Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Michigan’s Proposal 1 - NO

This will be the first in a series of election-related posts. We will focus on local issues only.

Proposal 1 (officially 04-1), which will be on the Michigan ballot November 2nd, 2004, is titled: "A proposal to amend the state constitution to require voter approval of any state gambling authorized by law and certain state lottery games."

This proposal would amend the state constitution to require both a statewide vote and a vote in the locality where a proposed casino is to be built. This not only requires a vote on casinos, but any form of gambling which is authorized by law after Jan 1, 2004. However, Indian casinos and casinos which already exist are exempted from this proposal.

So, basically, what does this do? It makes it nearly impossible to set up any new casinos (non-Indian) in Michigan. If, for instance, Muskegon decides that they want to authorize a casino to boost their local economy, they get to vote on it. Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, then the entire state gets to vote on it separately.

Detroit already has its monopoly on non-Indian casinos. That is why they are heavily supporting this proposal. It essentially gives the Detroit area a veto on any new casinos. It's nearly impossible to get anything passed in this state without the support of SE Michigan. In fact, the proposed amendment specifically exempts the three casinos in Detroit.

But on top of that, this takes the power out of the hands of the legislature to approve casinos or any new form of gambling in the state. Is that something we really want to put in our constitution?

Gambling and casinos are like any other business - they provide a service that people obviously want to take part in. Why should one particular form of business be inserted into the constitution as a special case requiring a vote? Should the entire state vote on every new Starbucks? How about every new car dealership?

So while this sounds like a good plan when they say, "let the local people decide," it is much more than that. It nearly eliminates the possibility of any new casinos or gaming of any kind in Michigan.

Both Governor Granholm and House Speaker Rick Johnson have jointly come out in opposition to Proposal 1. Even though we here at GR Pundit don't put much stock in our politicians - from either side of the aisle - it makes us take notice when a joint opposition is announced.

For these reasons, we at GR Pundit have decided to vote NO on Michigan's Proposal 1.

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