Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Prop 1 went down hard; worst defeat for a ballot proposal in 50 years

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 11:17 AM

click to enlarge Michigan State Capitol - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Michigan State Capitol
Proposal 1, which by all accounts was doomed from the moment of its inception, endured the worst loss of a ballot proposal in 50 years, writes reporter Chad Livengood in The Detroit News

The prior low mark was set in 1980, when 78.8 percent of the electorate beat back a measure called Proposal A that would have shifted taxes to ensure equal school funding among all school districts in the state. It was up against two property tax relief measures that attracted more votes even though they also were struck down.

As we reported last night, the proposed constitutional amendment was a quote-unquote "solution" to fixing Michigan's dilapidated road infrastructure. We'll spare you the nuts and bolts given the special election is now over — but, among other things, it would've increased the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, raising about $1.9 billion-$2 billion to be divvied up thusly: There'd be a fresh pot of $1.2 billion-$1.3 billion appropriated for roads, while the remainder would be split for municipalities, schools, and public transit.

When everything was said and done, results showed a whopping 80 percent of voters had shot down the convoluted, wordy offering.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who strongly advocated for the proposal's passage, called for even more relentless positive action (!) in wake of the astronomical loss.

“It’s essential that making Michigan’s infrastructure safer remains a top priority," Snyder said in a statement shortly after polls closed, because the end-result was that obvious. "While voters didn’t support this particular proposal, we know they want action taken to maintain and improve our roads and bridges."

He continued, The ‘relentless’ part of relentless positive action means that we start anew to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to this problem. Doing nothing isn’t an option as the costs are too great."

By the looks of it, there's plenty who want to do something, but if history is any indication — and it should be — chances are slim a proposal will come to fruition anytime soon. 

Ryan Felton is an investigative reporter for the Detroit Metro Times.

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