FYI-MICHIGAN PROPOSITION III, MICHIGAN ENERGY, MICHIGAN JOBS

I am going to tell you all you need to know about the opposition to “Proposition III.”  First I’m going to give you a number, $6,130,642.  That’s the amount of money donated to fight this proposition by just two entity’s.  One is DTE, and the other CMS, as of October 2,2012.   http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=12007

The stated purpose of this proposal is:  Proposed constitutional amendment to require utilities to obtain at least 25% of their electricity from clean renewable energy sources. http://michigan.gov/documents/sos/Bal_Prop_Status_2011_2_346859_7.pdf

This was posted on MyFoxDetroit.com, on October 8th:

PROPOSAL 12-3 A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY This proposal would:

Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.

Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.

Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.

Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.  http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19765522/michigan-ballot-proposal-12-3

Could this be less about wind, solar…, than we are being led to believe?  Could it be more about the limits on electric utility rate increases and the requirement that the legislature enact laws to encourage Michigan jobs and manufacturing?  Michigan utilities are already mandated to provide 10% of our energy using renewable sources by 2015, this was enacted during Governor Jennifer Granholm‘s administration, so what could be the problem with this new legislation?  Could it be that the Utilities are just trying to maintain their stranglehold on the citizens of Michigan?  Between them DTE and CMS have a veritable monopoly on providing power to Michigan citizens.  That monopoly gives them power over not just their customers but over their competition as well.  The power to control their complete business environment is what, I believe, they want to gain and/or maintain.

The opposition to this proposal is led by a group called “Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition.”  (CARE for Michigan)

Those opposed to this proposal have made claims that this proposal will cost consumers 12 billion dollars in increased costs. This is a claim that has been refuted by The Michigan Truth Squad:

http://michigantruthsquad.com/care-for-michigan-%E2%80%9Cplace%E2%80%9D-tv-ad-and-mailer/

http://michigantruthsquad.com/clean-affordable-renewable-energy-for-michigan-coalition-anti-proposal-3-facts-tv-ad/

They also claim that Proposal 3 will cost jobs in Michigan, but “Think Progress” has another take:

“In February, Michigan’s Public Service Commission issued a report showing that the state’s current renewable electricity standard requiring 10% penetration by 2015 had spurred already $100 million in economic activity. The report also showed a remarkable trend seen throughout the rest of the country: the cost of wind, solar, and hydro “is cheaper than a new coal-fired generation” in the state.

That changing equation is making renewable energy far more cost-effective for ratepayers. In nearby Iowa and Minnesota — states with the second and fourth most wind energy respectively — a dramatic increase in wind installations has had a minimal impact on rates. In fact, a recent study in Iowa showed that the state’s 20% wind penetration was keeping rates below the national average — while also supporting more than 3,000 manufacturing jobs in the state.”

It should be noted that:

“CARE’s campaign is publicly backed by the Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition, which includes DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, and the Detroit Regional Chamber. CARE’s Treasurer was recently named DTE Energy’s Chief Accounting Officer, and her address listed in a recent CARE legal filing is the same as DTE’s headquarters.

“The big utilities fighting this are large bureaucratic entities that resist change,” said Mark Fisk, a spokesman for the advocacy campaign in favor of the increase renewable energy targets. “What the utilities aren’t telling people is the cost of doing nothing.”

Although proponents estimate a new target will add roughly $1.25 to the typical utility bill in Michigan, CARE is trying to stoke fears by calling additional targets “reckless.”  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/26/506298/chamber-of-commerce-and-utility-groups-wage-campaign-against-renewable-energy-increase-in-michigan/

Please understand, I don’t have a problem with any private business controlling their environment, within legal limits.  But the business of providing a necessary service as a virtual monopoly (you cannot realistically call DTE and CMS competitors), using government tax subsidies, is not private.

According to another “Think Progress” post:

The companies that paid no tax for at least one year between 2008 and 2010 are the utilities Ameren, American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, CMS Energy, Consolidated Edison, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, FirstEnergy, Integrys Energy Group, NextEra Energy, NiSource, Pepco, PG&E, PPL, Progress Energy, Sempra Energy, Wisconsin Energy and Xcel Energy; and the fossil-fuel extraction and services companies Apache, Atmos Energy, Chesapeake Energy, El Paso, Exxon Mobil, FMC Technologies, Halliburton, Holly, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Peabody Energy, and Scana.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/11/07/363018/corporate-welfare-for-energy-companies-means-we-paid-24-billion-in-taxes-to-them/

Alternative energy, renewable energy, these things matter, but I don’t believe [that] is what this fight is about.  And no one begrudges the utility companies the “earned” tax subsidies that they receive.  (Particularly those subsidies that generate jobs for Michigan businesses)   Those subsidies, though, represent  an investment made by Michigan’s citizens.  This proposal is about the return on investment the citizens of Michigan receive.  This proposal gives the Michigan citizens a constitutionally mandated “legislative” seat a the table.

