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Ballot Initiatives as Policy Alternatives Education Policy Fellowship Program January 26, 2004 Kellogg Center, Lansing, MI.

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Presentation on theme: "Ballot Initiatives as Policy Alternatives Education Policy Fellowship Program January 26, 2004 Kellogg Center, Lansing, MI."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ballot Initiatives as Policy Alternatives Education Policy Fellowship Program January 26, 2004 Kellogg Center, Lansing, MI

2 Program Agenda Historical Perspective – National & State Case Studies – School Finance Reform – Proposal A: 1994 – Tobacco Settlement Revenue – Proposal 4: 2002 Group Discussion

3 We the People… The Constitution of the United States provides for the right of petition, as follows: Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

4 We the People… Congress failed to devise orderly and legal methods of petitioning; therefore, this method of communication with elected representatives has been sporadic and ineffective.

5 We the People speak out 1830Congress was deluged with petitions calling for the abolition of slavery. 1830The U.S. House of Representatives adopted a standing rule that all petitions of this nature be tabled without public notice or action of any kind.

6 John Quincy Adams speaks out “Not even the most abject despotism would deprive the citizen of the right to supplicate a boon, or to pray for mercy.”

7 John Randolph Haynes (1853 – 1937) Physician Progressive-era crusader and reformer Statesman Advocate “willing to accept a quarter of a loaf if I cannot get a half and a half if I cannot get a whole.”

8 Dr. John R. Haynes “There is no doubt that a government under the control of a wise, honest, conscientious, experienced and benevolent despot would be the most efficient one, were the results of detailed governmental action only to be considered, but more important than the building of an efficient and economical method of government is the up-building of civic wisdom, conscience, and responsibility of the governed.”

9 Dr. Haynes affirmed his faith in the power of the people… “ Better, temporarily, a faulty government by the people, who gain increased civic wisdom, conscience, and responsibility through reason of this civic responsibility, than a perfect government under a despot. Such being the case, the nearer we get to a true democracy the better and the more enlightened the people and the better will be the government.”

10 Dr. Haynes concludes “Therefore, a government shall give the people power to initiate legislation that their representatives have refused to enact (initiatives); to veto legislation they do not want (referendums); to recall from office their representatives found unworthy of their trust (vote of confidence/recall).”

11 State Ballot Initiatives in Michigan: An Overview 1895 George F. Sherman and David Inglis form the Direct Legislation Club I & R Amendment wins passage at the sate constitutional convention. 1913Governor Ferris convinces legislature of the need for a more voter friendly amendment.

12 State Ballot Initiatives in Michigan: An Overview 1932First two initiatives win voter approval: - Measure to establish a Liquor Control Commission -Amendment to limit property taxes

13 State Ballot Initiatives in Michigan: An Overview The right of initiative, defined in the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963, as amended, as “…the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws…” The peoples right to referendum, “…the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature…”

14 Initiatives in Michigan: How an issue becomes a ballot proposal A citizen or group of citizens may attempt to get a question on the ballot for one of three purposes: – To enact a new law or new section or sections of law. – To approve or reject a law already enacted. – To amend the constitution

15 Initiatives in Michigan: How an issue becomes a ballot proposal In order to exercise the right to initiate legislation (put forth an initiative), a citizen or group must secure on petitions the signatures of registered electors in the amount not less than eight percent of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last gubernatorial election.

16 Initiatives in Michigan: How an issue becomes a ballot proposal The legislature has 40 days from the time it receives the petition to enact or reject the proposed law or to propose a different measure on the same question. If not enacted, the original initiative proposal and any different measure passed by the legislature must go before the voters as a ballot proposal. Any substitute passed by the legislature would be a separate proposal.

17 Initiatives in Michigan: How an issue becomes a ballot proposal Citizen action, through the petition, can also be used to amend the constitution. In the case of proposed constitutional amendments, signatures of registered voters must equal at least 10 percent of the number of votes cast for all candidates in the last gubernatorial election for the matter to go before the electorate.

18 Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of Total Proposals have made it to the ballot 15 Senate Joint Resolution(47% approval) 25 House Joint Resolution(44% approval) 22 Initiatory Petitions(27% approval) 2 Constitutionally Required( 0% approval) Overall there is a 38% approval rate

19 Summary of Initiatory Petitions Proposed as Amendments to the Constitution of 1963 – Focus or Impact on School Finance Nov – 1970: Prohibit public aid to nonpublic school students – Adopted. Nov – 1972: Limit property tax for school, county, and township purposes and require legislature to establish a state tax program for support of schools – Rejected. Nov – 1978: Prohibit use of property taxes for school operating expenses and establish a voucher system for financing education of students a public and non public schools – Rejected.

