Let the people vote! A fundamental belief of Michigan political philosophy is that the people are supreme.
Indeed, Article 1, Sec. 1, of the Michigan Constitution begins, “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.”
Support for the Constitution is strong in Livingston County. The Gadsen Center, for example, has both the Michigan and the U.S. Constitution on its website and encourages people to know their rights under the documents.
One of those rights under the Michigan Constitution is the right of citizens to vote on measures put before them by local governments.
I was surprised, therefore, to learn that Livingston County Republicans are whipping their supporters into opposing a vote before the Livingston County Commission’s General Government subcommittee on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in the commission’s board room at 304 E. Grand River Ave., Howell.
The measure would do nothing more than set up a referendum on Aug. 4 to let voters decide whether to support more transportation options for Livingston County. It schedules a vote of the public on a 0.23 millage to pay for things such as more bus service by LETS.
Support for the proposal has been building for a long time. The Livingston County Transportation Coalition developed a master plan for transportation in the county after months of public input. The county commission itself adopted the master plan. It also has begun to implement pieces of it as funding allowed. And citizens have been coming to county commission meetings on a regular basis to speak in favor of full implementation of the plan so that people can get to their jobs, schools, and doctor’s appointments.
Now the General Government subcommittee has a resolution before it to schedule a public vote on a small millage that would fully implement the master plan. The 0.23 millage would cost the owner of the average home in Livingston County about as much as a cup of coffee each month.
Under pressure from the local Republican Party, Republicans seem to be backing away from the support they have shown for the transportation master plan for fear they will be seen as voting for a tax increase.
They’re not. The resolution only lets the people vote. The people, not the commissioners, will decide the fate of the millage.
For people who claim to love the Michigan Constitution, what could be wrong with that?
County commissioners should live up to their principles Monday night and let the people vote.