Your dollar will be funneled into a fund that subsidizes heating bills for those in the state who can’t afford to pay their own tabs. It will raise up to $50 million per year from electric customers statewide.
The bill that allows for this new surcharge was approved 86-21 in the House and 34-4 in the Senate. It was signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Rick Snyder.
When Snyder signed the measure, he told news reporters that it would “provide a long-term solution to help Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens with their home energy and heating needs.”
That sure sounds like a nice sentiment, but since when is it OK to force charitable giving on utility customers who might or might not struggle in their own right to pay for the electricity they personally use?
Commenters on the Michigan Votes website had this to say about the measure:
• “Redistributing the wealth! Total socialism. I wish to choose what charities I contribute to and how much. Not have a mandate from the government.”
• “I already donate to needy causes. All the surcharges that the state wants are BS. I make just over $20,000 a year and am being bled dry by the people in Lansing after insurance, gas tax and other surcharges.”
• “I don’t know about anyone else, but you guys have already drained me dry. I am not rich, but I am not considered to be low income, either. I am disabled and have already had so much taken from me.”
• “I’m trying to raise my kids and the State of Michigan is just making me want to move!”
We find it hard to disagree with these sentiments.
Instead of zapping people with yet another fee or surcharge, why not ask customers if they’d like to have their bills rounded up to the next dollar? Why not ask customers if they would like to donate?
Surely this would generate support from those who choose to help charitable causes, and allow an opt-out option for those who might not have extra money available to give.
As this bill sped through the Legislature, it may be that many people didn’t know about it. But we do now.
Call your local legislator and make your opinion known. It is never too late to question authority.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to email@example.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.