Headlee, Richard H. (Richard Harold), 1930-2004

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Life insurance executive, leader of a citizens tax limitation movement in Michigan, officer of Taxpayers United for Tax Limitation.

From the description of Richard H. Headlee papers, 1976-1992. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419423

Richard H. Headlee was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1930. He gained political experience as an advisor to Michigan Governor George Romney from 1966 until 1968, before returning to private business. He was first named president of a small industrial firm and, in 1972, was selected to be president of the Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Company in Farmington Hills, Michigan. After the failure of the 1976 tax amendment campaign, Headlee was asked to assume the chairmanship of Taxpayers United.

Headlee conducted a vigorous and successful campaign across Michigan and won approval for Proposal E in November 1978. Also called the "Headlee Amendment," Proposal E limited the increase of taxes to the growth of personal income of Michigan residents.

In 1979 the Taxpayers United organization merged with the Taxpayers Federation of Michigan. The new organization was named Taxpayers United Federation, Inc., and its primary purpose was to lobby state legislators in Lansing for a favorable interpretation and implementation of the "Headlee Amendment."

Headlee's political activities continued through the 1980s. He mounted an unsuccesful campaign for governor in 1988 on the Republican ticket. His organization, Taxpayers United, was more succesful, running a number of statewide compaigns to further reduce taxes and government spending and shift power to local governments from the state. Most notable of these was the "Headlee Initiative," a statewide ballot initiative to limit state spending increases to the rate of inflation. The governor and state government and legislature opposed this initiative and, in a controversial decision, the State Board of Canvassers found that enough signatures were invalid to deny the petition's passage. Taxpayers United took the Board of Canvassers to court, and ultimately won, placing the initiative on the ballot in 1992. The initiative became state law after the elections that November.

From the guide to the Richard H. Headlee papers, 1976-1992, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Headlee, Richard H. (Richard Harold), 1930-2004. Richard H. Headlee : commercials, 1982. University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
creatorOf Richard H. Headlee papers, 1976-1992 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Headlee, Richard H. (Richard Harold), 1930-2004. Richard H. Headlee papers, 1976-1992. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith North, Oliver. person
associatedWith Taxpayers United Federation. corporateBody
associatedWith Taxpayers United for Tax Limitation. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Advertising, political
Tax and expenditure limitations
Tax and expenditure limitations--Michigan
Television advertising


Birth 1930-05-16

Death 2004-11-09


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