Apr 13, 2015
On Tuesday, May 5, a special election is being held in Michigan for one purpose only – for the population to okay a tax increase on themselves.
The only thing on the ballot, Proposal 1, triggers an increase in the statewide sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. This regressive tax would hit working people and those forced to depend on social programs the hardest.
In addition, a yes vote would trigger 10 other laws, one that will increase taxes on gasoline and some that increase various government fees – harming us again!
The ad campaign of the politicians implies that a “yes” vote would help fix roads, schools and cities. How cynical – and most people know it – judging by the polls that show most people are planning to vote NO! The question is, will they have enough determination to get out and vote?
In the long run, the timing of this vote has less to do with filling potholes in the roads and more to do with the gaping hole in the state budget created by nine billion dollars in new corporate tax breaks that will be draining the budget for years to come.
If some working people plan on voting yes, it is an expression of sincere worry about death trap, falling apart roads and bridges.
But a YES vote will NOT immediately fix dangerous roads! The first two years of the 1.3 billion dollars in new revenue will send most of the money to bondholders, paying off OLD road construction debt. New repairs and new construction? Full funding doesn’t start until – 2018!
Certainly a large NO vote would send a solid message of disgust to the politicians, but voting no is not enough.
To improve the roads, the schools, the cities – will require a mobilization of the population. It is simple logic to demand that wealth produced by all of society be used to benefit all of society.
In the richest country in the world, in Michigan where so much of the wealth of the auto industry is produced, the money to fix the roads, to fix the schools, to maintain the cities is being stolen by the corporations and the banks. A fight to put the population’s hands on THAT money could lead to better roads sooner than any of us could imagine!