Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 22, 2012

Another View: Wrong to allow 3 proposals

By The Oakland Press
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---- — The Michigan Supreme Court has caved into special interests to allow three proposals that promise to spawn endless and costly litigation if they manage to sneak past the scrutiny of voters.

Basically, in a flurry of last minute decision, the state Supreme Court ran roughshod over the good opinion of the State Board of Canvassers and allowed three different proposals onto the November ballot.

One proposal would require two-thirds majorities in the state House and Senate to raise taxes. Another would require a public vote before construction of the new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor, while a third would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution. Justices rejected a proposal to allow eight new nontribal casinos in Michigan.

All three of the proposals are the inventions of special interest groups with deep pockets, starting with the Moroun family, the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, who are willing to spend anything to protect their monopoly and with unions looking to protect their collective bargaining practices by making them part of the state constitution.

The Board of Canvassers had already found that none of the three provisions met the state constitution's basic standard for clarity and transparency.

Indeed, the bridge proposal that has been placed on the ballot is so convoluted, it has the potential to halt all kinds of bridge and road projects across the state, or at the very least require local road commissioners to seek court approval for even the most mundane projects.

Meanwhile, the collective bargaining proposal could abrogate not one but several parts of the state constitution, while the requirement for a two-thirds approval on tax increases robs the state Legislature of the ability and the incentive to make the kind of hard decisions required during a financial crisis.

But what's most disheartening is not the court's shoddy legal reasoning.

It's the spectacle of the state's highest court selling itself to special interests for the ephemera of future campaign contributions.

It's sad and ugly at the same time.

-- The Oakland Press