Ballot Proposal 5: Limit enactment of new taxes by state government

Proposal 2012-05 would amend the Michigan Constitution to prohibit any increase in state taxes without a “supermajority” vote in both chambers or a statewide vote.

In general, legislation is passed by a simple majority vote in either the state House of Representatives or state Senate. A simple majority is an affirmative vote by more than one-half of the members of the legislative chamber. The other option to pass legislation at the state level is through what is commonly called a “supermajority” vote.  

A supermajority is an affirmative vote by either two-thirds or three-quarters of the members in either the House or Senate. There are a number of supermajority vote requirements in the Michigan Constitution currently, such as to raise school operating ad valorem property taxes, to allow a law to take effect immediately or to override an executive veto.

Proposal 12-05 would prohibit the passage of any new taxes or additional taxes or the expansion of the tax base by the state without a two-thirds “supermajority” vote in both the House and Senate or by a statewide vote held in November. 

Michigan State University Extension has prepared a bulletin that provides Michigan residents with non-partisan, objective information about all of the statewide ballot proposals. Download the free bulletin, GE49 “Statewide Ballot Proposals 2012” from the MSU Extension Bookstore.

The proposal language infers that this would apply only to state taxes, such as income tax, sales tax, corporate income tax and others, not to taxes at the local level.  Proposal 5 would not apply to state fees or charges, such as driver’s license, recreation, or the elimination of tax credits, including homestead tax credits or earned income tax credits.

Nine other states have supermajority vote requirements for tax increases, including California, Colorado and Mississippi.

This proposal would:

  • Require a two-thirds affirmative vote of both the state Senate and state House or a statewide vote of Michigan voters at a November election to be able to levy new or additional taxes or expand the base of taxation or increasing the rate of taxation
  • Allow a simple majority vote to reduce tax rates, eliminate taxes, reduce the tax base or authorize local taxes

A “Yes” vote would add the supermajority requirement for any proposed state tax increases to the constitution.

A “No” vote would leave any changes to state taxes as a simple majority vote by the legislature. It would not impact any current supermajority vote requirements.  

For more information on this and the other proposals, read Michigan State University Extension’s bulletin, Statewide Ballot Proposals 2012, to learn more about the issue and supporting and opposing arguments for this and the other issues on the November ballot.

Additional information also can be obtained from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

You can also read more MSU Extension News articles on: Proposal 1, Proposal 2, Proposal 3, Proposal 4 and Proposal 6.

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