MLA Advocacy - April 23, 2015


Michigan Library Association Supports Proposal 1

On May 5 Michigan voters are being asked to vote on Proposal 15-1 as a way to fund road repair. The measure's approval would cause one constitutional amendment and 10 statutes to go into effect. The proposal is a complicated solution to a difficult and expensive problem.

The MLA Board of Directors has voted to support the MLA Legislative Committee’s recommendation that MLA support passage of Proposal 1. While we recognize that this proposal has any number of issues that could cause confusion, questions and differences of opinion, there are three arguments for support which would impact libraries directly.

  1. Predictions for Fiscal Year 2017 show a serious budget deficit for the state of Michigan due to the cashing in of tax credits by big business. This means without additional sources of revenue, we would expect to see a cut in all budgets across the board including aid to libraries.
  2. Penal fines: Originally a bill moving some penal fines from libraries to roads was included in the 10-bill package to accompany Proposal 1. We worked hard to mitigate that threat. If Proposal 1 fails we can expect further and expanded assaults on penal fines. Legislators will argue that those are road fines and they should go to roads—constitutionally guaranteed to libraries or not.
  3. The governor has provided an additional $1.6 million in support to libraries for early literacy and other programs in his budget recommendation this year. Supporting the administration’s efforts to adequately finance education and local governments is consistent with good policy.

In essence, Proposal 1 would amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6% to 7% and eliminate sales/use taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. Simply put, motorists now pay both gas and sales taxes at the pump, so that the cost of each fill-up is split among roads, schools and local governments. The plan for Proposal 1 means taxes paid at the pump are going to roads and sales tax is going to schools and local governments.

Language directly from the ballot proposal states that the proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Eliminate sales/use taxes on gasoline/diesel fuel for vehicles on public roads.
  • Increase portion of use tax dedicated to School Aid Fund (SAF).
  • Expand use of SAF to community colleges and career/technical education and prohibit use for 4-year colleges/universities.
  • Give effect to laws, including those that:  Increase sales/use tax to 7% as authorized by constitutional amendment.
  • Increase gasoline/diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation, increase vehicle registration fees and dedicate revenue for roads and other transportation purposes.
  • Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects.
  • Increase earned income tax credit.

For a thorough analysis of the proposal visit this Free Press story and Ballotpedia webpage.

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