News Story

All Five Constitutional Amendments Soundly Defeated

Emergency manager law repealed

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

Ted O'Neil, Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — All five constitutional amendments in Michigan were soundly rejected by voters Tuesday, including two that received heavy union backing that would have locked collective bargaining for government union employees and a dues skim that has taken $32 million from Michigan’s most vulnerable residents into the state constitution.

“Today, the voters of Michigan sent a clear message,” Labor Policy Director F. Vincent Vernuccio said of the Proposal 2 defeat. “The voters put workers, taxpayers and job creators above special interests. Michigan avoided making government unions a super-legislature that would have the ability to effectively veto laws passed by our elected representatives. The move also allows reforms to continue that will save taxpayers a projected $1.6 billion annually.”

Vernuccio also noted that with President Obama the projected winner at 53 percent in Michigan and Proposal 2 being defeated with close to 60 percent of the vote, this shows that many Democrats voted against labor’s interests.

"The defeat is a major setback for organized labor across the country and further shows that the reforms in states like Wisconsin and Indiana were not a blip, but a national trend that is gaining momentum," he added. “This is a sea change and shows that unions can't assume that Democrats will rubber stamp their agenda.”

Proposal 4, a scheme that would have allowed the SEIU to continue taking $6 million a year from family members who provide home-based care to loved ones, was also soundly rejected.

“Home health care options and a registry and training for care providers was not the issue here, but the SEIU chose to attach them to the poison pill of forced unionization and also attempted to preserve their scheme in the state constitution,” said Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Voters saw through it. This is the third time in three years that a forced unionization ploy has failed in Michigan. Perhaps they’ll eventually get the message.”

Proposal 3, the “25 x 25” renewable energy mandate, received little support.

“Voters weren’t willing to risk billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to support a mandate that is not financially stable,” said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy. “If the market could sustain such ventures, it would already be doing so.”

Proposal 5, which would have required a two-thirds majority of the state House and Senate to approve a tax increase, also appeared to get swept up in the anti-proposal sentiment.

“Voters will have to be diligent when state legislators start talking about tax increases instead of making tough budget choices,” said Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. “As we saw in 2007, politicians have no qualms about crafting a budget they know exceeds revenues and then increasing taxes to avert the overspending crisis they’ve created. We also learned in 2007 that legislators who vote ‘no’ on tax increases will generally vote ‘yes’ when it comes to spending that money.”

Proposal 1, a referendum on the emergency manager law, also lost, meaning that Public Act 4 of 2011 is repealed.

“With the defeat of Proposal 1, the emergency financial manager law that was put in place in 1990 goes back into effect,” Hohman said. “That will help municipalities and school districts that could potentially face bankruptcy, but strip them of powers to fix the problem.”

Proposal 6, which would have required a vote of the people before any new international crossing could be built by the state, also was defeated.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.