|Meekhof, left, with Schuitmaker, center, and AG Bill Schuette, in Holland|
By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)
Conservative activists are ramping up pressure on members of the Michigan House after a controversial bill passed by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof would allow Michiganders to face tax increases without a vote of the legislature.
State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker was a vocal proponent of the idea and voted to pass it, a vote she will have a hard time explaining to grassroots delegates in her campaign for Attorney General next summer.
The legislation in question, SB 97, would expand "public-private partnerships" where the state picks winners and losers, a decision usually influenced by whoever has lined Lansing politicians pockets with the most cash.
The bill would also allow government created "authorities" to implement new taxes as they wish, without legislative support. The taxes are called "user fees," but it's a tax nonetheless. MDOT projects without approval? This bill has that, too!
How in the hell did this advance out of the Senate?
The legislation has moved out of committee in the House, where Chairman Triston Cole said it "Might not be a bad thing" according to Northern Michigan GOP activist Tom Backers.
So far, Speaker Leonard has refused to hold a vote on the issue, but Governor Snyder is pushing hard for the legislation.
Joan Fabiano, founder of Grassroots in Michigan, blasted the legislation in an email to supporters.
"PPPs in public service sectors have been highly controversial: while investment has been sorely needed into new infrastructure, there’s reason to believe that the PPP price tag has simply been too high, and that the expected service levels haven’t been delivered," Fabiano said. "Huge problems with PPPs include "user fees" which is nothing more but taxation without presentation. Crony capitalism where the connected get the PPP contract. And the ability to exercise eminent domain as a mean to acquire property for projects."
So what makes SB 97 so bad? Fabiano points to a series of problems:
In case you missed it, transparency and accountability are out the window: the "authority" only has to hold a public meeting 5 YEARS after a project is finished! Wow...
Fabiano wants conservatives to contact Speaker Leonard, as well as their own State Rep.
"SB 97 and PPP are bad policy, period. There is no "fixing it" by stripping out certain items. It just needs to be killed. And that's the message we are sending to Speaker Leonard and our House Reps... Calling is best. An email with a follow up call even better!
House Speaker Tom Leonard Phone: (517) 373-1778 Toll Free: (877) 859-8086 Email: TomLeonard@house.mi.gov
>>>Your House Representative: Click HERE for Contact Information."
Also, check out the web ad from "Drain The Swamp Michigan" spotlighting the issue:
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com