Editor's note: Commissioner Lennox is co-chairman of Reinvent Michigan, which advocates for passage of Proposal 1
To the Journal Editor:
The debacle over finalizing a state government budget underscores the reason why Proposal 1, a state constitutional convention, must be passed.
Our leaders in Lansing promised they would pass a budget by July 1. That deadline came and went, and it wasn't until this week, some two months after the original deadline, that a budget agreement was reached by legislative leaders and the governor.
But a promise is a promise. And I doubt few Michiganders would receive a two-month extension from their boss after failing to meet a critical work deadline, as our legislators did.
This charade, which has been repeated year after year over the last decade, illustrates why Lansing is fundamentally incapable of fixing itself. The change our great state so desperately needs won't come from within the halls of government.
With a constitutional convention, good-government reforms could be enacted to prevent future budget debacles and state government shutdowns.
Notable outside-the-box examples include changing the commencement of the fiscal year from Oct. 1 to July 1, requiring both houses of the Legislature to pass a balanced budget before taking up any other business and docking the pay of legislators for each day the budget is late.
Here's another discussion-starter: The dissolution of the Legislature and immediate, parliamentary-style snap elections when a budget cannot be passed. This would give a much-needed popular mandate to one side of the budget debate, and force action.
It is clear that the status-quo isn't working anymore.
The only practical mechanism to right the ship of state is a constitutional convention.
It would allow for the people to take back their government and circumvent the dysfunctional place in Lansing otherwise known as the Capitol.
Dennis Lennox, Cheboygan County drain commissioner