32 Marijuana Proposals, 220 Tax Increase on November Ballot
As reported by Gongwer, voters in thirty-one cities and townships will decide November 8 whether to allow marijuana businesses in their communities, and voters also will consider 220 proposed local property tax increases.

There are 32 total proposals regarding marijuana businesses (there are two in one municipality), a Gongwer News Service analysis of ballots across the state showed. It is one of the largest numbers of marijuana business proposals since the voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2018.

Of the 32, 18 would newly allow marijuana businesses to operate within the municipality. Another eight would lift previously enacted ordinance bans in communities against those businesses from operating in communities. Five would ban marijuana businesses. And one would reduce the number of marijuana businesses allowed.

Beyond the marijuana proposals, there are 220 proposed new tax increases. There are 194 property tax renewals.

There are 24 proposed school bond measures as school districts seek to raise money for infrastructure, several of them large.

Among the biggest:

$555 million for the Troy School District;
$345 million for the Southfield Public Schools;
$275 million for the Okemos Public Schools;
$197.5 million for the Clarkston Community Schools;
$180 million for the Saline Area Schools; and
$169.3 million for the Anchor Bay School District.

There are 13 proposed property tax increases for parks and recreation, 76 for public safety, 29 for roads, four for senior services and 14 for sinking funds to assist school districts with maintenance, security and technology.

Key House Democrat Talks About Upcoming Election, Former Speaker Chatfield 
House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski voiced confidence Friday that Democrats will win the House majority despite more focus on the battle for the Senate and promised to open an investigation into former House Speaker Lee Chatfield if Democrats win control.

Despite the closing gap in polls between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her Republican opponent Tudor Dixon, Ms. Lasinski (D-Scio Township) said on WKAR’s "Off the Record" that she said she remains very confident in Ms. Whitmer’s ability to win.

"We’ve always known that this was going to be a close race. Michigan is a very politically divided state right now," she said. "Governor Whitmer has created thousands of new jobs for Michiganders, she’s invested historic funds in public education, and she is the candidate who will protect women’s rights."

She said that abortion and the economy were both important issues in this election and that the Democratic Party had a winning record on both topics when it came to creating jobs and protecting women’s rights.

"I can’t tell you how many door reports I’ve received where we go to the door and the woman says this is why I’m voting and this is why I’m making sure I’m voting this time because any other woman’s choice is not my choice to make, and it sure isn’t a politician’s choice," Ms. Lasinski said.

Ms. Lasinski also discussed the paths for Democratic control in both the Senate and the House, and while she agreed that in some ways the road to the majority might be more complicated for House Democrats, that was only because there were more options.

"The only thing that’s more complicated about the House taking majority is the story we have to tell," she said. "There’s a field of about eight seats where we are head-to-head with Republicans, and that’s what’s going to decide majority. In the Senate, you can tell that story by telling the story of two or three races."

Ms. Lasinski went on to say that Democratic candidates were out-raising their fundraising targets across the board.

"We are well positioned to run through the tape," she said. "We have fantastic policy messages that we are sharing a vision for Michigan, that we are sharing around infrastructure, public education and women’s rights that the people in Michigan are responding to."

She added that House Democrats had knocked nearly 750,000 doors since last summer and challenged any assertion that Democrats didn’t have leads in the polls that matched their spending.

"In those very personal conversations, we are absolutely winning the hearts and votes of Michiganders," she said.

Ms. Lasinski also discussed with the panel the new allegations that surfaced earlier this week regarding former House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

Democrats have repeatedly called for a House investigation into Mr. Chatfield’s conduct while in office, but House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) has said that the investigation is best left to law enforcement.

"There are ethics. There’s a standard of conduct. Official misconduct in office, misuse of state resources that are always within the speaker’s purview to investigate," Ms. Lasinski said. "This is simply the same man, Speaker Wentworth, who went with Mr. Chatfield to Mr. Trump’s office before he became speaker, trying to protect the former speaker."

She said that House Democratic leadership has started to ask questions of representatives from their party about whether they received funds for trips or meals from Mr. Chatfield. Although Ms. Lasinski said that Democrats had not learned about any concerning ties to Mr. Chatfield from members of their party, she did not say how many people Democratic leadership had contacted.

"You can expect that as we take the majority in the House, this issue will not die," she said. "We will look into this because it’s important that we operate with transparency and accountability. This culture of corruption and this game that Republicans have played for two sessions now, of running out the clock and then say, ‘Well, it’s not important because they’re no longer here,’ that doesn’t fly."

Ms. Lasinski also said that she and other Democrats are in favor of increased financial transparency and have voluntarily filled out financial transparency forms and voted against the growth of dark money in state politics.

"Democrats have been hungry for this for years," she said. "I can’t speak to whether Republicans will ever be hungry for transparency, when clearly over $800,000 of it is fueling their campaigns right now."

Earlier this week, House Democrats called on 12 Republican candidates and legislators and the House Republican Campaign Committee to return about $815,000 in campaign contributions received from Mr. Chatfield.

Although Ms. Lasinski declined to say whether Mr. Wentworth was acting unethically, she criticized him for not establishing an ethics committee or a bipartisan review committee.

"I can only judge him by his actions," she said. "And he’s chosen not to act with courage in this area."

Dixon Says: "Let’s Make Michigan Business Friendly Again"
While concluding her Detroit Economic Club presentation today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer dropped that if abortion access is enshrined into Michigan’s constitution, she wants to go into Indiana and Ohio and start “stealing headquarters and cultivating talent.”

