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Michigan Voters Smash Tax Hike Referendum

Posted on May 9, 2015

Proposal 1 suffered the worst defeat Tuesday of any Michigan ballot measure since the current Constitution was adopted more than a half-century ago, as 80 percent of voters rejected the sales tax increase and road funding plan. . . .

This year’s thumping occurred even though the measure was backed by Gov. Rick Snyder as well as the Republican and Democratic legislative leaders from last year’s Michigan House and Senate. . . .

The ballot proposal, which lawmakers slapped together a week before Christmas, got off to a rough start in early January when a team of political consultants quit the fledgling campaign over differences in strategy with Snyder’s office.

While the “yes” campaign was trying to regroup, Saginaw County businessman Paul Mitchell set up an opposition group and began lambasting the proposal for directing $700 million to areas unrelated to repairing roads, such as education, cities, public transit and an expanded tax break for the working poor.

Mitchell called the non-road spending a “a $700 million toll to special interests,” defining the issue before the “yes” campaign could respond on the airwaves. . . .

The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, which represents road builders, poured more than $5.4 million of its members’ money into the Safe Roads Yes campaign.

“We don’t see this as a failure,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of MITA. “We see this as one step that helped us to clarify the message.”

(For more on this clobbering, click the link.)

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