From Bill McMaster, state chairman, Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation:
Nobody, including Gov. Rick Snyder, can take away the power we the people reserved for ourselves in our Michigan Constitution.
We in Taxpayers United have been assuring Gov. Snyder and similarly inclined politicians since January that we will vigorously fight any “tax hike deal among eleced state, county, city and township government officeholders” which attempts to violate the constitutional right of grassroots taxpayers to vote yes or no on any and all new or increased tax proposals. Without a statewide vote of the people, tax increases cannot be legally imposed.
The 1978 Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment voted into our Michigan Constitution by the majority of statewide voters guarantees every family living in Michigan the constitutional right to vote yes or no on the “pension income tax deal” Gov. Snyder is advocating. He mistakenly asserts that he and backroom lobbyists can secretly increase our taxes within his proposed state budget, and then receive legislative approval by May 31 for the 2012 Fiscal Year budget starting Oct. 1, 2011.
The Headlee Amendent prohibits any new or increased taxes without a statewide vote of the people. All of the provisions of the 1978 Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment can be found under Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment,. Michigan Constitution, Article IX, Sections 6 and 25-33.
As the campaign director for Dick Headlee when we were fighting for enactment of the Headlee Amendment in 1978, I and others still in Taxpayers United have been actively defending our Tax Limitation Amendment since its inception. We expect Gov. Snyder and all politicians to respect their oath of office and uphold the Headlee Amendment defined in our Michigan Constitution as the unaltered will of the people.
According to Michigan election law, grassroots taxpayers must be given 70 days advance notice of Gov. Snyder/legislators’ proposed ballot language before residents can exercise their constitutional right to vote yes or no on it. That means the ballot language must be finalized by May 24, and presented to the people in order for it to appear on the Aug. 2, 2011 statewide primary election ballot.
Gov. Snyder’s convoluted “compromise plan” for a new pension income tax would cost seniors $300 million each year. He hopes to extract a whopping 20 percent more from elderly families by increasing their annual homestead property taxes. Both must meet the May 24 deadline in order to comply with the Headlee Amendment.
Gov. Snyder and state legislators can cut taxes without the voted approval of the people (and we strongly support their committed election duty to do so), but they cannot raise or enact new taxes without violating the constitutional right of the majority of ordinary Michigan citizens to first vote their agreement to further burden their families with tens of millions of dollars in higher state taxes and spending.