The Democratic governor said she envisions going to (Purdue University) “and talk to every woman engineer, as well as Ohio State (University), and bring them to Michigan, where you can have full rights to make your own decisions about your health and your body – and a great job."

Whitmer spoke before Republican challenger Tudor Dixon at an event hosted by the Detroit Economic Club at the Motor City Casino Hotel. The event was not a debate, as each candidate walked onto the stage separately in their own time slots – designated by a coin toss backstage, according to moderator Christy McDonald of WDIV-TV in Detroit. 

Questions covered potential remedies the candidates would like to see for high inflation, Michigan’s new business attraction and site readiness incentive fund, building a skilled workforce, improving how K-12 school students are absorbing education and assisting small business growth. 

Abortion access was not a central issue for the Governor, although Whitmer listed the phrase "reproductive rights" once during her opening statement and once during her closing remarks. 

"We’ve got to make sure that talent has what they need here," Whitmer said while greeting the crowd. "A great quality of life, a low cost of living, rights – reproductive rights . . . all of these are economic issues, and that’s what I’m gonna stay focused on as governor." 

Proposal 3, the "Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative" will be on the November ballot, with supporting advocates aiming to amend the state’s constitution with Roe v. Wade era abortion access. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer – and after a draft of the decision was leaked during the springtime – multiple large-scale corporations pledged to offer various assistance to employees if they were to seek out an abortion. 

For example, Microsoft expanded its financial support for "critical healthcare" to feature coverage for travel expenses for abortion care, especially for workers residing in a state where a post-Roe abortion ban was enacted. 

Starbucks additionally started to provide a travel benefit to those enrolled in its healthcare plan, and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would distribute up to $4,000 in expense reimbursements for an employee to travel to the closest location where abortion services were legally available. 

However, in response to Whitmer’s suggestion, Dixon told the media after the event that she thinks it’s "an odd economic plan." 

"I would love to see companies coming here because it’s the best place to do business – like I said, our goal is to reduce regulation and bring businesses here because we’re the best place for them to actually live, play and work," Dixon said. 

Dixon Says ‘Let’s Make Michigan Business Friendly Again’ 

Throughout the event, Dixon zoomed in on reducing regulations in Michigan, with a promise to do so by 40%. 

Whitmer, on the other-hand, referenced last year’s creation of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund as evidence that Michigan was escaping from claims that it was too slow, too dysfunctional and too lacking in tools to be attractive to business endeavors. 

"I think with incentives we have to be careful to look at exactly what the return on investment is when we’re giving out this amount of money," Dixon said. "We see billions of dollars worth of development on hold on the lakeshore right now. These are developments that would cost the state of Michigan nothing, but they’re on hold because of the agencies of government keeping people from doing business." 

Dixon referenced Whitmer denying the off-reservation casino request from the Little River Band Ottawa Indians in Muskegon County. 

With more than $30 million invested into the project and anticipation it would deliver more than 3,000 jobs, Whitmer turned it down due to the proposed location’s physical closeness to the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, which is a tribe seeking out federal recognition that would permit them to open up their own casino. 

"We had a resort in Muskegon that would have brought 1,500 jobs to the community right away and would have nearly only cost the ink in the Governor’s pen. She let that go, but she chose to take $715 million and give it to a corporation that has ties to the Chinese Communist Party," Dixon said. 

Dixon was noting the $540 million worth in property tax exemptions, the $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program grant and $125 million Critical Industry Program grant that were approved for the Chinese-owned Gotion Inc. to build a $2.4 billion electric vehicle battery parts facility outside of Big Rapids. 

Meanwhile, during her address, Whitmer said Michigan needs to have economic tools, saying "we are in a race." 

Whitmer discussed conversations she’s had with Chief Executive Officer Rick Wallace of KLA, the semiconductor manufacturing company based in California and with an Ann Arbor location. 

"He is one of the best salespeople for the state of Michigan you’ll ever meet, because he talks about how it’s easier to recruit talent to Washtenaw County, Michigan than to Silicon Valley – and it’s about one-tenth of the cost of living," Whitmer said. "It’s a huge selling point for us." 

She said if the state of Michigan buries its head in the sand and thinks that not competing will be good for the economy, "we are going to miss out." 

When asked about the United States’ inflation rate of 8.2% during September, Whitmer said a governor cannot single-handedly address global inflation – but can ensure the state is making investments that lower costs for people. 

"I want you to know we have paid down $14 billion in state debt. While we managed all these crises and delivered a budget that makes record investment, we also paid down our debt," Whitmer said. "We’ve amassed a record Rainy Day Fund, so in the event we need some resources, they’re there." 

She said the state could still do some tax relief, with a sales tax pause for motor fuel still on the table, as well as her proposal to eliminate retirement taxes and to expand the earned income tax credit (EITC) to place a calculated $3,000 extra into the pockets of 7,000 families. 

When Dixon was asked about inflation, she highlighted wanting to perform "a responsible reduction of the income tax until we can phase it out completely." 

"We know that the Legislature has already presented two opportunities to the Governor to reduce that income tax. I would want to do that right away and get to that first reduction," Dixon said. 

Dixon additionally called for a need to drop energy costs in Michigan, mentioning the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline delivering for 65% of the propane demand in the Upper Peninsula and 55% of statewide propane necessities. 

As Whitmer and Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel have remained at the forefront of legal efforts and advocacy to shut down Line 5, Dixon said "at a time when we’re trying to bring businesses to the state of Michigan, we’ve got to make it as affordable as possible to fly in and out of our largest airport in the state." 


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Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest


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