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Tag Archive | "proposals"

Ballot issues


 

Voters will have several proposals to vote on in next ‘Tuesday’s election.

State: There are two proposals on the ballot in regard to wolves.

Public Act 520 of 2012 would: Allow an open hunting season for wolves and allow the Natural Resources Commission to schedule annual wolf hunting seasons. Require a person who wishes to hunt wolves to obtain a wolf hunting license.

Provide criminal penalties for unlawful possession or taking of wolves; and create a Wolf Management Advisory Council for the purpose of making nonbinding recommendations to the legislature regarding the proper management of wolves.

Public Act 21 of 2013 would: 

Allow the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to designate animals as game for hunting purposes without legislative action.

Allow the NRC to establish the first open hunting season for newly designated game animals without legislative action.

Allow the NRC to schedulde a wolf hunt.

Grant the Legislature the sole authority to remove a species from the list of designated game animals.

Eliminate the $1.00 hunting and fishing licensing fee for members of the military, whether stationed inside or outside of Michigan, subject to any lottery.

Give the NRC the sole authority to regulate fishing.

Kent County: There are two proposals at the county level.

Dedicated millage for Veterans services: Shall Kent County levy .050 mill which is equal to five cents per $1,000 of the taxable value on all Real and Personal Property subject to taxation for the period 2014 through 2021, inclusive, for the purpose of providing dedicated services to veterans of active United States military service and their dependents? The amount raised by the levy in the first year is estimated at $1,001,290.

Nelson Township: Nelson is asking for an additional 0.1068 mill ($0.1068 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of ten years, beginning in the year 2014 and continuing through the year 2023, both inclusive, to provide library services and support and maintenance of the Township library. It is estimated that a levy of the additional 0.1068 mill would provide revenue of $12,718 in the first calendar year. The revenue from this millage levy will be disbursed to the Township of Nelson for distribution to the Library Fund.

School districts:

Cedar Springs Public Schools: Is asking for a renewal of its operating millage. Homeowners will NOT see an increase in their taxes. This renewal is for the 18 mills currently established on non-homestead property. ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation.) It is not a new tax. A Yes vote allows for the continued quality education programs offered at Cedar Springs Public Schools, with no additional cost to homeowners. A no vote does not mean a reduction in homeowner taxes, but it would mean a loss of over $2 million used to maintain current educational programs and services. They are asking for a 10-year renewal.

Tri County Area Schools: Is asking for a renewal of its operating millage. Homeowners will NOT see an increase in their taxes. This renewal is for the 18 mills currently established on non-homestead property. ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation.) It is not a new tax. The first year would bring in $661,000. They are asking for a four-year renewal.

Other school districts asking for renewals in our area include Rockford, Greenville, and Montcalm Community College.

 

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Congress doesn’t like making hard choices


By Lee H. Hamilton

If you paid attention to the debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington, you may have noticed something interesting. For all the partisan division, there was bipartisan agreement throughout the debate on one point: It’s safest politically to defer hard choices to the last possible moment—and maybe avoid them altogether.
In the negotiations, Democrats and Republicans alike offered proposals that avoided the details of cutting budgets or increasing revenues. They suggested commissions and committees that would make the hard choices for them; they favored caps on spending, without saying how caps would be enforced; they floated the idea that the President could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, allowing Congress to avoid the entire problem; they favored voting on a balanced-budget amendment, which is a way of telling voters you’re for a balanced budget without actually being held accountable for the spending and taxing choices that produce one.
There’s nothing new here, of course. Politicians love to find creative ways to avoid actually resolving difficult policy questions. Once you make a choice, you inevitably alienate one or more constituencies. Most politicians don’t like to alienate people. So it is not surprising that they love to give you a process answer to questions seeking hard, substantive choices. Process approaches make it look like a member of Congress is taking action when, in fact, he or she is skirting the key questions: Do you cut defense spending? Rein in Medicare spending? How much of the taxpayers’ dollars should the government spend on education, environmental regulation, social welfare?
I don’t suggest that debating procedure, opting for further study, or preserving flexibility are always ill-advised. There’s a place for them. But as a voter, you have both the right and the responsibility to not let political leaders off the hook when they’re avoiding making a choice. If they tell you they fought for a line-item veto or a balanced-budget amendment, ask them specifically what they would cut.
Lawmaking should be about making hard choices. Don’t let our lawmakers avoid them.
Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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