2010 Democratic State Convention
Resolution Supporting Strengthening Michigan Through Strong Public Transit
WHEREAS, national studies such as “Public Transportation and the Nation’s Economy,” by Cambridge Systematics Inc. (1999) show that every dollar invested in improved public transit generates between $4 – $9 in local economic activity; and
WHEREAS, national studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that every $1 billion spent on transit creates and maintains over 47,000 permanent jobs; and
WHEREAS, air service to small communities around Michigan has been completely eliminated or severely reduced and made cost prohibitive; and
WHEREAS, population demographics indicate an increasing proportion of seniors, who face mobility difficulties; and
WHEREAS, studies show that in our urban centers, one-third of households do not have private transportation, placing an economic hardship on the demobilized; and
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan is eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal monies for transit and has passed legislation to enable regions in the state to take advantage of this funding; and
WHEREAS, the Detroit metropolitan area is the largest urban area in population or size without a regional public transit system; and
WHEREAS, global climate change is now recognized by over 300 mayors signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Change Protection Agreement, calling for cities, states, and the federal government to take actions to reduce emissions contributing to global warming; and
WHEREAS, America’s dependence on foreign oil is a daunting national security issue and spiraling oil costs have crippled the American economy and threatened the economic stability of American families.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Michigan must invest in public transit to continue to be a world leader in transportation and attract the companies that will create the next economy; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature and Governor shall support and promote new public transit investments within and between our cities, such as the Kent County streetcar, the Washtenaw-Wayne County regional commuter rail and the proposed Woodward Avenue rail project; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that, independent of the above public transit plan, the State Legislature and Governor shall seek alternative means of obtaining sufficient funding for highways and mass transit development.
Resolution Supporting Non-Motorized Transportation Lanes
WHEREAS, it is inevitable that the supply of fossil fuels will eventually become scarcer and thus non-affordable to an increasing majority of Michigan residents and that non-motorized forms of transportation present a viable alternative to vehicles that rely on fossil fuels.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) include in its current and future plans, the construction and maintenance of separate and specific non-motorized traffic lanes as additions to all paved state and federal highways in the state.
Resolution Supporting Expanding The Bottle Deposit Law
WHEREAS, since 1976, when Michigan passed the Bottle Deposit Law, 97% of all pop and beer containers are returned to stores for recycling; and
WHEREAS, since the Bottle Deposit Law was passed, more bottled water and juices are sold as refreshments; and
WHEREAS, approximately 20% of water bottles are presently recycled; and
WHEREAS, annually, 1.1 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills or as litter; and
WHEREAS, the popularity of bottled water and other non-carbonated drinks has exploded in recent years; and
WHEREAS, reducing the number of bottles that are thrown away will reduce the amount spent by the state to clean up along roadsides; and
WHEREAS, increasing the amount of recycled commodities will provide job opportunities.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports efforts to expand the Bottle Deposit Law to include all bottled and canned drinks; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that revenue from the Bottle Deposit law be used to fund curbside recycling.
Resolution Supporting Increased Maintenance And Inspection Of Crude Oil Pipelines
WHEREAS, on Monday, July 26, 2010, Enbridge Energy Partners LLP reported the burst of a 30-inch pipeline near Marshall, spilling over 800,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River; and
WHEREAS, the Enbridge Talmadge Creek oil spill occurring in an “environmentally sensitive area”, has disrupted wildlife habitats, impacted public health, diminished real property values, and deleteriously diminished the quality of life for tens of thousands of Calhoun County and Kalamazoo County residents; and
WHEREAS, as recently as spring, 2010, the NTSB’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA’s) Office of Pipeline Safety issued a citation to Enbridge for the purpose of ensuring Enbridge’s renovation of pipeline 6B, that one which ultimately failed in the Kalamazoo River’s watershed; and
WHEREAS, Enbridge has failed to maintain other portions of this pipeline, and recently received a PHMSA fine of $2.8 million for its failure to maintain a portion of the pipeline in Minnesota in 2007; and
WHEREAS, the burst of the pipeline at Talmadge Creek, Michigan demonstrates the need to maintain infrastructure, and the necessity of adequate funding for regulators to ensure integrity of such infrastructure.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Michigan Democratic Party encourages the Michigan and U.S. Governments to more vigorously monitor and regulate the integrity of infrastructure, especially pipelines, and more adequately staff the regulating agencies ensuring the maintenance of such infrastructure; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all pipelines be certified by appropriate state and federal authorities as absent any likelihood of leakage; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the cost of governmental regulation and inspection be financed by pipeline operators/owners and not transferred to the public.
