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The Fair Tax Michigan campaign sent a letter Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield asking for an online petition signature option this year.
“In the face of this public health pandemic, our government and communities are adjusting the way we do things for the safety of all of us; making petition signing digitally accessible can and should be one of those adjustments,” according to the letter. It asks for a response no later than Monday.
Campaign manager Eli Isaguirre said the Republican leaders had not yet responded as of early Friday afternoon. He said organizers are having “daily conversations with partners on what our next steps are.”
Fair Tax Michigan has proposed a statewide graduated income tax in lieu of the current 4.25 percent flat tax. Organizers have said 95 percent of residents would see a tax decrease under the plan, which would direct revenue specifically to schools and road and water infrastructure. The proposal as drafted is awaiting approval by the Board of State Canvassers.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is strongly opposed to the move, telling MiBiz recently it’s preparing for “war” should a signature-gathering process start and potentially make the ballot.
For now, the future of the Fair Tax Michigan proposal is unclear. Michigan Advance reported this week that liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan is opposed to allowing the Republican-held state Legislature to amend the signature-gathering process.
Isaguirre responded: “We are calling on the legislature and everyone to put partisanship aside and do the right thing.”
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement that the coronavirus epidemic has highlighted a need to update the signature-collecting process.
“At this time it is critical that we continue to carry out our democracy, and therefore need a safe way to determine if there is sufficient support for ballot initiatives. The mechanism should not make it so easy that initiatives are on the ballot that would not have been otherwise, nor should it raise the bar higher than it would have been,” Benson said. “We have needed to modernize this process for some time, and the current circumstances make that all the more clear.”