Sunday, March 26, 2006

Concerned Taxpayers Group forms PAC (School board and other races)

I'm taking my partisan hat off here for a moment. I recently said that a winning organization is going to make a comeback. The Concerned Taxpayers' Group is back!

From the Argus

Another group has taken the unusual step of forming a political action committee that will, in part, try to influence the May 2 school elections.
The Concerned Taxpayers Group — which last year spoke out against a proposed property tax that officials in the county's five school districts called a "survival millage" — has registered as an official PAC that will concentrate on several races this year, including the races for school boards, according to PAC Chairman Bill Johnston.

First up on the group's agenda is holding 20-minute interviews with candidates running for the school boards in Hartland, Brighton, Pinckney and Howell.

The group plans on announcing its endorsed candidates April 6.
"We feel (with) the school board candidates, this endorsement process has just been forgotten about in the county and voters are really looking for assistance from groups like ours," said Johnston, a Cohoctah Township resident. "What we're really after is finding candidates who are fiscally responsible that wouldn't support unnecessary taxation."

This PAC is sorely needed. While the countywide enhancement millage failed 2-1, that did not end the problem. It was the fiscal irresponsibility that put the schools into the situation iin the first place. All of us in the Concerned Taxpayers' Group understand this, so we formed a PAC about two weeks ago.

Being a Republican is not an advantage and being a Democrat is not a disadvantage to getting the Concerned Taxpayers' Group endorsement. We don't ask party affiliation in our interviews, and our PAC committee is multipartisan. That's not to mention that several Republican school board members pushed for the millage last year, and at least one democrat letter to the editor writer opposed it.

We will conduct our interviews, ask our questions, look at statements and any voting records if applicable. From there, we will make our endorsement decisions.

The Concerned Taxpayers' Group is not going to limit this to schools. All levels of government need to have taxpayers' groups as watchdogs. Fiscal responsibility at all levels needs to be praised. Fiscal mismanagement at all levels needs to be discouraged. I'd like to see our group become a force every May, August, and November.


Count Me Red said...

I don't know what is so unusual about a group getting involved in a school board election. The MEA has been endorsing candidates on their website, funding candidates, putting up signs, and putting feet on the ground for years. What is unusual is that the ordinary citizens of our community will have a little help. I commend your taxpayer group for lending your voice to the process which I think only helps to ensure good, sound candidates get elected. I wish you the best as you take your group forward, and I thank you for caring about citizen issues.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for this group.
If there is no new taxation, how do they propose to solve the school finance mess? Just say no new taxation and that the schools must be fiscally responsible is not nearly enough!

Count Me Red said...

49 other states have it worked out - cut taxes and revenue increases. The school board admits that the Michigan recession has hurt them. Can we be right and 49 other states be wrong? I don't think so. Create a job, dump Granholm.

Anonymous said...

I'm talking about school finance not taxes. Michigan desparately needs to cut taxes but the school budget comes from sales tax and the lottery. Not really a problem excpet that their expenses, namely personnel expenses of health care and retirement are rising double digits and the amount going into the system is staying the same.
If you do not raise the money going in you have to cut retirement and benfits which the very strong unions will not allow to happen. So what's going to give?

Republican Michigander said...

What has to happen is for school board members to start making the hard decisions required to keep the schools afloat. School board members are elected officials and have to report to us voters.

I also support equity in school funding, but the big cities will not allow that to happen.

It's a combination of state and local responsibility.

Anonymous said...

How do you fix it?


First, you have to restructure the pay system that gives current teachers a 6.3% step increase each year, for the first ten years of their employment, and then caps them out at age 35 or so, and only gives them a small raise, if the union can negotiate one, for each year for the rest of their careers. You can actually rasie the bae pay at the bottom end, raise the cap at the top end, but change the structure of the timing of the steps. Instead of every year, steps 2,3,and 4, are one year apart. Steps 5,6,7 are two years apart, and steps 8,9, and 10 are three years apart. That works out to a slaary range good for 21 years rather than 10 years. You raise both the bottom and top, and, because of the restructuring, the middle grows more slowly. It ends up saving about 2 million in the first three years.

Second, you bid out the health care insurance from MESSA to another provider. MESSA can bid on it, but you go with whoever can provide good health care at a reaonsable cost. Blue Cross can do it, so can HAP HMO. HAP is about 5K cheaper than MESSA, and still provides quality care. And you ask for a contribution towards premiums from each employee, so the beign to understand what is happening to everybody else, and are judicisous in their use of health care, and work with wellness programs. that saves just under a million the first year, by the way. Who the insurance provider is is not a legal subject of bargaining. What the type of care is. That is what the Board should be directing for the bargaining table.

Finally, you do have to get the Legislature to address the per-pupil inequality across the state. That is the third leg of the issue. You have to bring all schools closer in equality of funding. That would mean a boost in revenues for Howell.

Jim Pratt
Candidate for Howell School Board

Anonymous said...

you have my vote. Except I can't vote for you. Sorry.
THIS needs to be done yesterday! There does need to be equality in funding but I'm starting to think it will never happen.
MESSA is the perfect place to start but no seems to have the fortitude.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said..." you have my vote. Except I can't vote for you. Sorry.
THIS needs to be done yesterday! There does need to be equality in funding but I'm starting to think it will never happen.
MESSA is the perfect place to start but no seems to have the fortitude."

Jim Pratt replies: If you don't live in this district and can't vote for me, can you help me in my efforts to reach out to those who can? Can you donate enough to buy one radio commerical on WHMI to help? It's just about $30 for each one.

Or can you pick up some of my campaign signs, and walk a neighborhod and talk to people, and ask if they will support making a difference?

Can you volunteer one day to make a difference?

Can you help me on election day by standing near a polling place, and hold a sign supporting me?

Can you pray for the election, that voters choose carefully for waht is best for the future of our kids?

Can you visit my website and leave a positive message on my message board. It's

Can you email a friend or neighbor who does live in Howell, and ask them to support me?

Can you, or your company, write a quick letter of endorsement?

These are all simple requests. And they all would help. You don't have to be a voter here to lend a hand and start making a diffence.

If you believe that one person can make a difference, join me. Stand up with me on election day, and help. I need your help. Our school district needs your help. Our taxpayers need your help. It is time for some postive ideas.

What happens from here is up to you.

Republican Michigander said...

Welcome aboard, Jim

As one of the Concerned Taxpayers' Group members, we are looking forward to interview you and the other candidates this weekend.

In the meantime, feel free to post comments you may have. The more information voters have when it comes to school board candidates, the better our education system will be.