Resolution Supporting The Green Collar Job Sector In Michigan
WHEREAS, America’s reliance on foreign fossil fuel is a daunting national security issue and a threat to our environment that requires innovative, forward-thinking solutions, including the development of alternative energy resources; and
WHEREAS, Michigan is uniquely positioned to be a major player in the alternative energy industry because of its strong wind maps; proximity to the Great Lakes and potential water-powered energy sources; abundance of woods, the waste product of which can be converted into cellulose ethanol; manufacturing workforce and long history as a global automotive industry research and development hub; and
WHEREAS, the federal government has acknowledged Michigan’s importance as a green collar job incubator by awarding $1.35 billion in U.S. Department of Energy grants for advanced battery and electric vehicle research and development to state-based firms. This burgeoning industry is projected to create 62,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. Michigan’s advanced battery tax credits have been a critical factor in the state’s positioning as the advanced battery capital of the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly urge the next Michigan Governor and the State Legislature to continue Governor Granholm’s efforts to expand the green collar job sector in Michigan.
Resolution Supporting Stopping The Asian Carp
WHEREAS, the Great Lakes are one of the great repositories of freshwater in the world; and
WHEREAS, the Great Lakes play a major role in the economies of the surrounding states; and
WHEREAS, millions depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, and millions more look to the Great Lakes for recreation, tourism and food; and
WHEREAS, the Great Lake provide the greatest sport fishing in the would; and
WHEREAS, the Great Lakes are under great stress from environmental factors, human produced pollution and the increasing threat of an Asian Carp invasion; and
WHEREAS, the United States Army Corp of Engineers has failed in their responsibility to the people by permitting the increased threat of an Asian Carp invasion in the Great Lakes; and
WHEREAS, an Asian Carp invasion will wreak havoc on the Great Lakes $7 billion fishing industry, $9 billion boating industry and Michigan’s vital tourist industry; and
WHEREAS, an Asian Carp invasion could potentially result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of Michigan jobs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the international, national, state and local government agencies whose purpose it is to protect our Great Lakes, should find a solution to stop the Asian Carp invasive species from entering the Great Lakes; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party and concerned citizens will contact elected officials to demand a solution that will protect the Great Lakes; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Michigan Democratic Party goes on record as supporting U.S. House Resolution 5625 and U.S. Senate Resolution 3553, which both call for a hydrological separation of the Chicago area water system from the Great Lakes; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges President Obama and Congress to take all necessary precautions and actions to prevent the Asian Carp from breaking into the Great Lakes water system.
Resolution Concerning The Use Of Fracturing To Obtain Natural Gas
WHEREAS, natural gas energy companies are proposing to use “fracturing” as a method of obtaining gas from ground sources in Michigan; and
WHEREAS, this “fracturing” process has grossly polluted lakes, ground water supplies and water well drinking sources in many cases throughout areas where it has been used (e.g., Pennsylvania and New York states).
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly opposes all such operations until they can be proven to be done without poisonous or detrimental impact on the environment and also until said companies disclose all chemicals used in their process to all permitting agencies, local governments and land owners interested in leasing their land for such practices.
