There are few topics that unite tea partiers with progressive liberals but Michigan’s Prop 1 has not only united these two disparate groups, it has, for all intents and purposes, turned many progressives into tea partiers in their own right. What I mean by this is that they have allowed their hatred for our Republican governor and his colleagues in the legislature to cloud their judgment on Proposal 1, turning them against it when the truly progressive position is to support it.
When I am discussing this with my progressive friends, the ones who are against Proposal 1 say they will never support something Rick Snyder supports. “We need to send a message!” they tell me. “Things need to get so bad people vote them out of office!” they cry. “They need to go back to the drawing board!” I’m told.
Here’s the reality: the Republicans, a full 70% of whom voted FOR putting Prop 1 on the ballot, would like nothing more than for voters to kill it. Then, the “lesson” they will have learned, one they are counting on, is that Michigan voters don’t want their taxes raised. Once that has been established, they will feel free to start cutting our state budget. If you think that means rolling back the corporate tax cuts that we all fought so hard against, you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.
We already know where they will find the money to put into the roads because they have been showing us for the past four years. They will cut programs that impact those in the most need – the elderly, the young, and the poor – and they will continue to cut education. In fact, conservative Senator Patrick Colbeck has an 83-bill package of legislation waiting in the wings in the event Prop 1 goes down in flames to begin these cuts.
Failure of Prop 1 will also embolden them to continue to privatize crucial government services, a move that has lead to the debacle seen with prison food vendor Aramark, an unmitigated catastrophe that I have documented ad nauseum here on this site.
What we won’t get is constitutionally-protected funding for schools and local governments. We also won’t get a restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, an important tax credit for our working poor citizens.
If you are confused about what’s in Proposal 1, I commend your attention to the video below. The video was taken at a Prop 1 forum hosted by the Western Washtenaw Dems earlier this month. The first part of it is a presentation put on by Ann Arbor Representative Adam Zemke that explains how Prop 1 works. His discussion is overlayed by a powerful slide presentation he has been giving throughout his district. You’ll also see the superintendent of Ypsi/Willow Run schools talking about the impact on school funding and others, as well. Yes, Prop 1 is complicated. But it’s only complicated because our current system is so convoluted.
Please watch the video and share it with your friends:
It’s one thing to be a strange bedfellow with tea partiers. It happens from time to time on things like Common Core, for example. It’s entirely another thing to adopt the no-compromise, cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face approach that progressives so frequently deride tea partiers for having.
Don’t let your hatred for Republicans keep you from making the right choice on Proposal 1. Once you get the facts, it will become quite clear that Democrats fought hard for and won significant concessions that protect the programs and investments in education and our citizens that we as liberals value while making sure that our roads get fixed.
And remember, if you want to send a message, be sure you’re sending the right one. A “no” vote on Proposal 1 is a message to Republicans that you don’t want to increase revenues to pay for decades of inadequate funding for road repair and that you want them to slash and burn our state budget, no matter who gets hurt in the process, in order to fix our roads.
This has been their plan all along. Don’t be duped. Vote “YES” on Proposal 1 next Tuesday, May 5th.