EDITORIAL: 'No' on Proposal 5

Fans of dysfunctional, gridlocked government should enthusiastically vote yes on Proposal 5, but the rest of us would be wise to vote no.

Proposal 5, backed by a coalition of Tea Party groups, would require both chambers of the state legislature to pass any proposed tax increase by a two-thirds supermajority.

Adopting the deceptively titled "Two-Thirds Amendment" would be tragic and would make it virtually impossible to raise taxes in any form, including closing loopholes.

In reality, it would take just 13 Michigan senators to block any tax increase. Just 13 politicians would have the power to prevent the state from reaching a balanced consensus on fixing deficit problems.

In tough economic times, revenue coming into the government always decreases. It is imperative that members of both parties come together to reach a consensus on cuts to programs that need to be made, along with asking some taxpayers to pay a little bit more to ensure things like education and police and fire departments can remain funded.

If Michigan voters approve Proposal 5, they would never have to worry about their state taxes going up, but politicians in Lansing might have no choice but to cut funding to government programs they rely on to the bone should a budget crisis arrive. That might be what the anti-government Tea Party groups behind the amendment want, but most Michiganders, on either side of the aisle, realize the importance of things like public education and safe roads.

If there is no new revenue coming in through higher or new taxes, then lawmakers will either have to drastically cut programs, hurting the health of the economy in the short-term, or deal with piles of debt, a long-term stress on economic growth.

While this proposal might look appealing to the typical, taxpaying voter, a sober analysis of the state's finances and economic condition finds it a hindrance in the long run. When one-third of the state legislature can stop a proposed tax increase from happening, we are no longer a Democracy.


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