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Home care, taxes, international bridge issues on ballot

Recap of Proposals 3-6

October 29, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

LANSING - Besides having to choose candidates for local, state and federal offices, Michigan voters will be faced with six ballot proposals on Nov. 6. Here is a synopsis of proposals 12-4, 12-5 and 12-6, along with comments for each from proponents and opponents as listed by the League of Women Voters of Michigan on their website.

Proposal 12-4

Amend the Michigan Constitution to establish the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and provide collective bargaining for in-home care workers:

If approved, the proposal would continue the current exclusive representative on in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws. It would require the MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of qualified workers and provide financial services to patients to manage their in-home care. It would preserve patients' rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC. It would authorize the MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.

One of the proponents of the proposal is Keep Home Care Safe (, which states if approved, it will give in-home care workers the ability to bargain collectively, but they will not be state employees. Patients are responsible for hiring and firing workers. It will allow seniors and people with disabilities to choose safe, quality care. A previous entity, the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, eliminated Governor Rick Snyder and Legislature this year, is estimated to have saved the state $1.1 million.

One of the opponents of the proposal is Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution, (, which states if approved, it would override Public Act 76 of 2012, which excludes in the definition of public employees people who receive a government subsidy in their private employment and prohibit the recognition of a bargaining unit of individuals who are not public employees. Home care workers, who are not employed by the state but by their clients, should not have collective bargaining rights and pay union dues. The federal Home Help Program already exists to help people who need in-home care. The proposal would hijack the Michigan Constitution to allow unionization of caregivers as state employees.

Proposal 12-5

Amend the Michigan Constitution to limit the enactment of new taxes by the state government:

If approved, this proposal would require a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate or a statewide vote of the people at a November election to impose a new tax, expand the tax base or increase the rate of taxation.

The proposal was suggested by the Michigan Alliance for Prosperity (, who state if approved, it will make it harder to raise taxes. The amendment will enhance consensus between political parties, control spending and lower taxes. MAP wants to make tax increases the last resort for politicians by demanding a broad base of support. A more stringent legislative requirement than a simple majority vote should be required to add a new tax, expand the tax base or increase the tax rate.

One of the opponents of the proposal, Defend Michigan Democracy (, state it would allow a minority of legislators to thwart the majority of elected officials and will make it more difficult to fund public services, such as roads, schools and state police. It will make it more difficult to eliminate tax loopholes, and it will lock the state into a tax system that may not be able to meet future needs.

Proposal 12-6

Amend the Michigan Constitution regarding construction of international bridges and tunnels:

If approved, the proposal would require a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles are to be located before the state may expend funds of resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing or promoting new international bridges or tunnels. It would create a definition for international bridges or tunnels that were not in operation as of Jan. 1, 2012.

One of the proponents of the proposal is the People Should Decide, (, which states Michigan taxpayers could end up paying for a multimillion dollar bridge to Canada at a time when there should be investment in jobs and schools. The proposal will give the people a voice in how money is spent on international crossings by requiring a statewide election. The Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit has offered to build a privately funded second span next to the Ambassador Bridge.

One of the opponents of the proposal is Taxpayers Against Monopolies, (, who state if approved, it will impact future crossings. Michigan and Canadian officials have signed an agreement to build the new International Trade Crossing. One quarter of all United States-Canada trade crosses the Ambassador Bridge each year. The amount of traffic could double by 2035. A second bridge 2 miles down the Detroit River will provide a direct highway-to-highway connection and provide a much needed redundancy. It's estimated 10,000 Michigan construction workers would be hired for construction of the bridge, and after it's completed it would support another 25,000 jobs. Michigan taxpayers will not be responsible for the construction of the bridge. It will be funded by private investors and Canada will pay for Michigan's share of a new customs plaza, I-75 connection and toll plaza.



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