Resolution Opposing Arizona’s Anti-Immigration Law
WHEREAS, due to their diminished rights when traveling to the state of Arizona travel warnings have been issued to Michiganders to insure that Michiganders have proper identification when traveling to Arizona to avoid sanctioned discrimination; and
WHEREAS, Arizona’s law encourages the practice and habit of racial profiling inside the ranks of law enforcement, and, unfortunately, throughout society; and
WHEREAS, the Arizona law amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination; and
WHEREAS, this law deflects from the more important discussion on the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform as an economic and humanitarian remedy to a complex and politically charged issue; and
WHEREAS, cost projections to local communities in the form of training to institute this controversial law contain prohibitively high expenses at a time when local communities confront unprecedented structural deficits.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes the Arizona Law, Michigan House Bill 6256, which is similar to Arizona’s law, or any similar legislation which might be introduced, because they impose an unfunded mandate on local communities, violate the principles of federalism, and impose unconstitutional racial profiling.
Resolution Opposing Changing The 14th Amendment
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party does not support any action that would use discriminatory language or that would discriminate against any majority or minority group; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party opposes any attempt to weaken the historic legal rights granted and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party encourages the State Legislature and the Governor to oppose any effort to change the Fourteenth Amendment.
Resolution Supporting Freedom Of Religion For All
WHEREAS, the separation of Church and State is a vital to the continued success of the United States as a nation; and
WHEREAS, the freedom of religion is vital to an individual’s pursuit of happiness; and
WHEREAS, the separation of church and state must be enforced and maintained.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party continues to promote and defend freedom of and from religion for all Americans as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Resolution Supporting Protection Of Civil Rights
WHEREAS, restrictions on same sex marriage have been found unconstitutional by a Federal district court in California; and
WHEREAS, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been found unconstitutional by a court in the State of Massachusetts; and
WHEREAS, Michigan prohibits same sex marriage and benefits/privileges for same sex partners.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party will pursue remedies to correct the injustice of sanctioned discrimination in our State Constitution.
Resolution Supporting The LGBT Community
WHEREAS, the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law for all Americans; and
WHEREAS, the religious beliefs of one group should not be imposed on another group.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party will continue to fight for equal rights for the LGBT community, especially the right to civil marriage, to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and the passage of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Resolution Supporting A Redistricting Process That Respects Urban Districts
WHEREAS, the Michigan State Legislature will soon engage in the reapportionment process for Congressional and state legislative districts; and
WHEREAS, urban centers are vital to Michigan’s future. The importance of large cities like Detroit and Flint should be reflected in the strength of their political representation in Lansing and Washington D.C; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party believes that state and federal elected officials should reflect the state’s racial and ethnic diversity.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the State Legislature to not engage in gerrymandering practices which will dilute the political clout of urban-based Congressional and state legislative districts.
Resolution Supporting Women’s Reproductive Health Choice
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party strongly supports the right of a woman to make choices in her issues of her reproductive health; and
WHEREAS, these choices are strictly a personal choice and should not be legislated; and
WHEREAS, we strongly oppose the return to illegal and dangerous abortions; and
WHEREAS, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the United States; and
WHEREAS, Roe v. Wade is under continuous attack from pro-life groups; and
WHEREAS, we strongly support the continuation of Roe v. Wade as law.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party will work with our elected officials to insure the continuation of Roe v. Wade as law.
Resolution Supporting A State Bank
WHEREAS, evidence suggests many small businesses have encountered setbacks or have had to close due to an inability to secure a bank loan as a chronic problem nationally and in Michigan; and
WHEREAS, evidence further suggest that small businesses are particularly vulnerable when credit markets freeze; and
WHEREAS, most efforts to stabilize a business during a downturn focus a disproportionate amount of resources on companies that are “too big to fail” instead of the smaller businesses that comprise the backbone of our state and our nation; and
WHEREAS, some additional remedies need to be strongly considered when providing more assistance to small business during this and any economic downturn; and
WHEREAS, Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve, in his recent comments to the U.S. Congress suggested that the absence of small business loans to small business owners is a major barrier to small business success; and
WHEREAS, creation of a Bank or Credit Union run by the State of Michigan would increase investment opportunities in the state, to the benefit of its citizens and small and medium businesses in Michigan.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the creation of such a financial institution.
