Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Part Time effort gaining momentum

If you didn't already think the Michigan Legislature should become a part-time operation, the actions of the past eleven months probably convinced you. In 2007 (so far) lawmakers:

  • After receiving a budget from the Governor in mid-February, waited until October 1st, several hours AFTER government shut down to finally approve a tentative budget.

  • Raised taxes by $1.5 billion to cover the governor's insatiable appetite for excessive government growth.

  • Realized within days that the tax on services they approved would devastate the economy of the state.

  • After delaying for nearly two months and taking a two-week hunting break, passed a repeal and replacement for the services tax AFTER the service tax had already gone into effect.

In 2007, legislators approved the governor's proposal to increase spending by $1 billion and raise taxes by $1.5 billion with little apparent regard to how it would affect the business community and economic development.  Now that the budget is wrapped up (two months after the beginning of the fiscal year), legislators are working on onerous new regulations that will further stifle economic development.

I am happy to report the effort to put a part-time legislature effort on the ballot is under way.  The ballot language is almost complete. It will include the following components: 

  • Salary is cut in half, pay is docked for absenteeism, personal expenses are limited to actual travel and lodging

  • Pensions and lifetime medical benefits are eliminated

  • Legislature sets all salaries in a dedicated session right before elections

  • Sessions are from March through June, with limited special sessions.

  • Budget must be submitted at the beginning of the session. Committee work still continues between sessions, members can participate and vote in committee from their home district.

Before a petition drive to put this measure on the ballot can begin in earnest, two things are needed: volunteers and funding. The time to get organized, start raising money and generating grass roots support is now. Go to the PartTimeLegislature web site and sign up to get involved. I look forward to supporting this effort.

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