FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and members of the press. My name is Paul Long, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Catholic Conference. As many of you know, we are the official public policy voice for the Catholic Church in this state.
I am pleased to be here with you today to express our organization’s opposition to Proposal 5. At its recent meeting, the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors were presented with the impacts of this proposal and, after a lengthy discussion, voted unanimously to oppose the ballot question. The Catholic Conference’s reasons for opposition are as follows:
First, giving such a small number of elected officials, just 13 members, the opportunity to decide tax policy in this state is contrary to the principles of representative democracy. With 148 legislators sent to Lansing to represent their constituents, we believe giving so much power to so few is poor public policy.
Second, finding simple majority support for complex budget solutions is difficult enough; finding 2/3 support is virtually impossible. Citizens recall 2007 when incoming state revenues did not meet expenditures - partisan gridlock overtook the Legislature for weeks and the state was forced to shut down operations. That year, waiting another month for a statewide vote on a solution would have been a catastrophe.
Third, and this is an important point to make as we are all in this together, Proposal 5 does nothing to promote the common good in the state of Michigan. We all drive Michigan roads and cross bridges, vulnerable children and families rely on Medicaid dollars for basic health care, and millions of residents enjoy our natural resources and recreational facilities.
For nearly 50 years Michigan Catholic Conference has consistently stated it is the job of elected officials to determine the revenue necessary to fund the operations of state government. Proposal 5 would greatly jeopardize that responsibility, and carve into the state constitution a pet project of a single special interest in the Detroit area.
We urge Michigan voters to support Michigan by voting No on Proposal 5.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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