20 Summary of Initiatory Petitions Proposed as Amendments to the Constitution of 1963 – Focus or Impact on School Finance Nov – 1978: Reduce property tax assessments to establish a maximum of 5.6% on the rate of the state income tax; prohibit legislature from requiring new or expanded local programs without state funding; and allow school income tax with voter approval (Tisch Amendment I) – Rejected. Nov – 1980: Make local school boards responsible for school personnel and programs, reduce local property tax maximums for operational purposes, provide additional property tax relief for senior retirees and require the state to raise revenues necessary for equal per pupil funding of public schools – Rejected.

21 Summary of Initiatory Petitions Proposed as Amendments to the Constitution of 1963 – Focus or Impact on School Finance Nov – 1980: Decrease property taxes and prohibit new types of homestead taxes; require 60% voter approval to raise state taxes or fees; require partial state reimbursement to local units for lost income; limit legislature’s ability to change tax exemptions or credits or change per pupil formula (Tisch Amendment II) – Rejected. Nov – 1992: Exempt property from a portion of school operating property taxes and limit annual increases in all property tax assessments – Rejected.

22 Summary of Initiatory Petitions Proposed as Amendments to the Constitution of 1963 – Focus or Impact on School Finance Nov – 2000: To permit the state to indirectly support nonpublic school students – Rejected. Nov – 2002: Reallocate the tobacco settlement revenue received by the state from cigarette manufactures – Rejected. Summary: Since 1970 Nine (9) Initiatory Petitions which would impact upon school funding have made it to the state ballot. One (1) has been approved by voters and eight (8) have been rejected.

23 Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of 1963 Some significant changes have occurred in Michigan as a result of ballot initiatives: - Daylight savings time - The legal drinking age - Removal of sales tax on food and drugs - The bottle law - Public funding of abortion - Crime measures - The environment

24 School Finance Reform: 1994 Proposal A A proposal to increase the state sales and use tax rates from 4% to 6%, limit annual increases in property tax assessments, exempt school operating millages from uniform taxation requirement and require ¾ vote of Legislature to exceed statutorily established school operating millage rates. Case Study #1

25 The Proposed Constitutional Amendment would: Limit annual assessment increase for each property parcel to 5% or inflation rate, whichever is less. When property is sold or transferred, adjust assessment to current value. Increase the sales/use tax. Dedicate additional revenue to schools.

26 The Proposed Constitutional Amendment would: ●Exempt school operating millages from uniform taxation requirement. ●Require ¾ vote of Legislature to exceed school operating millage rates. ●Activate laws raising additional school revenues through taxation including partial restoration of property tax. ●Nullify alternative laws raising school revenues through taxation, including an increase income tax, personal exemption increase, and partial restoration of property taxes.

27 Proposal A: Panel Discussion Lynn Jondahl Currently: Executive Director, Michigan Prospect Formerly: State Representative Robert Swanson Currently: Deputy Director, MI Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth Formerly: Staff Director, Committee on Taxation, MI House of Representatives

28 Guarantee recipients funding at 2001 appropriation levels plus additional state funds on an escalating basis for nonprofit hospitals, licensed nursing homes, licensed hospices and nurse practitioners. Should this proposal be adopted? Use of Tobacco Funds: 2002 Proposal 4 Case Study #2

29 Proposal The proposed constitutional amendment would: Annually allocate on a permanent basis 90% (approximately $297 million) of “tobacco settlement revenue” received by state from cigarette manufacturers as follows: $151.8 million to nonprofit hospitals, licensed nursing homes, licensed hospices, nurse practitioners, school linked health centers and Health Michigan Foundation; $102.3 million to fund programs to reduce tobacco use, Health and Aging Research Development Initiative, Tobacco-Free Futures Fund, Council of Michigan Foundations and Nurses Scholarship Program; and $42.9 million to Elder Prescription Drug Program.

30 Proposal 4: Panel Discussion Roger Martin President Rossman Martin & Associates David Waymire Executive Vice President Marketing Resource Group

31 Summary and Conclusions The Benefits and Drawbacks of the State Ballot Initiative as a Mechanism for Educational Policy Development. Themes Drawn form the Two Case Studies: Lessons Learned and Best Practices. Likely Future Utilization of the Ballot Initiative in Michigan.

32 Facilitated Wrap-Up Discussion with Colleagues

33 Our Learning Team Ms. Julia E. Ashworth Partner Educator MDE Partner for Success

34 Our Learning Team Mr. Ronald J. Collins Partner Educator MDE Partnership for Success

35 Our Learning Team Dr. Daniel J. Hurley Director, University Relations & Administrative Services Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan

36 Our Learning Team Dr. Steven R. Meno Director, Western Region Michigan Department of Community Health – Corrections Mental Health

37 Our Learning Team Mr. Christopher B. Reimann Office of K – 12 Outreach Michigan State University


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