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Monday, July 31, 2006

Michigan SBT Repeal Certified, But Not Likely To Make November Ballot

LANSING - Repeal SBT gathered enough signatures to put the repeal of the state's main business tax on the November ballot. But it is still not likely that voters will see the issue, as legislative Republicans still plan to approve the measure.

The Board of State Canvassers certified Friday that the ballot committee led by Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson collected 291,741 valid signatures among the 372,755 turned in. The voter initiative needed only 254,206 signatures to make the ballot.

Under the Constitution, the Legislature now has 40 days to approve the proposal, enacting it without opportunity for gubernatorial veto and without the need for voter approval. Both House and Senate leadership have said they plan such a vote.

Ari Adler, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R-Wyoming), said that chamber had not yet set a date for a vote on the measure, but he expected one in August.

Matt Resch, spokesperson for House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-Novi), said the speaker hoped to vote on the issue as soon as possible. Resch said that could mean next week if the language is ready.

Liz Boyd, press secretary for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said the governor still favors repealing the SBT, but also still wants to see the revenue replaced.

"Lawmakers should not vote to get rid of the SBT unless they also guarantee individual taxpayers won't end up footing the bill and there won't be cuts to education, health care and public safety," Boyd said.

And she said the governor had a proposal that would meet those requirements.

Adler said the Legislature was awaiting a proposal, due in December, from its special joint committee on the issue. Under the ballot proposal, the tax would be repealed on January 1.

In the unlikely case the Legislature does not approve the SBT repeal, there would be six issues on the November ballot. The others:

HJR Z : Puts the trust funds that fund the Department of Natural Resources into the Constitution.

Michigan Civil Rights Initiative: Constitutionally prohibits race- and gender-based affirmative action.

Referendum on PA 160, 2004: Seeks voter approval of the dove hunting season law.

SJR E : Constitutionally restricts property seizures under eminent domain to only those for public purposes.

Citizens for Education: Requires inflationary increases in education spending as proposed by the K-16 Coalition for Michigan's Future.

The Bureau of Elections is still reviewing petitions submitted by Stop OverSpending that would constitutionally limit state spending increases to inflation modified by population changes.

The board Friday set the challenge period to end 10 days after the bureau announces the sample signatures are available for review.

CHALLENGES: The board also approved a new policy that sets the 10-day review period for all constitutional amendments and initiative petitions. Elections Director Christopher Thomas said the policy would prevent instances where the board had to meet solely to set the challenge period for a petition.

BALLOT LANGUAGE: The language voters will see for the MCRI has already been set under a court order earlier this year, but the board set a rough schedule to approve language for the remaining issues by the end of August. The plan includes a meeting in mid-August to allow parties interested in the various issues to argue what they would do and what key points should be in the ballot language. The board at the end of the month would then review staff language and proposals by the various parties to approve the final language to appear on the ballot.

This story was provided by Gongwer News Service. To subscribe, click on Gongwer.Com

Author: Staff Writer
Source: Mitechnews.Com

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