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Re: E-M:/ Vote NO on Proposal 1?
Enviro-Mich message from "April Lynn Bennett" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In response to Jack Smiley’s posting regarding Proposal 1, he “hit the
nail on the head” with his first statement “ Proposal 1 has no organized
opposition and it probably seems like a no-brainer to most people”…. It
is true that Proposal 1 has no organized opposition and it is also true that
this should be a no-brainer for all of us who treasure our access to
Michigan’s natural wonders. I hope that you will join me in voting YES on
In regards to the questions he poised further in his comments:
Questions: Under present state law, are 2% of all sales taxes and gas taxes
from the sale of gasoline deposited into such a fund: Do 80% of those funds
presently go into the waterways program and 14% in to the snowmobile
programs Is is this a new set aside to benefit these programs?
Answer No this is not a new set aside, but a very important victory that
was a real battle in the legislature in the 80’s. The argument was
whether road construction and maintenance should receive all of the gas tax
or should we recognize the fuel that is being consumed by boats, lawnmowers,
snowmobiles and other recreation users. Because of this agreement we were
able to create the Recreation Improvement Fund which provides funds for
trail construction and maintenance and the state forest recreation system.
Here is the language from the Recreation Improvement Fund
(2) Of the total fund, not less than 80% shall be credited to the Michigan
state waterways fund, not less than 14% to the recreational snowmobile trail
improvement fund, and the remaining balance, if any, shall be distributed to
recreational projects. Of the remaining balance credited to recreational
projects in a fiscal year, not less than 25% of any funds designated for
projects intended for off-road vehicles shall be expended on projects to
repair damages as a result of pollution, impairment, or destruction of air,
water, or other natural resources, or the public trust in air, water, or
other natural resources, as a result of the use of off-road vehicles.
Statement: I for one, do not want 94% of a milti-million dollar fund
cemeted into the Constitution….
Response: Mr. Smiley has the right to vote however he wants. But voting no
on Proposal One opens the door for continued raids on the only funds that
are available to provide access to Michigan’s great natural resources.
Voting no does not change the allocation of dollars it just leaves them
vulnerable. I should also point out that it is not “million of our tax
dollars,” these funds are only comprised only of user or license fees
and a percent of the gas tax that represents the portion of gas consumed by
boats, snowmobiles, orv and other recreational uses. Mr. Smiley may not
like the gas tax being used for snowmobile trails, boating access sites and
construction of other recreational trails, but his alternative is to have it
all go into road building and maintenance not for natural resources
The recreational infrastructure of this state is vital to our economy and
our quality of life. Our state parks is the only system in the county being
totally supported by user fees, our wildlife and fisheries management
programs receive no general tax support, likewise public access sites,
trails and snowmobile program also do not receive general fund support.
From where I sit, I cannot believe that all of us who treasure Michigan’s
natural resources would not stick together and support Proposal 1.
Thank you for providing the link to the relevant state statute. At least it
appears that the language of Proposal 1 is in line with existing state law.
However, to embed those formulas into the Constitution--to ensure that there is
little chance of using those tax dollars more effectively or for
conservation--seems questionable at best.
What I found interesting in the original state law was that the Legislature
made a legislative finding that 2% of all gasoline sold in the state was used
for watercraft, snowmobiles and registered off-road vehicles. I haven't seen
the study upon which that estimate was likely based, but I would be interested
to know if the Department of Transportation has done any recent studies in
that regard--especially since the original study was done prior to 1992*(*see
below). From my perspective from driving in the volumes of traffic in southeast
Michigan, I would think that 2% might be on the high side.
I understand that there is a real temptation to put certain aspects of
Michigan government into the State Constitution--but the Constitution should not
become a reconstituted version of Michigan Compiled Laws.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
324.71103 Legislative finding; joint report.
(1) The legislature finds that 2.0% of all of the gasoline sold in this state
for consumption in internal combustion engines is used to generate power for
the operation or propulsion of vessels on the waterways of this state, of
off-road vehicles, and of snowmobiles.
(2) The department and the state transportation department shall prepare a
joint report to the legislature by January 1, 1992, providing their estimate of
actual gasoline and diesel fuel usage based on any data collected from March
30, 1988 to January 1, 1991 and their observation of the historical trends of
gasoline and diesel fuel usage in this state for the following categories:
(a) Off-road vehicles.
History: Add. 1995, Act 58, Imd. Eff. May 24, 1995
Popular Name: Act 451
Resource Policy Assistant
Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Citizens Supporting Proposal 06-1
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