Resolution Supporting The Employee Free Choice Act
WHEREAS, in 1935 the United States established by law that workers must be free to form unions; and
WHEREAS, the freedom to form or join a union is internationally recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a fundamental human right; and
WHEREAS, the free choice to join with others and bargain for better wages and benefits is essential to economic opportunity and good living standards; and
WHEREAS, unions benefit communities by strengthening living standards, stabilizing tax bases, promoting equal treatment and enhancing civic participation; and
WHEREAS, states in which more people are union members are states with higher wages, better benefits and better schools; and
WHEREAS, union workers receive better wages and benefits, with union workers earning 29 percent more than workers without a union, 35 percent more likely to have access to health insurance, and are four times more likely to have access to a guaranteed defined benefit pension; and
WHEREAS, unions help raise workers’ pay and narrow the income gap for minorities and women by increasing median weekly earnings by 31 percent for union women workers, 31 percent for African-American workers, 50 percent for Latino workers, and 9 percent for Asian American workers; and
WHEREAS, workers across the nation are routinely denied the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life with 25 percent of private-sector employers illegally firing at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns; and
WHEREAS, 77 percent of the public believes it is important to have strong laws protecting the freedom for workers to make their own decision about having a union and 58 percent of workers would join a union if they had the chance; and
WHEREAS, employers often refuse to bargain fairly with workers after forming a union by dragging out first contract bargaining for up to two years in 45 percent of successful campaigns; and
WHEREAS, each year millions of dollars are spent to frustrate workers’ efforts to form unions, and most violations of workers’ freedom to choose a union occur behind closed doors, with 78 percent of employers forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings; and
WHEREAS, when the right of workers to form a union is violated, wages fall, race and gender pay gaps widen, workplace discrimination increases and job safety standards disappear; and
WHEREAS, a worker’s fundamental right to choose a union free from coercion and intimidation is a public issue that requires public policy solutions, including legislative remedies; and
WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in the U.S. Congress in order to restore workers’ freedom to join a union; and
WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act will safeguard workers’ ability to make their own decisions without these abuses, provide for first contract mediation and arbitration and establish meaningful penalties when employers violate workers’ rights.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the Employee Free Choice Act which would authorize the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union as the bargaining representative when a majority of employees voluntarily sign authorizations designating that union to represent them, provide for first contract mediation and arbitration and establish meaningful penalties for violations of a worker’s freedom to choose a union; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urge Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to protect and preserve for America’s workers their freedom to choose for themselves whether or not to form a union.
Resolution Supporting Drafting Legislation Implementing The Employees’ Bill Of Rights
WHEREAS, individuals should have the freedom to exercise and express their Constitutional rights and be able to improve their careers and represented workers have mechanisms and processes by which to protect their livelihood the non-represented professional employee do not; and
WHEREAS, the current laws which were meant to protect the non-represented employees’ (i.e., Disability, ERISA, Family Medical Leave and Non-Discrimination) have been decimated in the courts by corporate tyrants; thus, it is impossible for non-representative employees to find justice and fairness; and
WHEREAS, there is no mechanism or process to appropriately resolve disagreements between the non-represented professional employees and the company regarding earned benefits and how they can be used, “off-shoring” non-represented professional employees functions without concern or input from the non-represented employee, an increasing number of corporations are unilaterally reducing and restructuring health care insurance and retirement benefits as well as other benefits (i.e., permitted sick time, vacation time, overtime, etc) the non-represented professional employee has no legal standing to object and/or protest these changes and are thus disenfranchised; and
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan’s un-employment rate is above the national average and a large number are non-represented employees, and the non-represented employee makes up a large portion of the taxpaying middle class; and
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan needs to retain, nurture and grow its professional work force, and the Michigan Democratic Party is in support of establishing a more educated and professional work force in the State of Michigan, and has always stood with the worker whether that worker is a professional non-represented worker or not; and
WHEREAS, the State Of Michigan wants to broaden its economic base and encourage entrepreneurial start-ups and those start-ups are primarily created with non-represented employees; and
WHEREAS, there is an effort to make Michigan a “Right To Work” state which, if successful, will result in a major economic decline, it is imperative, in order to maintain the integrity and security of the Michigan workforce, that Michigan codify an Employees’ Bill Of Rights which will once and for all put an end to any effort to make Michigan a “Right To Work” state; and
