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Read Zachary Aronow's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
Let's be honest, taxes are a pain. God knows I wince every time I see the deductions from my paycheck. That said, our tax dollars provide for our parks, libraries, public transit, and schools among other services. However, when public funding is slashed, especially with massive tax cuts, the quality of services goes down. This year, Michigan voters will decide on ballot measure Proposal 5. Prop 5 would mandate that all tax increases or creations be passed with a 2/3 majority in both chambers of the state legislature or by statewide vote. The latest polls show it passing comfortably. I cannot stress strongly enough that this measure will create lasting economic harm to Michigan.
A Bad Precedent
We have already seen the damage the 2/3 requirement for passing tax increases has done to California. In 1978, California voters approved Proposition 13, which, aside from setting up the 2/3 mandate, decreased property taxes and imposed strong restrictions on inflation. Since then, Proposition 13 has been a big contributor in destabilizing California's economy. After the tech bubble burst, California has lurched from one budget crisis to another as rump Republicans refuse to compromise on taxes and programs are reaching the limits in terms of cuts. In 2003, Warren Buffet caused a stir when he told Governor Schwarzenegger that Prop 13 needed to go. Schwarzenegger, like most California politicians, told one of the smartest financial men ever to be quiet. Six years later, Arnold had to announce that basic services
Education funding has been especially hard hit, with state universities left with little recourse besides jacking up tuition and interrupting semesters with furloughs. Proposition 13 has left the largest state of the union at the mercy of a rabid Republican minority, and city governments are left scrambling to find creative ways to raise revenue. This is exactly what Michigan will be facing if voters approve Prop 5. The only ones who stand to benefit are the wealthy.
Whose Behind It?
The biggest proponent of Prop 5 has been a shadowy group known as the Michigan Alliance for Prosperity (MAP). They collected over 613,000 signatures to put it on the ballot and are the biggest lobbying force behind it, spending over $1.85 million. Most of that money comes from Manuel Matty Moroun, an 85 year-old trucking tycoon. The Center for Michigan reported that Moroun contributed nearly $2.3 million to MAP through the Liberty Bell Agency of Warren where his son, Matthew works a manager. Mother Jones and Progress Michigan have also reported about the ties MAP has with the Koch Brothers backed organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP).
Michigan is struggling with 9% unemployment but has shown progress thanks largely to the rescue of the auto industry. I cannot imagine what would be worse for a fragile economy than removing revenue sources and launching a downward spiral of cuts. Nobody wants to pay taxes. I certainly don't, but I wouldn't want to live in a place that can't function effectively and is at the mercy of an uncompromising minority. Measures like Prop 13 and Prop 5 are dangerously ineffective, pushed by an oligarchy of wealthy self-interests and are frankly un-democratic. Michigan voters need to say no to Prop 5!