(Editor's note: This Toolbox was updated in April 2010. Click here for a PDF of the original version.)
Part 1 — These specific measures received votes in the Michigan Legislature. How would you have voted?
1. Bills to provide substantial tax breaks for ethanol and biodiesel producers.
2. Bills that would increase unemployment insurance assessments (taxes) on employers by $70 million annually in order to get $139 million in one-time federal “stimulus” money.
3. An amendment adding $9.5 million for low-income youth dental programs in Wayne County.
4. A bill allowing local convention and tourism bureaus to levy a 2 percent hotel and motel room tax to support regional marketing and promotion programs.
5. "Revenue enhancment" bills to extend for another six years "temporary" increases passed by the previous Legislature in business incorporation fees, investment advisor license fees, etc.
6. A bill to spend $60 million raised by borrowing against future tobacco lawsuit proceeds for tourism industry promotion.
7. A bill to allow local school districts to levy a "sinking fund" property tax millage that could be used for certain operational expenses (2008 vote and 2009 vote).
8. A bill to allow teacher union locals to bargain over a school district privatizing noninstructional services.
9. A bill to require unions to annually seek written permission from each individual worker before using that worker's union dues for political purposes.
10. A bill to require MESSA (the MEA teacher union's insurance affiliate) to release individual school district claims history data.
11. A bill to impose renewable energy mandates on electric utilities.
12. A bill to scale back Michigan's electricity competition law.
13. A bill to prohibit drilling for oil and gas underneath the Great Lakes (slant drilling).
14. Bills to allow local government borrowing (bonding) to cover the cost of government retiree health care benefits (2006 vote and 2009 vote).
15. A bill making state government employee post-retirement health benefits an enforceable obligation on the state.
16. Bills voted on in the House and Senate that let local school districts increase property taxes by up to 1 mill to operate swimming pools, recreation centers, auditoriums, conference centers, etc., as a "recreation authority."
17. A bill to hand out millions of dollars of cash subsidies to Hollywood producers who shoot films in Michigan.
Part 2 — General Candidate Preferences
1. Would you support repealing a 22 percent Michigan Business Tax surcharge passed in 2007, and replacing the $700 million it raises each year with budget cuts?
2. Will you sign a "no new taxes" pledge?
3. Would you support replacing some Michigan prisons with privately managed prisons?
4. Would you support "voucherizing" higher education funding so the money follows the students rather than the university?
5. Would you support shifting Michigan State Police road patrols to county sheriff deputies if this would save money? (This is strongly opposed by the MSP.)
6. Would you support placing all new school employees in defined-contribution pension systems?
7. Would you support repealing the "prevailing wage" law that requires union-scale wages to be paid for school and other state construction projects?
8. Would you support a "Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights" constitutional amendment that limits state tax and spending increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth?
9. Can you name three state government programs that you would introduce legislation to eliminate?