Michigan residents will be voting on several important proposals tomorrow. Although some of the language may be confusing, most of these initiatives will be beneficial to the public.

If Proposal 02-1 passes, the option of straight-ticket voting will be eliminated from state ballots and would encourage more well-informed voters. If the proposition passes, voters would no longer to able to blindly choose all candidates purely based on their party affiliation. This would encourage citizens to become familiar with individual candidates’ platforms before coming to the voting booth. Straight-ticket voting supports voter apathy by discouraging voters from researching each candidate.

Straight-ticket voting encourages a two-party system which creates a homogenous government. However, the best candidates can easily belong to a party other than Democrat or Republican. Proposal 02-1 would give third-party candidates a better chance of an election victory and the resulting infusion of new ideas into the legislature would benefit all Michiganders.

Another drawback of straight-ticket voting is that many voters forget to select candidates for the numerous non-partisan across the state. Proposal 02-1 would ensure that the people voice their opinion on all measures in the election, not just in partisan races.

Proposal 02-2 will approve the sale of $1 billion in state bonds to fund sewage treatment infrastructure improvements. If passed, this proposition would fight water pollution at little taxpayer expense. Because many communities use the same pipelines for both raw sewage and storm water runoff, heavy rains can cause sewage to bypass treatment facilities on the way into rivers and lakes.

The benefits of 02-2 would come at little cost to Michigan residents and would encourage investment in Michigan through sale of bonds.

Proposal 02-3 should also be passed in order to enhance the collective bargaining right of Michigan government employees. Under Gov. Engler, control of contract negotiations for state workers has shifted from the Civil Service Commission toward the Office of the State Employer, causing the process to be increasingly anti-labor. The government can currently change contracts without consulting employees, making it necessary for the workers to have the right to initiate third-party binding arbitration to resolve disputes. The right to arbitration, which is already held by some government employees such as police and public safety workers, should be extended to all government workers throughout the state. If passed, Proposal 02-3 would ward off strikes by facilitating the resolution of conflicts.

Proposal 02-4, which would divert 90 percent of the state’s funds from its settlement with major tobacco companies to healthcare and anti-smoking efforts, should not be passed. Doing so could come at the cost of eliminating existing worthy programs. The state currently spreads the settlement of over $300 million a year over several state programs, the main one being the Michigan Merit Awards. This program provides $2,500 scholarships to roughly 45,000 high school seniors, based on their Michigan Educational Assessment Program scores. The settlement also subsidizes medical research and senior prescription drug programs. If the proposition is passed, the state would either replace or eliminate these programs.

The specific language of the proposition would hurt the state financially, by prohibiting the legislature from setting priorities on spending itself. The money from the settlement would be placed in the hands of hospitals and groups such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society while it should be allocated by elected state officials.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.