DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. – Nearly two-thirds of Michigan voters plan this November to vote "yes" on Proposal 6, a statewide ballot measure that would eliminate state legislators' taxpayer-financed lifetime pensions and limit increases in state government spending to the annual rate of inflation plus state population growth unless voters approve larger spending hikes, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006609040341
Sixty-five percent of likely voters surveyed last week responded "yes," the Free Press reported, when asked by pollsters if they would support "a proposal that would do two things: First, halt any future contributions by state government to pensions for state legislators, and second, require voter approval for increases in state and local government spending above the rate of inflation."
Rose Bogaert of Dearborn Heights, Wayne County chairman of the YES on Proposal 6 campaign, said voters "are clearly fed up with politicians in Lansing and want more say in how our tax dollars are spent.""Just eliminating lifetime pensions for politicians will save taxpayers over $800,000 a year," Bogaert said. "Beyond that, Proposal 6 puts the people in charge by putting a reasonable, modest limit on how much government spending can increase every year and requiring voter approval first before politicians can spend above that reasonable limit."Bogaert said voters also agree with the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, which endorsed the measure after 78 percent of Michigan NFIB members responding to an internal poll supported a "yes" vote on Proposal 6. "This poll indicates that voters overwhelmingly understand, as small business leaders have pointed out, that limiting the growth of government spending and taxes will help Michigan create and attract the new jobs we desperately need right now to support our families."NFIB/Michigan State Director Charlie Owens said in a news release endorsing the proposal, “I think small business owners sense a direct link between our state and local governments’ tendency to tax and spend at a higher level than most other states, and the fact that businesses are fleeing Michigan for better economic climates.” http://www.nfib.com/object/IO_29724.html
The poll also found that 21 percent said they would oppose the proposal, the Free Press reported, while 14 percent said they were unsure. The poll was conducted last week by Selzer & Co. Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, which surveyed 803 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.Last week, the Michigan Secretary of State's office found that 80 percent of the over 500,000 signatures gathered statewide in support of Proposal 6 are those of valid registered voters, far more than the 317,000 required to place the proposal on the November general election ballot.The bipartisan state Senate Fiscal Agency reported earlier this month that Proposal 6 will prohibit pensions for future members of the Legislature, saving taxpayers $837,000 a year. www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa
The proposal would also allow state government spending to increase each year, but limit that increase to no more than the annual rate of inflation plus the annual percentage of Michigan’s population growth. Lawmakers could increase spending above and beyond the allowed increase limit by placing a higher spending proposal on the ballot for voter approval. The proposal would also require local voter approval of all new city and county fees, assessments, and long-term indebtedness. The bipartisan Senate Fiscal Agency reported that beyond the $837,000 annual savings on lawmakers' pensions, "it is difficult to suggest any other direct fiscal impact that passage of the constitutional amendment would have on the budgets of state or local units of government.”The increase in this year’s state budget over the previous year, the agency reported, is actually less than the inflation and population growth limit the measure would establish. Supporters say that proves how reasonable the proposed limit is, and that its primary effect will be to ensure spending increases remain at a reasonable rate after Michigan's economy recovers.