WHEREAS, Michigan is actively encouraging new industries to come to Michigan, it should simultaneously encourage individuals to come to Michigan to live and pursue their careers by establishing an environment which respects the employees right to make a living without fear of corporate tyrants; and
WHEREAS, Corporations cannot exist without employees and vice versa, a new win/win, none competitive approach/environment must be
created to address the needs of both the employee and employer in the 21st century; and
WHEREAS, this is an updated resolution to one adopted at the 2009 Democratic State Convention which facilitated the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) to take a leadership position and organized, coordinated, convened and conducted a task force comprised of MDP membership and produced a document titled “Michigan Employees’ Bill Of Rights” (which is available at http://employeebillofrights.info) and was approved by the MDP State Central Committee. However, it did not produce a set of specific legislation to the Governor and legislative leadership to codify an “Employees’ Bill Of Rights” within the State of Michigan.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) will continue to take a leadership position and shall organize, coordinate, convene and conduct a task force open to all MDP membership within the next calendar year for the purpose of producing initial, specific, draft legislation based on the “Michigan Employees’ Bill Of Rights” document (approved by the MDP State Central Committee and available at http://employeebillofrights.info) to be provided to the Governor and legislative leadership so it can be acted upon during the Michigan 2011 legislative agenda/process in order to codify an “Employees’ Bill Of Rights” within the State Of Michigan; thus, establishing Michigan as a leadership state that addresses the needs of both business and employees in the 21st Century; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Chair of the MDP shall report twice to the State Central Committee and MDP membership during the remainder of 2010 and during 2011 on the status of the task force and legislation progress/status.
Resolution Supporting Modification Of The Hatch Act
WHEREAS, the federal Hatch Act of 1939, referred to herein as the “Hatch Act”, was originally enacted to curb the practice of political patronage and to prohibit employees whose positions were funded by federal moneys from using those positions to engage in partisan political activity; and
WHEREAS, under the Hatch Act, federal employees are prohibited from, among other things, running for public office in partisan political elections or using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election; and
WHEREAS, the Hatch Act delineates between two classes of covered employees: some employees retain the right to limited partisan political involvement, while others, such as those working for the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies dealing with certain aspects of intelligence or enforcement, are prohibited outright from engaging in partisan political management or partisan political campaigns; and
WHEREAS, the Hatch Act also applies to certain state and local government employees, such as local law enforcement officers, whose salaries are not paid with federal moneys but whose positions require them to perform, as a normal and foreseeable incident of their principal employment, duties connected with activities financed in any part by federal moneys; and
WHEREAS, those state and local government employees are covered under the Hatch Act if they are responsible for the disbursement of even a single dollar of federal moneys; and
WHEREAS, areas of the state currently face a shortage of candidates qualified for public office; and
WHEREAS, the pool of candidates suited for public office is further diminished by the provisions of the Hatch Act that prohibit individuals, who might otherwise be well qualified to run for partisan public office, from running because of tangential management of federal moneys required by their jobs; and
WHEREAS, while the United States Office of Special Counsel is tasked with enforcing the provisions of the Hatch Act, the Office is unable to make exceptions for any covered employee desirous of participating in a partisan election for public office, regardless of the employee’s level of involvement with federal moneys or the size of the electoral pool from which the candidates for office are drawn; and
WHEREAS, the federal Office of Personnel Management is permitted to designate, and in the past has designated, specific localities in which conditions exist that necessitate the waiver of certain provisions of the Hatch Act to allow federal employees to run for partisan political office when such waiver is in the best interest of the localities; and
WHEREAS, covered employees who wish to run for partisan political office in those designated areas, however, must run as independent candidates, thereby denying them the opportunity to be funded and assisted by the major political parties in those localities and to be affiliated with one of those parties.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party recognizes that the need of the state of Michigan and its localities for qualified elected officials and the desire to minimize the influence of partisan political activities on government employees’ are not mutually exclusive; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge Congress to amend the Hatch Act and its related federal regulations to allow the United States Office of Special Counsel to grant limited exceptions for those individuals interested in running for partisan political office whose positions preclude them from running as a partisan candidates solely because of their arms’-length involvement with federal moneys; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED to focus on HR 4466 and a Senate equivalent if there is one; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader John Boehner, and to each Member of Michigan’s Congressional Delegation.
