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Published: Wednesday, 10/16/2002

Posthumus, Granholm square off


DETROIT - Democrat Jennifer Granholm, endorsed in the governor's race by Michigan's two largest teacher unions, can't remember how she voted in 1994 on the ballot proposal that changed the way the state pays for public schools.

Ms. Granholm was challenged twice by Republican Dick Posthumus during the pair's second gubernatorial debate yesterday to say how she voted on the proposal, which he voted for. She did not reply either time.

Afterward, Mr. Posthumus said he didn't think she had even voted on the measure, known as Proposal A. Poll books from Huntington Woods, where Ms. Granholm was living at the time, show she did not vote in the March, 1994, election, Posthumus campaign spokesman Sage Eastman said.

Granholm spokesman Chris De Witt said after the debate that Ms. Granholm remembers voting on the ballot proposal, although he has no records to back that up.

Voters in March, 1994, had a choice of two proposals to change the way public education was financed in Michigan. One essentially lowered property taxes and raised the sales tax to pay for public schools, while the other lowered property taxes and raised the income tax.

The first measure passed, cutting most property taxes nearly in half and raising the sales tax from 4 cents to 6 cents on the dollar. Other taxes and fees were affected as well.

Mr. Posthumus stressed the experience of being a state senator for 16 years and lieutenant governor for four in explaining why he was the best choice for governor.

Ms. Granholm criticized Mr. Posthumus and GOP Gov. John Engler for not doing enough to extend health coverage to low-income Michigan residents. “It's clear in this state that we have dropped the ball in a number of areas,” she said.

Mr. Posthumus said the state has a lower percentage of uninsured than the national average, and has lowered its infant mortality and teen pregnancy rates over the past decade.

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