Michigan voters face several issues in the November 2, 2010 election. There are two state proposals that could have potentially far-reaching ramifications. Proposal 10-1 decides whether a convention should be called to review Michigan’s constitution. This is the wording on the ballot for Proposal 10-1:
PROPOSAL TO CONVENE A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF DRAFTING A GENERAL REVISION OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION
Shall a convention of elected delegates be convened in 2011 to draft a general revision of the State Constitution for presentation to the state’s voters for their approval or rejection?
Like so many proposals, the initial idea of reviewing Michigan’s state constitution doesn’t sound like a bad…until I start doing the math. The money math that is. How much is it going to cost taxpayers? My good Dutch grandmother was a staunch Republican (‘died in the wool’ as she liked to call herself). I have the soul of a democrat. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans won’t spend money when they should and democrats spend it too quickly. So while I don’t mind spending money if necessary, I learned from Grandma to always ask the cost before going in to something.
I did some research. Michigan voters have been asked twice, once in 1978 and again in 1994, to convene a body of elected delegates to review Michigan’s constitution. In both cases the measure failed. In 1978 we were in the midst of the worst recession the country had ever known. Even in 1994 when the financial waters were cooler, voters still weren’t ready to spend an unspecified amount of money on what would doubtless be an expensive project.
The current version of the constitution was ratified in 1963. That’s not that old. I’m just a year younger than the constitution. Since then Michigan voters have ratified 31 amendments. Now in 2010, voters will be asked again whether a review of the constitution is something they want to finance. I’m sure that there are there are out-dated laws in the constitution. And I’m sure that there are enough changes in our state since 1963, to warrant a review.
However, this rather nebulous Proposition 10-1 says nothing about the cost. Currently in Ottawa County there is a proposition to raise mileage to pay for fire fighter services in Olive township. No one likes mileages. They cost money. But I think that if we struggle to pass school public service mileage elections then to convene a large, potentially costly constitutional review committee is not a good idea. I’m going to go with my Grandmother on this one. And she would have voted no. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, she would have said.