Spring Fling '23 Planning Under Way

HCDP News for March 07, 2023

In This Email

  • Party News

    • NEW: Spring Fling '23 Planning Under Way

    • NEW: WalMart's Dark Store Tax Dodge

    • NEW: Fix the Electoral College

    • NEW: Good Things Happening in Lansing

  • Upcoming Events

    • NEW: Campaign & Community Events

Party News

Spring Fling '23 Planning Under Way

It's that time of year! The planning team has met, and things are getting organized for another Spring Fling. Start thinking Spring, and mark June 10th on your calendar for our annual get together.

We'll have more information on the event as we get closer to June 10th.

We will be running a silent auction as a fundraiser during the Spring Fling, as we've done in past years. If you'd like to donate an item for auction, or have ideas for donations please email Barb Turuc at [email protected].

If you'd like to place an ad in our annual program please contact Steve Blackburn at [email protected].


WalMart's Dark Store Tax Dodge

WalMart's decision to seek a reduction in it's property taxes in the Michigan Tax Tribunal, despite its signed agreement with the city of Houghton, could result in a significant impact not only to the city, but to other local entities that receive funding through property taxes. Walmart is seeking to have its taxes devalued under the "dark store" theory. This theory, first used in Michigan in 2013, provides for significantly lower taxes for a retailer than the previously prevailing "highest and best use" theory. Use of the dark store approach has led to significant reductions in tax revenue with some of the hardest hit municipalities being here in the Upper Peninsula.

Over the past 10 years a number of bills have been introduced to rein in the use of the "dark store" approach. At least two have passed the Michigan House only to be stalled in the Senate. The approach still remains legally viable.

In WalMart's case they are seeking a Houghton store valuation of around $20 per square foot. Other corporate retailers that have gone through the Tribunal have reached settlement offers of about $40. By comparison, store valuations in Wisconsin average $80 per square foot.

The WalMart case has drawn national attention. Progressive radio host Thom Hartmann has discussed it in his Hartmann Report.

At our meeting last week it was decided that the HCDP will draft a position paper on the WalMart situation. Look for more about this issue in the coming weeks.

Fix the Electoral College

Here is a message from the Michigan Democratic Party:

The Michigan Democratic Party supports the state legislature enacting National Popular Vote here in Michigan and we need your help!

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Every vote should count equally in presidential elections and the candidate with the most votes should be elected president.

  2. Enacting National Popular Vote will apply the concept of “one person, one vote” to our presidential elections.

  3. National Popular Vote is supported by a broad state coalition including the MDP, Common Cause Michigan, League of Women Voters of Michigan, Mothering Justice, People for the American Way, Voters Not Politicians, NAACP Michigan State Conference, Stand Up America, the ACLU Michigan, and more!

The Michigan House of Representatives has previously passed the National Popular Vote bill several years ago, but the bill died in the state Senate that year.

The U.S. Constitution gives each state legislature the exclusive power to decide how its electoral votes are awarded. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia (with 195 electoral votes) have already enacted the National Popular Vote Compact into law – and Michigan should be next!

Five of our 46 Presidents have come into office without winning the most popular votes nationwide. The National Popular Vote bill will guarantee that the President is the candidate who received the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Good Things Happening in Lansing

So many good things are happening in the Michigan legislature that it can be hard to keep track. Here are highlights from just the last week: 

  • The state Senate passed an LGBTQ rights bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination. The bill now goes to the state House. More info...

  • In two 58-50 votes, House lawmakers voted both to repeal the 1931 law making it a four-year felony to perform abortions in Michigan except for life-threatening pregnancies as well as a ban on medicine, drugs or substances that could be used to induce a miscarriage. The bills now move to the state Senate. More info...

  • Governor Whitmer celebrated the passage of the Lowering MI Costs plan through both houses of the legislature. The governor has called the plan a "$1 billion dollar tax break for Michigan working families and retirees". The bill phases out the retirement tax over four years and brings Michigan's Working Tax Credit match of the EITC up to 30% from 6%. As passed the bill does NOT include the governor's requested $180 inflation relief check for every tax filer. More info...

  • As the state grapples with the aftermath of the shooting at Michigan State - the second school mass shooting in Michigan in 15 months - lawmakers have continued hearings on a number of bills aimed at curbing gun violence. The proposals would tighten current gun regulations and include universal background checks, red flag requirements and safe gun storage regulations. More info...

  • Democratic lawmakers announced a bill allowing Michigan to join the National Popular Vote Compact. The Compact aims to make the Electoral College vote align with the popular vote for President (See the message from the Michigan Dems above). More info...

 There is even more going on, including the passage of a spending bill with funding enabling Ford's upcoming battery manufacturing plant in Marshall, and the introduction of bipartisan legislation that abolishes juvenile life without parole. This Democratic led legislature is wasting no time as they work to improve the lives of Michiganders.

Upcoming Events

Campaign and Community Events

Wed. 3/8: 

  • The Houghton City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The Meeting Agenda can be found in the Searchable Document Center of the Council's website.

 Fri 3/10 

  • Friday is the anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman, the former slave who worked to free other slaves through the Underground Railroad. National Harriet Tubman Day has been celebrated on March 10th every year since 1990, when the day was recognized by the US Congress and proclaimed by then president George Bush. Find more information on Harriet Tubman and National Harriet Tubman Day here.