State candidate wants to return money, power to local level

HOUGHTON — Keith LaCosse, 110th District state House of Representatives candidate, wants governmental power transferred from the state back to the counties and municipalities, which will require the state to comply with the constitution and provide revenue sharing of taxes collected by the state.

The Headlee Amendment, passed by Michigan voters in 1978 and interpreted by case law in 1989, requires that the state of Michigan pay a minimum of 48.97 percent of revenue raised through state taxes to local governments in the form of revenue sharing.

Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government (TMCG) has sued the state for purposefully violating its own constitution by continually miscalculating the minimum mandatory payment to local governments, as required by the amendment.

This miscalculation has resulted in a payment shortfall to local governments that far exceeds $1 billion.

“I don’t understand how people are able to violate the constitution, and there are no repercussions whatsoever,” LaCosse said about the state government violating the amendment. “If I was in office… I would be kicking and screaming: ‘What are you doing?’

“I view myself as a constitutional conservative. When you take the oath of office, you swear to uphold and defend the constitution. You don’t get to pick bits and pieces of it that you like. As a whole you have to defend and uphold.”

In withholding revenue sharing from counties, LaCosse feels that the state government currently led by lame-duck Gov. Rick Snyder is not giving power back to municipalities.

“He’s not giving any revenues back to the local (governments) and that’s where the money is needed,” he said.

Snyder’s administration is not the first to violate the amendment. The same shortfall in revenue sharing payments was done during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration.

LaCosse said while he believes the state is better off today than during the Granholm administration, there is still much room for improvement, and he holds Snyder at least partially accountable.

“I wish Snyder would act a little bit more like a Republican,” LaCosse said. “With Republicanism, the Republican Party, the platform is that we are for limited government, sound fiscal policy, free markets and the right to life. All of that is the fabric of the Republican Party, and he doesn’t follow that.”