Judy Crockett

Judy Crockett
Judy Crockett

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

League of Women Voters Position on Proposals

League Opposes Ballot Proposals 2 and 5
The League of Women Voters (LWV) has taken positions opposing both
Proposal 06-2, the anti-affirmative action proposal, and Proposal 06-5,
known as the "K-16" school funding proposal. Although the LWV never
supports or opposes candidates for elected office, it does take
positions on selected public policy issues.

Proposal 06-2: The LWV continues to support affirmative action. It has
become clear that the term "affirmative action" is widely
misunderstood. It is NOT the selection of an unqualified female or
minority over other candidates who are qualified. In fact, federal
regulations explicitly prohibit that. Affirmative action addresses this
question: Who gets the job (contract, placement) among a number of
qualified candidates when there are more QUALIFIED applicants than
positions? Affirmative action is about expanding options for women and
minorities; it is about inclusion, not exclusion. It is a tool to
promote fair decision-making, not about unfair preferences.

Affirmative action programs counteract continuing injustice caused by
discrimination in education, hiring and contracting. Will such
injustice disappear if affirmative action disappears? No, rather, one
way of addressing inequality will be lost. The LWV believes that
Proposal 2 supporters are not acting in the best interests of
Michigan's citizens. We urge a NO vote on Proposal 06-2.

Proposal 6-05: The League of Women Voters has traditionally supported
adequate funding for education and recognizes the serious financial
problems faced by our public education system. However, LWVMI
believes that Proposal 5 is not the appropriate solution.

LWV opposition to Proposal 5 is based primarily on the premise that
earmarking revenues or prioritizing expenses in the state's
constitution for specific purposes is unwise. The League opposed a
similar proposal in 2002 that would have earmarked the tobacco
settlement revenue for health care programs. Senate Fiscal Agency
analysis shows that if this proposal passes, there would be an
immediate mandated increase to the overall state education budget of
$566 million. The recent state budget included an increase to schools
without this proposal. The question is whether school funding levels
should remain within the control of the Legislature as they adopt the
state budget from year to year, or whether school funding increases
should be taken out of their control.

LWV is not abandoning support and advocacy for adequate funding and
better schools. However, the mandated increase will mean less money
for everything else unless the Legislature raises taxes. Either state
money will be shifted from non-mandated school programs (such as adult
education, school readiness or middle school math grants), or other
areas the state supports such as social services and public safety will
be cut, or perhaps both will be required for the Legislature to balance
the state budget.

Sixty-eight percent of the projected first year increase would be a new
mandated state funding of the teacher retirement system (MPSERS). The
mandate in what the state will be obligated to pay to the MPSERS will
make that growing expense a priority over other state budget items for
the foreseeable future. Adequate support for schools and state budget
priorities are issues that must continually be addressed. Creating
mandates without creating mandated revenue is not fiscally
responsible. The League urges citizens to vote NO on Proposal 6-05.


Michigan League For Human Services

Candidate Questions 2006

1. Medicaid is a state/federal partnership that provides health care
services to 1.5 million persons
in Michigan, 1.1 million of whom receive no cash benefits from the
state, they simply need
health care coverage. The Medicaid program has become the health care
program for low-
income families, disabled persons, and the elderly who do not have
access to, or cannot afford
private medical care coverage. Polls find strong support for the
program time and time again.
Would you be willing to advocate for resources, and if so, what
specific actions would you take
to maintain and strengthen this critical program.

2. There are currently between 800,000 and 1.1 million uninsured
persons in this state. Families
USA, in 2005, issued a report that indicates that employers in Michigan
pay $274/individual
and $730/family in increased premiums to offset the cost ofhealthcare
for the uninsured. Do
you believe it is in Michigan's best interest to pursue programs that
reduce the number of
uninsured in the state and reduce the added burden on businesses? Would
you actively support
the Governor's proposed Michigan First Healthcare Plan to reduce the
number of uninsured
people in Michigan? Specify why or why not. What other approach(es)
would you take to
reduce the number of uninsured in Michigan?

