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Don’t Increase Class Sizes to Pave Potholes

MEMO to Legislators

FROM: Registered Voters

RE: Our Vote on Proposal 1

DATE: May 5, 2015

SUBJECT: Don’t Increase Class Sizes to Pave Potholes

Many of you are now trying to figure out what we — the voters — said in our votes on Proposal 1.

We did, overwhelmingly, say we were confused by Proposal 1. There were too many things going on. Money went to roads, it went to pay off past debt, it went to schools, to local governments, to mass transit, harbors and hiking trails.

We didn’t understand it. Some of us didn’t trust you. So we voted no. We do that often. Since 1963, we’ve said no to 32 of 74 proposed constitutional amendments.

We did not say that we want major cuts in other areas of state government to pay for roads. We also didn’t say we wouldn’t support new taxes for roads.

Just before election day, pollsters from EPIC/MRA asked what we thought about Plan B, because we’ve been told there is no Plan B. EPIC’s Bernie Porn told reporters what he learned in the survey in a briefing on election day.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said schools should not be harmed in the Legislature’s rush to a Plan B on road funding.

Two-thirds were willing to pay a sales tax increase of 1 cent on the dollar — the same amount spiked by voters in Proposal 1 — if the revenue were to go exclusively to repair Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

“If legislators think this is a license to cut programs and services to come up with road funding money, they would be seriously misreading the public,” Porn said. “Voters will support higher taxes if the legislature comes up with a plan that will fix just the roads.”

That’s right — two thirds of us would support a tax increase dedicated to roads. Hardly any of us want cuts to current services:

  • 88 percent said no further cuts to schools
  • 86 percent said no further cuts to health care for low income individuals
  • 76 percent said no further cuts to revenue sharing for municipalities
  • 63 percent said no further cuts to colleges and universities

Please, listen to Bernie. He’s been asking our opinion for a long time. We trust him. We like that he asks our opinion before something happens, instead of after.

Oh, and by the way, 87 percent of us said you should give up your summer vacation to come up with a solution to road funding if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

We want more orange barrels, not more children crammed into classrooms. And we want it soon.


Statewide General Election Poll

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Ron Koehler
Ron Koehler
Ron Koehler is the Kent ISD Superintendent and offers his commentary on issues in education.


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