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Area Chambers Oppose Proposal 1

The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce and Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce have joined their partners in the Northern Michigan Regional Chamber Alliance to oppose Proposal 1, a ballot issue on the statewide November 2nd ballot.

Proposal 1 asks voters if Michigan should convene a constitutional convention for the purpose of drafting a general revision of the state constitution. "We say no," said Carlin Smith, President of the Petoskey chamber. "And we hope voters will say no when they go to the polls next week," he added.

Smith says the chambers are opposed to the constitutional convention issue for three primary reasons. The first reason is the cost which is estimated to be at least $45-million. "This is extra money the state doesn't need to be spending right now," Smith said. A second reason the chambers cited is the political divisiveness in Lansing right now. Smith says the chambers fear a constitutional convention will be led by politically-charged special interest groups making it challenging to rach consensus on many issues.

The last reason the chamber alliance states is the concern that economic development will be difficult to advance during the estimated two years it will take to draft a new Michigan constitution. "Businesses will be reluctant to move to Michigan, or invest in Michigan, when there will be uncertainty about the future of Michigan's tax structure," Smith noted. He says the legislature will essentially be on pause for two years while they wait for a new constitution.

Smith says the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance concedes that some changes are needed in Michigan's constitution, but those should be pursued through amendments, not a convention.

The Michigan Chamber of Commer is also opposed to Proposal 1 and states that a variety of groups around Michigan have signed on in opposition. Examples include the Michigan Education Association, the Michigan State AFL-CIO, the Michigan Catholic Conference, the Michigan Retailers Association, and the Michigan Manufacturing Association to name just a few.

Proposal 1 is on the 2010 state ballot because of the constitution itself. The constitution states that Michigan voters will automatically be asked every 16-years whether or not they should hold a new constitutional convention. Information from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce states that the last time it appeared on the ballot was 1994 when it was defeated by voters by at 72% to 28% margin. The last constitutional created a new Michigan constitution that was approved by voters in 1963. Since 1963, 31 amendments have been adopted and 37 proposed amendments rejected.

The Northern Michigan Regional Chamber Alliance is a partnership of six chambers of commerce in the region: Alpena, Benzie County, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Traverse City. Together, these chambers represent around 5,500 members-businesses.

Petoskey Chamber Launches New Website

Regarding CertifiChecks

A MESSAGE FROM CHAMBER PRESIDENT CARLIN SMITH
 
Re:  CertifiChecks
 
Dear Chamber Members,
 
On Friday, Feb. 27th we learned that CertifiChecks, Inc. had ceased operations the day before.  The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) has worked with CertifiChecks since 2001 to provide a gift certificate program that promotes local spending.  The shut down of that business came as a complete surprise to all of us.
 
As we reported to you late Friday, CertifiChecks tells us that you should not deposit these gift certificates as they will be returned.  They’ve asked merchants to remove all door and register decals promoting the program and to no longer accept these CertifiChecks.  At this time, the PRCC continues to urge you to heed this advice.
 
We know that your customers will be frustrated with this situation and will be asking you for advice.  The best advice is to tell them to hang on to the certificates until we learn all of our options.  If they wish for more immediate action, the company’s web site says unredeemed CertifiChecks may be submitted for potential reimbursement to:
CertifiChecks, Inc.
Attn: Redemption Dept.
P.O. Box 13603
Dayton, OH  45413
 
The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with other chambers who have had the CertifiChecks program and with two associations of which we are active: the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.  There are around 20-chambers in Michigan who have been clients of CertifiChecks, and countless others around the country.  We know that CertifiChecks is in the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but attempts to reach the company and its bank have not been successful.  Regulatory agencies have been contacted in both Ohio and Michigan.  Locally, I have consulted with our chamber’s attorney and a member of the chamber’s Executive Committee and have kept the Board of Directors apprised of the situation.
 
It could be a week or two before we have a definitive course of action from the chamber.  We will be deliberate and will continue to investigate our options to see if a solution might exist.   All of us at the chamber appreciate your patience during this unfortunate situation.
 
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Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce
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