Tom Watkins President-CEO 2013

We need to fix our unsafe and dangerous roads and bridges.

The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” Sadly, it is far too often also ugly.

The campaign to thwart Governor Snyder’s effort to fix our unsafe roads has begun– in an ugly way.

Opponents to Proposal 1 disingenuously argue in the first television ads against the May 5th ballot proposal that the proposal  add-ons “special interest” funding that will fund far more than road repairs.

They are calling support for our fixing our dangerous roads, educating our children, investing on our towns and people who work hard, play by the rules, regular citizens “special interests.” Give me a break!

Last year the legislature chose the quick kick, rather than doing their jobs, now forcing citizens to vote on how to pay for the increasingly obvious need to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges. “Let the people decide” was the way to duck responsibility. Not a representative democracy’s finest hour.

Now the same folks who play this political game on a daily basis – legislators, lobbyists, political pundits, politician wanna-be’s and consultants that make their living as contrarians are – are SHOCKED about political give and take in the legislative process.

Last year, after failing to do their job and vote for increased resources to fix our roads the legislative leadership began that age old process of cobbling together a coalition in order to garner the necessary number of votes for putting a road funding solution on the May 5th ballot.

It was apparent from the start that there were not enough votes from the majority Republicans to — umm, get that majority.  Legislators then begin playing “let’s make a deal” or “political horse trading” to acquire the needed votes.

Deals were struck to garner votes — Shock Alert!

Can you imagine? Legislative leaders used the same tactics that date back to the near beginning of time – ‘compromise’ – in order to do the people’s business.

Yep! In order to secure votes to place the road tax issue on the May 5th ballot, $700 million in legitimate and needed spending to help local communities, neighborhood schools, and the working poor was added to the ballot proposal.

Insult

Michigan voters should find it insulting to suggest, as the anti Proposal 1 side is doing, that making our roads safe, funding neighborhood schools and sharing some of their tax dollars sent to the state back to their local communities to keep fire fighters and police on the job are “special interests.” Investing in our roads and people makes sense and makes Michigan strong.

The ballot proposal, while asking voters to approve a tax for roads, also asks them to support the other investments in order for the state to prosper. If the legislature is not going to do their job, the thinking goes, ask the citizens to do theirs: Decide spending priorities by voting.

Our Roads Are A Pain

Our lousy roads are hurting economic recovery and putting all our safety at risk. Fillings from my teeth are rattling loose while front end alignments, blown tires, and destroyed rims are littering the highways.

The ballot proposal is clearly complex. It hikes the state sales tax to 7% from 6% while removing the sales tax from fuel sales and replacing the sales tax with ANOTHER fuel tax that would be spent on roads. This change is expected to raise an additional much needed $1.2 billion a year for roads, $300 million for our neighborhood public schools, $100 million for mass transit and about $95 million for local governments. The proposal would fully restore the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor. All needed and worthy expenditures.

Now comes the whine: “We would actually support an increase in taxes that would go solely to fix our roads, bridges and infrastructure.” Give me a break!

Asking Voters To Do Legislators Job

After neglecting their legislative responsibility last year when they might have raised revenue (taxes) solely for fixing our roads and bridges, some anti-tax zealots are now critical of the compromise made to secure enough Democrat and Republican votes to place the issue before the voters?

Doing what is necessary to get the legislative votes in order to advance a cause that helps the people – fixing dangerous roads, adequately funding schools, restoring revenue sharing to local communities, restoring the earned income tax credit to help the working poor — is commendable, NOT contemptible.

We need leaders to be part of the solution– not perpetuate the problems. Our roads are a mess, unsafe and dangerous and need to be fixed.

The Legislature could, even now, decide to put “clean” legislation on Governor Snyder’s desk to raise $1.2 billion needed to make our infrastructure safe again. Will they?

Vote YES – May 5 on Proposal 1. It is an investment in our collective future. It is time to get the job done.

Pass the word: Proposal 1 will fix much of what needs fixing in Pure Michigan.

A society that invests in itself prospers. The ones that don’t remain in a unsafe rut.

For more information Proposal 1 go to: www.SafeRoadsYes.com  or: http://bit.ly/safe-roads-yes

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