Michigan Veteran Trust Fund Amendment, Proposal C (1996)
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The proposal sought to establish the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund in the Michigan State Constitution.
|Proposal C (Veteran Trust Fund Amendment)|
Official results via: The Michigan Manual 2009-2010
Text of measure
The language that appeared on the ballot:
Proposal C would add Sections 37, 38, and 39 to Article 9 of the Michigan Constitution, to establish within the Constitution the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and Trust Fund Board of Trustees, and to allow the use of the principal and earnings of the Trust for only those purposes authorized by the Board.
The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) was first established in statute by Public Act 4 of 1943, which created a postwar reserve fund for service veterans and dependents. Public Act 9 of 1946 amended the law to establish the MVTF Board of Trustees, and to require $50 million to remain in the MVTF as a trust under the supervision of the Board. The primary purpose of the MVTF is to provide temporary assistance to the State's veterans and dependants during times of personal emergency. The MVTF also supports a Veterans Tuition Grant Program to assist in college tuition payments for children of Michigan veterans who were killed, died as a result of service-connected disabilities, or are judged to be 100% disabled as a result of injuries sustained while in the armed forces of the United States.
The funding for the Emergency Grant Program, the Veterans Tuition Grant Program, and the administrative costs of the MVTF is derived solely from the yearly earnings of the Trust FUnd and therefore is subject to interest rate fluctuations. From fiscal year (FY) 1985-86 through FY 1994-95, total MVTF expenditures amounted to $50,198,988.
The corpus of the Trust Fund was liquidated through statutory action in 1959 and 1976. Also, in 1976, $3 million of Trust Fund money was allocated to a special property tax deferment loan program. After a series of repayments, the MVTF was restored to $49,000,036 by a lump sum appropriation of $11,549,700 in 1994. Since that payment, the Governor determined that $1,166,200 still needed to be repaid as a result of the $3 million transfer in 1976. The Governor recommended that this balance be paid back in FY 1996-97, and that repayment is contained within Public Act 363 of 1996.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment
On March 21, 1995, the Legislature passed House Joint Resolution H, which placed on the Statewide ballot a proposed constitutional amendment establishing the MVTF in the Michigan Constitution and containing language that authorizes the MVTF Board of Trustees to administer the MVTF. The proposal also states, "The board of trustees shall not authorize the expenditure or transfer of a trust fund asset, interest, or earnings unless the board of trustees determines in its discretion and by a majority vote that the expenditure or transfer is for the benefit of veterans or their spouses or dependents." Supporters of the proposed amendment believe that placing the MVTF in the Michigan Constitution, in addition to its current statutory designation, will better protect the MVTF from potential diversions of its principal or interest earnings by future legislatures or governors to purposes other than those authorized by the MVTF Board of Trustees. The Governor, however, still would have the power to appoint members of the Board of Trustees.
If a majority of the voters cast "yes" votes on Proposal C, the Constitution will be amended.
- List of Michigan constitutional amendment votes from 1966-2008
- Official election results listed in The Michigan Manual 2009-2010