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October 31, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-31

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, October 31, 1984

The Michigan Daily

T

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 48

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

'No' to Proposal A

STATE BALLOT Proposal A has not
received the attention given to
proposal C-nor should it-but it does
deserve to be looked at more closely.
The proposal seeks to ensure
legislative veto power over any rules
proposed by a s ate agency or depar-
tment. It does not deserve support
owing to questions of its con-
stitutionality and the amount of power
it would give the state Legislature.
The proposal would put the
Legislature's Joint Committee on Ad-
ministrative Rules into the state Con-
stitution. Lawmakers feel the need to
do so because of concerns stemming
from a 1983 Supreme Court decision in-
terpreting the "congressional veto" of
federal agency rules as uncon-
stitutional. Supporters of Proposal A
feel that the state amendment is
necessary to protect against legal
challenges arising from the Supreme
Court precedent.
Such legal challenges should not
necessarily be avoided. If the rules
committe is indeed unconstitutional
then it does not deserve protection by
the state.
In addition there are very real

questions concerning the committee
apart from its constitutionality. The
panel has the substantial power to
adopt or reject any rules proposed by
the executive branch of the state. This
is necessary, supporters argue, to
check any independent agency that
might run amok. But the Legislature
possesses alternative channels for
regulation should any real crisis
develop within an administrative
agency. The executive should be held
accountable for its own agencies
without legislative interference.
The 10-member committee would
simply possess too much power if
protected by this amendment. Its veto
power would open the door for special
interest influence on the committee.
By concentrating pressure on a small
number of legislators, lobbyists could
strongly influence executive
programs. Such a mechanism should
not be allowed to exist.
Proposal A would concentrate too
much power in the legislature even if
constitutional, and if unconstitutional
it is entirely unworthy of support. Vote
'No' on Proposal A.

Defend
By James Murray
In Michigan most large tracts of public land
are located far from the state's population
areas. While those lands certainly provide
tremendous recreational opportunity for
numerous people, they often fail to provide
opportunities for many among us who can't
afford to travel because of expense or cir-
cumstances. One way to begin to deal with
these problems is to vote for state Proposal B
-- a proposal to establish a natural resources
trust fund and a board to administer it.
In many respects, the pattern of public
ownership in Michigan fails to meet the needs
of Michigan residents. Senior citizens, the
laid off auto worker who is no longer able to
drive long distances, intercity children, or
urban and suburban families who wish to par-
ticipate in an outdoor activity for only a few
hours a day instead of a week receive little or
no benefit from these lands.
In an attempt to rectify this problem,
Michigan Voters in 1968 approved a $150
million Recreation Bond Proposal to im-
plement the Recreation Bond Fund Program.
This was to address the needs outlined above
and provide funds for land acquisition in
areas nearer to population centers.
When they approved the Recreation Bond
issue, Michigan voters agreed the program
would be paid out of future tax dollars. The
final payments on that bond issue will be paid
in 1989.
The Michigan Land Trust Fund, established
in 1976, was to provide an easier way to pay
for future recreational lands. The Land Trust
Fund Act provided for revenues from mineral
mining and oil and gas drilling on state land

earmarked for recreation land acquisition.
Each year the revenue plus the interest
received on that revenue would be deposited
in the Land Trust Fund to purchase important
fragile areas and wildlife refuge lands in ad-
dition to recreational land areas. A cap of
$150 million was set on the fund.
SINCE 1976 the fund has been successfully'
"raided" (diverting money in the fund for
other uses) four times. In 1978 through
legislation the State Treasurer was directed
to loan a maximum of $6 million of the fund to
petroleum carriers to be used for refurbishing
double bottom tankers. This program itself
did not endanger the integrity of the fund, but
it did establish a precedent, making it easier
for future "raids" to follow. In 1981, $26 million,
the entire balance in the fund, was tran-
sferred to the general fund to balance the
State budget. In 1982 $46.2 million, again the
entire balance in the fund, was transferred to
cover the General Fund budget deficit. In
1982, the Heritage Trust was established
and funded by money diverted from the Land
Trust Fund to finance community economic
development and provide venture capital for
small to medium sized businesses. In
establishing the Heritage Fund, the
Legislature repealed all provisions for
General Fund repayment and for lost interest
to the Land Trust Fund.
Several other attempts have been made to
use the Land Trust Fund money for other
purposes including loans to establish van
pools, subsidies for state school aid paymen-
ts, and acquisition and development of
sanitary landfills.
Some people argue that enshrining the
Land Trust Fund andhestablishing Fund
limits in the state Constitution is an over-

reaction to the problem. Further, they argue
that the Legislature has been elected to
provide for the proper use of Michigan's
assets and needs the flexibility to respond to
future emergency fiscal problems. However,
these usually compelling arguments do not
compare with the critical fact that more and
more land areas each year are lost to
development with no effort to protect fragile
areas and open spaces for recreation.
The reality of the matter is the intent of the
Land Trust Fund has not been met since its
passage. Further, the total impact of the
dollars available to the Fund on an annual
basis is less than .0001 of the total state
budget -- a small, if not insignificant, amount
compared to important environmental and
recreational lands that could have been
protected for public uses.
The ideal of the Land Trust Fund, suppor-
ted by members of both political parties and
leaders from across the state, was to guaran-
tee that the one-time benefits received from
the mining of the state's non-renewable
resources was to be committed for the long
term benefit of present and future
generations by purchase of important fragile
lands, wildlife refuge areas, and recreational
lands.
A yes vote on Proposal "B" is a recommit-
ment to ourselves in the preservation of
that ideal.

resource ideals

4

Murray is Vice Chair of the Michigan
Water Resources Commission and is
Washtenaw County's drain commis-
sioner.

