have already been introduced, to help our road funding problem immediately.