Resolution Supporting An Increase in Michigan’s Property Tax Credit
WHEREAS, low income individuals, especially seniors, have not had a raise in over 30 years on the maximum Michigan Property Tax Credit of $1200; and
WHEREAS, property taxes have increased greatly over that time; and
WHEREAS, home foreclosures are at an all time high; and
WHEREAS, employees have received wage increases in 30 years; and
WHEREAS, the law to eliminate tax on pensions is indexed to inflation; and
WHEREAS, Social Security benefits are not taxed at all in Michigan;and
WHEREAS, an increase in the credit may save someone’s home.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Property Tax Credit be increased to $1500; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that it be indexed to inflation so that in the future the credit will be adjusted to the times.
Resolution Supporting Making Unemployment Compensation Benefits Tax-Exempt
WHEREAS, before 1981 unemployment compensation benefits were tax-exempt; and
WHEREAS, unemployment compensation benefits were established to help working families who have lost their employment with financial aid; and
WHEREAS, those receiving unemployment compensation benefits need all their benefits to pay for heating, fuel, electricity, food, health care coverage, prescription medications, etc.; and
WHEREAS, taxation on unemployment compensation benefits is a heavy burden on everyone; and
WHEREAS, returning unemployment compensation benefits to tax-exempt income would help our economy by putting additional cash flow back into our economy; and
WHEREAS, as a nation we believe in helping those who need it the most; and
WHEREAS, other government assistance programs are tax-exempt and so should unemployment compensation benefits.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the Michigan Legislature and the United States Congress to reinstate the tax-exempt status of unemployment compensation benefits.
Resolution Supporting A Graduated Income Tax
WHEREAS, the Michigan Democratic Party supports economic opportunity for all citizens, particularly the disadvantaged; and
WHEREAS, Michigan’s current income tax rate is 4.35%; and
WHEREAS, 34 other states and the federal government have a graduated income tax structure, by which individuals with lower incomes pay a smaller share of their income in taxes. All 34 states have lower unemployment rates than Michigan; and
WHEREAS, Article IX, Section 7 of the Michigan Constitution prohibits the implementation of an income tax that is “graduated as to rate or base”.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports a State Constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax structure in Michigan.
ResolutionSupporting The Reinstatement Of The Estate Tax
WHEREAS, the federal estate tax that in the past applied to multimillion dollar fortunes fully expired at the end of 2009; and
WHEREAS, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the suspension of the estate tax and other policies favoring the super-rich are key contributors to our nation’s budget deficits; and
WHEREAS, our nation desperately needs revenue to invest in job growth, education, health and infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, revenue generated by an estate tax could be used for public investments that would create rapid spending and boost job creation; and
WHEREAS, this is a progressive tax and can supply revenue without any supply side effects; and
WHEREAS, across the country, schools are firing teachers, first responders are underfunded and hard-working Americans are being denied basic services, all while our deficit reaches record highs; and
WHEREAS, billion dollar fortunes are exempt from paying their fair share of estate taxes; and
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO, UFE and others believe the tax should be restored to its 2009 level or stronger; and
WHEREAS, two current bills introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) address the rate of exemption ($2 million or $3.5 million) and rates of 45-65% tax thereafter; and
WHEREAS, theses bills are similar to the previous tax exempting $3.5 million and a 45% rate thereafter; and
WHEREAS, the reinstatement of the estate tax would generate about $62 billion over the next 10 years; and
WHEREAS, our economy remains on the edge of a double dip recession and we urgently need to create millions of jobs and invest in our future, not give more tax breaks to the wealthy.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports reinstatement of the estate tax.
