LANSING - Backers of a drive to move up the repeal of the Single Business Tax will have collected 200,000 signatures sometime this week, or about two-thirds of the number they hope to submit to the state by May 31, Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson said Monday.
But Patterson said the drive is running thin on cash and will also this week appeal to corporations for more contributions to help finish the effort.
"At first we did very well, raising about $600,000-$700,000, but people thought that was all we needed," he said. "In burning $65,000 a week, we're dangerously close to being out of cash."
He said the pace of collecting signatures is on the upswing, likely due to more petition gatherers being used by the California-based firm proponents of the repeal hired for the petition drive, and those additional workers mean higher costs.
The group headed by Mr. Patterson, Repeal the Single Business Tax, must collect 254,206 valid signatures in order to put the issue before the Legislature. The proposed initiated law would repeal the SBT as of December 31, 2007, two years earlier than now set by law.
Patterson said the goal is still to complete the job of collecting 350,000 signatures by May 31, which is the state-set deadline to submit petitions for initiated laws if they are to have a chance of appearing on the November ballot. He said petition-gathering could even extend for a short time - perhaps a couple of days - beyond that since the intent is to have the initiated law approved by the Legislature rather than appear on the ballot.
Initiated laws passed by the Legislature are enacted without gubernatorial approval, thereby avoiding the impasse that occurred when Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed the repeal bill the Legislature passed earlier this year.
"We're up against a serious time line in getting signatures collected, checked for validity and still have time for the 40 days for the Legislature to approve it," he said. "But I'm very comfortable that with money we can reach our goal by May 31."
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