3. Between 2000 and 2004, child poverty in Michigan escalated by 29
percent, according to the
latest national Kids Count report. Roughly one of every five children
in the state lives in a
family with income below the poverty line - under $20,000 for a family
of four. Please outline
at least three strategies you would recommend to respond to the
increase and level of child
- poverty in Michigan.

4. Every day three babies die in Michigan. In the latest Kids Count
national report, Michigan
ranked 43rd among the 50 states with one of the ten highest infant
mortality rates in the country.
Recognizing the seriousness of this situation, please outline two
appropriate policy responses to
improve the state's infant mortality rate.

5. The rate of children confirmed as victims of abuse or neglect rose
by 43 percent in Michigan
between 1995 and 2004, according to the Kids Count in Michigan data
book. Most child
victims suffer from neglect rather than abuse. What role should the
state play in preventing
child abuse or neglect? What three policy options would you promote to
address prevention?

6. Many children in Michigan do not have access to quality early
childhood education programs
even though research has resoundingly demonstrated the critical and
long-term impact of the
environment and relationships in a child's early years. In some states
universal preschool
programs for four-year-olds have been instituted. What are some of the
strategies you would
use to improve access to quality early childhood programs for all

7. Because the value of the federal minimum wage has eroded
substantially over the past ten
years, the Michigan legislature recently voted to raise Michigan's
minimum wage. Please
explain your philosophy on minimum wage. How often should it be
increased in order to keep
pace with inflation? Should Michigan enact a higher minimum wage when
the federal one
becomes inadequate? If you do not believe in minimum wage at all, what
else can the state do
to ensure that workers are paid adequately for their work?

8. The federal earned income tax credit has been shown to be an
effective poverty-fighting tool,
allowing low-income Michigan residents to pay less in federal taxes and
giving a boost to local
economies. Yet many of those same Michigan workers pay far more in
state taxes than do low-
income workers in many other stales. Would you support a state earned
income tax credit for
Michigan's low-income workers, even if it means foregoing some tax cuts
for wealthy
Michigan residents?

9. Most people agree that the best way for individuals and families to
escape poverty is by having
a job that pays them enough to meet their needs. Yet many full-time
workers remain in poverty
because they do not have the skills necessary to progress to higher
paying employment. Given
that skill-building is a key to leaving poverty, what strategies would
you use to make it easier
for welfare recipients to access training that would give them
marketable skills? In what
situations should welfare recipients be allowed to substitute such
training for work?

10. Many poor and low-income workers live far from where they work, and
lack of adequate
transportation makes it difficult from many of them to get and keep a
job. This is the case in
many rural areas, and also in the city of Detroit. Please discuss
specific ways you would
address this problem.

11. As you know, there is an array of state-funded public services for
Michigan's low-income and
poor families. These services provide an important safety net for such
families; they have
dramatically improved outcomes for children and have even saved lives.
When state revenues
are low, as they are now, would you be willing to cut the funding for
any social services
programs in order to balance the budget? If so, which program funds
would you cut, and by
how much?

12. The Headlee amendment to Michigan's constitution limits state
revenues to no more than 9.5
percent of personal income. The proposed Stop OverSpending (SOS)
amendment, if adopted, would effectively replace the Headlee revenue
limit with a spending
cap starting at approximately 7.5 percent of personal income
(approximately $5 billion below
the Headlee cap), and over time, given the inflation plus population
growth limit, would assure
that the percentage of personal income supporting state services
continued to decline.
Do you support the Stop OverSpending initiative and if so, what
programs would you cut to
offset rapidly increasing health care costs and other public service
costs associated with an
aging population that will clearly outstrip the inflation plus
population growth limit that would
be established under SOS?

PKc:sfai\Candidates Questions 2006.doc/am

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