Cramer

4

'Yes to Proposal B

IN 1976 THE state created the Land
Acquisition Trust Fund aimed at the
purchase of public lands. The fund,
however, has been perenially
raided -and gutted- by the
Legislature. Proposal B would incor-
porate the fund into the state Con-
stitution. Such protection is necessary
and Proposal B deserves strong sup-
port.
The money for the fund comes from
royalties on oil and gas leases and was
to be set aside until $150 million was
accumulated at which point the in-
terest would be invested in
recreational lands. In the past few
years, however, the principle has been
raided to the point where only $8 million
remains in the fand.
Most often the money was used for
programs entirely unrelated to the
program's intended purpose. Millions

of dollars have gone to potholes and the
hulls of ships, instead of toward
recreational lands.
The proposal would make such raids
impossible. Legislators complain that
they should retain the right to spend
money where it is most needed. This is
a legitimate sentiment, but it is being
passed off as a substitute for the real
issue: legislative responsibility. The
state should not have to use money
from oil and gas royalties that is set
aside for public lands to pay for
potholes. If it is easy to raid the fund,
then the fund will be raided by
legislators looking for easy solutions to
tough budgetary problems.
The natural resources of this state,
both existing and potential, should not
be the victim of fiscal irresponsibility.
The fund should be incorporated into
the Constitution in order that this does
not happen.

4
I

'No' to Proposal C

*~ W

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
SANS not responsible for vandalism.

P ROPOSAL C OR "Voter's Choice"
should not be treated as just
another incomprehensible ballot
proposal for it could endanger many
state services. If passed, it would im-
mediately roll back taxes to Decem-
ber 1981 levels .unless voters held a
special election and voted otherwise.
All tax measures would be submitted
to a vote by the people. In addition,
license, user, or permit fee increases
can pass only with a four-fifths vote of
the legislature, or a vote of the people.
The damage to the state, this Univer-
sity, and other state-funded in-
stitutions and programs far outweighs
the alleged benefits to taxpayers if
Proposal C passes. Voters should fir-
mly oppose it.
Voter's Choice supporters contend
that passage of this proposal will put
an end to high taxes and excessive
government spending. They forget,
however, that holding popular elec-
tions to get each voter's stamp of ap-
proval on every tax measure that
comes before the Legislature is not
only time consuming, but an erosion of
fundamental democratic principles.

would take away the power from those
elected representatives and give it to
individuals who have much less
knowledge of the system and little time
to invest studying it.
The state's credit rating is in the pro-
cess of being restored after an
economic downturn forced the state in-
to the red. If Proposal C passes, it
would mean a drastic shortage of
money and decreased opportunities for
borrowing. Services such as education
and human resource programs for the
poor and elderly would suffer under
such conditions.
University officials calculate that
this proposal could result in a
"devastating" $38 million loss in state
aid to this institution. Eastern
Michigan and Michigan State univer-
sities would be struck by comparable
blows. State tax revenue shortfalls
resulting from the proposal's passage
will be felt by parents and students as
University tuition skyrockets as much
as 19 to 21 percent. Fifty-four private
organizations and 80 school districts
across the state have condemned the

To the Daily:
The article "Student may ask
'U' to Stock Suicide Pills" (Daily,
Oct. 28) was printed with a pic-
ture of the Business Ad-

rinistration Library defaced
with the words "suicide pills."
The implication of the jux-
taposition of these two "works of
art" is that the student group,
Students Against Nuclear

Grenadian ignorance

Suicide, supporting a pill cam-
paign like Brown University and
the University of Colorado is also
responsible for the graffiti on
many of the buildings and
sidewalks of Ann Arbor. This is
not true.
As the organizer of SANS, I
wish to divorce us from any acts
of vandalism to University
property that the community
may link us with by circumstan-
ce. No member of SANS acting on
his or her own behalf or on behalf
of the group has spray-painted
any of the "free advertising" that
has appeared on campus.

As a group, we have elected to
use administrative channels to
make our proposition that
"nuclear war is suicide." We
have chosen to work through the
system rather than battle against
it by defacing University proper-
ty. We ask for your support in this
upcoming campaign to sprea
nuclear awareness by you
serious thought and discussion of
the growing threat of nuclear war
and not the action of spraypain-
ting the walls and walks of the
University.
-Karen Mysliwiec
October 30

To the Daily:
The editorial "Foreign Policy
Victories?" (Daily, Oct. 20) seeks
to discredit Reagan's decision to
invade Grenada.As a Democrat,
who did not vote for Reagan in
1980 and will not in 1984, I think
you ought to give credit for the
one undoubtedly good action in
his administration.
You may disapprove of the in-
vasion, but from 80 to 90 percent
of the Grenadians welcomed it
then; and after a year of
sorehead journalists running
down to Grenada to find fuel for
anti-Reagan articles, the
Grenadians still approve of the
American presence. What they
hated was their Communist-line

people hate Reagan more than
they love democracy. I'd like to
point out that Mondale backs
Reagan on Grenada.
If you wish to remedy your
ignorance about Grenada, a good
article by a native Grenadian
surveys the history of the past 30
years in the September-October
number of Freedom at Issue, the
journal published by Freedom
House, which opposes left as well
as right wing totalitarianism.
-George Gomez
October 30
BLOOM COUNTY

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