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UTILITY ORDERED TO STOP CONTRIBUTIONS

 UTILITY ORDERED TO STOP CONTRIBUTIONS
 DETROIT, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Edison (NYSE: DTE) today


was enjoined in Wayne County Circuit Court from using ratepayer funds in any fashion to support Proposal C, the so-called "Cut and Cap" property tax question on the Nov. 3 ballot.
 Circuit Judge Louis Simmons Jr. issued the order on the complaint of 14 Wayne County ratepayers who argued that their money was being diverted by Detroit Edison to support a ballot proposal they didn't agree with and didn't support.
 James W. Burdick, attorney for the ratepayers, said the court's ruling confirmed that his clients were being irreparably injured and their First Amendment rights violated by the utility's contributions to the Proposal C campaign.
 The court, in ruling in favor of the ratepayers, agreed that a utility is prohibited from spending captured ratepayer income on political causes.
 Burdick's clients are "captured ratepayers" because they are all Wayne County residents who are obliged to buy their electricity from Detroit Edison, the only power company serving their cities.
 Burdick said Detroit Edison had already contributed $75,000 to Proposal C and their attorneys told him they had been planning to contribute another $25,000 before today's ruling.
 "The plaintiffs successfully argued that the kind of trickle-down economics on which Proposal C is based is based on the flawed assumption that a corporate tax break will stimulate the economy, at best a guess on the part of John Engler, a self-ordained economics guru," said Burdick.
 "That theory hasn't worked for the last 12 years for America; how is it suddenly going to succeed in Michigan?" Burdick said.
 "Once again, corporations would profit at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer," he added, "or Michigan's entire educational system would crumble if Proposal C passes."
 Burdick said the tens of thousands of Detroit Edison ratepayers are protected by the Constitution from having their money diverted to political causes they don't agree with and don't support.
 "The United States Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court and, most recently, the Supreme Appellate Court of the state of New York have all ruled that utilities cannot compel individuals to support political causes they don't want to support, and that's exactly what was going on here," said Burdick.
 -0- 10/14/92
 /CONTACT: James W. Burdick, 313-335-5000/
 (DTE) CO: Detroit Edison Company ST: Michigan IN: UTI SU:


SM -- DE037 -- 0043 10/14/92 16:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 14, 1992
Words:400
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