Defend Michigan Democracy forming to oppose minority rule and gridlock in Michigan state government
LANSING, Mich. — A new coalition has formed to defend Michigan’s Constitution and the principle of majority rule from a radical fringe group that wants to give a minority in the state Legislature control over Michigan’s future.
Defend Michigan Democracy, a broad-based bipartisan coalition whose members include business, health care, nonprofit and labor organizations, is opposing a ballot proposal that would allow just one-third of the members of one chamber of Michigan’s Legislature to obstruct any state tax reform or re-approval to broaden the base of a tax.
“This is a dangerous, anti-democratic proposal that will lead to gridlock, as it has in California, where it has been in place for several years, and the U.S. Senate, where a minority of lawmakers can stymie the policies supported by a majority,” said Gilda Jacobs, who is president and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services and helping coordinate Defend Michigan Democracy.
For example, this constitutional amendment would make it virtually impossible for Michigan to take steps to modernize its tax system in years to come. If this proposal had been in place for the last 30 years, tax reforms that were instituted under our last four governors – including changes by Govs. John Engler and Rick Snyder that were supported by our business community and others – would have been impossible to achieve.
Campaign finance reports filed today show that signatures for the minority rule proposal were purchased at a cost of about $2 million by a shadowy group believed to include out-of-state billionaires. Virtually all funding came from a group called “Liberty Bell Agency, Inc.” which did not disclose its funders. It is believed the group is tied to the same special interests who have opposed Gov. Snyder, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders for Michigan, organized labor and others seeking to improve Michigan’s economy by building a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
“This proposal has been tried and proven to ruin economies in state after state,” Jacobs said. “It’s in place today in Mississippi – the poorest state in the nation – and Nevada – the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate. Why would Michigan want to take on these failed policies of radicals who want to prevent reforms that can allow Michigan to put in place the modern tax system and infrastructure necessary to succeed in the today’s global economy?”
Under the proposal just 13 members of the Michigan Senate could overrule the votes of all 110 members of the State House and the 25 other members of the Senate.
Members of Defend Michigan Democracy include the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, Michigan League for Human Services, Michigan Education Association, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Municipal League and many more. For more information visit www.DefendMIDemocracy.com.
Paid for with regulated funds by Defend Michigan Democracy
216 Marshall Street • Lansing MI 48912