Resolution Supporting Annual Audits Of The United States Defense Budget
WHEREAS, the majority of United States citizens favor tighter control of spending by the Defense Department.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports stricter control and oversight of military budgets and spending, including annual auditing.
Resolution Supporting Ratification Of The “New Start” Treaty
WHEREAS, the recently signed “New Start” treaty between the United States and Russia moves in the right direction for reduction of nuclear stockpiles in each country. The modest reduction, from 2,200 to 1,550, also guarantees the right of data exchanges and regular inspections; and
WHEREAS, the treaty has been endorsed by statesmen and the military associated with many years of foreign policy and world outlook, including Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Sam Nunn, William Perry and James Schlesinger; and
WHEREAS, in face of this ‘substance of support’, there should be no problem in quick ratification of this necessary treaty; thus far, it is being held up in the Senate by Republican using Cold War and other inaccurate arguments; and
WHEREAS, the pressure on the Administration to embark on a program to replenish and update our nuclear arsenal must be resisted – the people of the world will breathe easier when we set a zero tolerance on a world scale to Nuclear Proliferation, remembering that the United States and Russia still possess 20,000 nuclear weapons.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports a quick ratification of the “New Start” Treaty and asks Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to redouble their efforts for a timely vote on this vital agreement.
Resolution Supporting Peace Initiatives
WHEREAS, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars; and
WHEREAS, these wars have resulted in thousands of deaths, as well as maiming and permanent traumatic injuries for our troops and the citizens of these countries; and
WHEREAS, these wars have caused tremendous devastation of the resources of Iraq and Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, the war in Afghanistan could potentially continue for many years.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the development of departments, academies or institutions that work for peaceful means of avoiding conflicts and for peaceful means of resolving conflicts; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the reallocation of the billions of dollars spent on these wars to programs to improve the life of Americans in the areas of healthcare, education, job development and home ownership.
Resolution Supporting The Elimination Of Municipal Residency Requirements
WHEREAS, the passage of state legislation banning municipal employee residency requirements has decimated city tax bases because thousands of city employees have relocated; and
WHEREAS, large majorities of firefighters and police officers no longer live in the cities where they work. The loss of employee residency requirements has left cities vulnerable in times of emergencies because first responders often live so far away that they cannot be quickly assembled; and
WHEREAS, employees who live in the community where they work are apt to demonstrate a more urgent commitment to solving problems.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the State Legislature to pass legislation allowing municipalities to determine residency requirements.
Resolution Urging Legislation To Allow Growing Industrial Hemp
WHEREAS, industrial hemp is an easily grown crop, which can be used for many purposes: paper, clothing, plastics, fiberboard, and biomass fuels among over 25,000 other uses; and
WHEREAS, industrial hemp has been grown and used throughout history and in the United States until the 1950’s and is not related to marijuana production; and
WHEREAS, Canada and over 30 industrialized, democratic countries allow farming of industrial hemp; and
WHEREAS, Michigan has abandoned paper mills and other industrial manufacturing facilities, has ample farm land suitable for farming industrial hemp and a willing unemployed work force; and
WHEREAS, allowing industrial hemp production in Michigan would have multiple benefits for manufacturing, farming, employment and especially our economy.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges state legislators to draft legislation allowing farming of industrial hemp and the manufacture of related hemp products.