Archived PRCC News
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.