IF WE MUST PAY, THEN WE MUST HAVE A SAY!

FYI-MICHIGAN PROPOSITION 1, STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY

What is the “Stand Up For Democracy” proposal about?

The stated purpose of this proposal is:  Petition seeks to invoke the right of referendum for the emergency financial manager law, 2011 PA  4.

Let’s break this proposal down into two parts.

First, the “right of referendum.”

This is from State of Michigan Constitution, Article II, Section 9:

Initiative and referendum; limitations; appropriations; petitions.

  • The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative, and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature, called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may enact under this constitution.  The power of referendum does not extend to acts making appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds and must be invoked in the manner prescribed by law within 90 days following the final adjournment of the legislative session at which the law was enacted. To invoke the initiative or referendum, petitions signed by a number of registered electors, not less than eight percent for initiative and five percent for referendum of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected shall be required.

Referendum, approval.

  • No law as to which the power of referendum properly has been invoked shall be effective thereafter unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the next general election.

Initiative; duty of legislature, referendum.

  • Any law proposed by initiative petition shall be either enacted or rejected by the legislature without change or amendment within 40 session days from the time such petition is received by the legislature. If any law proposed by such petition shall be enacted by the legislature it shall be subject to referendum, as hereinafter provided.

Legislative rejection of initiated measure; different measure; submission to people.

  • If the law so proposed is not enacted by the legislature within the 40 days, the state officer authorized by law shall submit such proposed law to the people for approval or rejection at the next general election. The legislature may reject any measure so proposed by initiative petition and propose a different measure upon the same subject by a yea and nay vote upon separate
  • roll calls, and in such event both measures shall be submitted by such state officer to the electors for approval or rejection at the next general election.

Initiative or referendum law; effective date, veto, amendment and repeal.

  • Any law submitted to the people by either initiative or referendum petition and approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon at any election shall take effect 10 days after the date of the official declaration of the vote. No law initiated or adopted by the people shall be subject to the veto power of the governor, and no law adopted by the people at the polls under the initiative
  • provisions of this section shall be amended or repealed, except by a vote of the electors unless otherwise provided in the initiative measure or by three-fourths of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature. Laws approved by the people under the referendum provision of this section may be amended by the legislature at any subsequent session thereof.
  • If two or more measures approved by the electors at the same election conflict, that receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.

Legislative implementation.

  • The legislature shall implement the provisions of this section.

Now this may all seem a bit complicated, but, what “Article II, Section 9” is saying is that we “do” have a voice.  We have used that voice, by petition, to let them, Governor Snyder and the Legislature, know that what they have done is unacceptable.  We the people “do not” have to just sit back and accept what the “state” is dishing out.

Second, “The Emergency Financial Manager Law.”

They have used, what was a well intended law initiated under Governor James Blanchard, to strip away the power of the vote, of the citizens, throughout the state.   It seems, coincidently, that this law is being implemented primarily in urban areas, Detroit (including Ecorse, Inkster, and Pontiac), Flint, Benton Harbor, all areas with predominately minority populations, and minority leadership and administrations.  It began with takeovers of school systems, and has led to complete takeovers of local governments, effectively suppressing the power of the vote, and the will of the electorate in these areas.

There is an article about this problem, written by Chris Savage on “The Nation” website entitle “The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers,” that describes this situation very well.  Find it at:  http://www.thenation.com/article/166297/scandal-michigans-emergency-managers

It is important to note “this” paragraph in the article:

GOP lawmakers are discussing replacement legislation, with Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger warning about “the chaos that could ensue if the emergency manager law is suspended.” Since Michigan law prevents referendums on appropriations bills, PA 4 opponents fear that any such law will contain an appropriation to make it “referendum proof,” a tactic already used by the state GOP this year.”

These “tactics” are the reason that voting the complete ballot is important.

The Republicans in the U.S. Congress have reduced or eliminated “block grants” to the states.  States have refused, in some instances, to accept “Recovery Act” (stimulus) funds.  State Legislatures have reduced “revenue sharing” to cities, in their states.  They have cut billions of dollars from public schools, and public services, forcing them to drastically cut services or go bankrupt.  Then, to top it all off, they send in these Emergency Managers with the power to ignore or fire locally elected officials, cancel union contracts, layoff employees, outsource civil service jobs, usually to companies paying low wages, low or no benefits, and that have no union rights.

I once heard Rev. Jesse Jackson say, “this is like crippling a man, and then penalizing him for limping.”

Knowledge is the weapon we must use to fight this “electoral based oppression.”    The information is out there.  Read everything you can, talk to everyone you know, spread the word that we can go on the offensive, we must go on the offensive to protect our future.

Learn, and then VOTE!

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

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