What to know about Tuesday's six ballot proposals

Jeffrey Smith/Staff Photographer Consulate General of Canada Roy Norton speaks about Proposal 6 and the benefits of a New International Trade Crossing Monday evening at the Park Library Auditorium. "It's a no-brainer to vote 'no' on Proposal 6," Norton said.

Speaking about Proposal 6, Canadian Consulate General Roy Norton told a crowd at Central Michigan University Monday night that the proponents of the proposal are misleading voters.

Proposal 6 seeks to halt construction of a second bridge from Detroit to Windsor. The proposal is being spearheaded by the owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge.

“You should believe nothing that is said in those TV ads because none of it is true,” he said.

Proposal 6 is one of the six proposals on Tuesday's ballot, the most Michigan voters have faced since 1996.

Millions of dollars have been spent on often misleading advertisements by special interest groups supporting and opposing the proposals, and the voting results could have long-lasting impacts on the state and how it operates.

Here's what voters need to know about the proposals:

Proposal 1

Proposal 1 is a referendum on Public Act 4 of 2011, a law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder last year that granted new powers to emergency financial managers appointed by the governor. P.A. 4 gives EMs the power to take over the governments of financially struggling communities and school boards, acting in place of elected officials.

Supporters of the proposal, including Snyder and state Republicans, argue that the law finally gives EMs the power they need to do their job and get struggling communities and schools back on track. Opponents, including a coalition of labor unions and grassroots activists that successfully brought forward the referendum, say the law is a government power grab that endangers democracy in the affected municipalities.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of P.A. 4, while a "no" vote is in favor of repealing it.

Proposal 2

Proposal 2 would guarantee collective bargaining rights for public and private employees in the state constitution. In addition, the proposal would override existing laws and prevent future laws from limiting what is subject to collective bargaining.

A broad coalition of labor unions, including the Michigan Education Association, the United Auto Workers, the Michigan AFL-CIO and the Michigan Nurses Association, back the proposal, arguing that all employees deserve a chance to negotiate for fair wages, good working conditions and hours of employment without interference from employers or the government. Opponents, including Snyder and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, fear the proposal gives unions too much power over costly pensions and benefits and would make it too difficult for cities to get control of their budgets.

Proposal 3

The so-called "25 by 25" initiative, Proposal 3 would require 25 percent of Michigan's energy to come from renewable resources, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, by 2025.

Proponents of the proposal, including former President Bill Clinton and green energy companies, say the amendment would make Michigan a leader in green energy, creating new jobs statewide and cutting down on pollution while costing Michiganders little to nothing on their energy bills. Opponents, including the governor and many Michigan energy companies, argue that the mandate is too unrealistic and inflexible to be properly implemented without skyrocketing energy prices, despite wording in the proposal that prevents companies from raising costs on consumers by more than one percent yearly because of the mandate.

Proposal 4

Proposal 4 would amend the state constitution to give home health workers limited collective bargaining rights in addition to establishing the Michigan Quality Home Health Care Council, which would create a registry of home health workers, train care providers and provide financial assistance to patients.

Supporters of the proposal say it would increase the quality of in-home care while increasing access to home care, while opponents argue the proposal is designed to allow the Service Employees International Union to continue to collect dues from home health workers after a law passed by the Republican legislature this year blocked them from doing so.

Proposal 5

Proposal 5 would amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the legislature or a statewide vote to raise taxes or enact new ones. Currently, only a majority in both houses is required.

Supporters, including many conservative Tea Party groups, contend that the proposal would provide certainty to families and business owners worried about taxes by stabilizing the state tax code while encouraging bipartisanship in the legislature. Opponents argue the law would make it virtually impossible to make any needed changes to the tax code, including eliminating taxes like Snyder, an opponent of Proposal 5, did when he eliminated the six percent Michigan Business Tax last year.

Proposal 6

Earlier this year, Snyder signed an agreement with the Canadian government approving a second bridge from Detroit to Windsor that would be paid for in its entirety by the Canadian government except through tolls. Proposal 6, designed to block construction of that bridge, would require a statewide vote and a vote in the affected municipality for any new international bridges or tunnels to be built.

The proposal is spearheaded by the owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge, Manuel "Matty" Moroun, who strongly opposes the second bridge, arguing that it will cost Michigan taxpayers millions in the long run. Opponents say Moroun is simply trying to protect his monopoly and is in the process preventing new construction jobs and increased trade activity with Canada.


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