A friend posted a clip from Rachel Maddow titled (on YouTube, anyway) “Michigan is Screwed.”
For further reading on the tax legislation – the one taking $1.7 billion from the elderly, poor, and publicly-minded and giving $1.8 billion in tax breaks to businesses – see this article from the Detroit Free Press. And oh, by the way – that legislation? It’s protected from being repealed by a voter referendum because it contains a $100 appropriation. This is legitimate, Lt. Gov. Calley claims, because it will “be raised eventually to cover the cost of implementing a rewritten tax code.”
But the tax legislation isn’t what’s incensing most people; it’s the possibility of workers and voters losing their democratic rights. Similar situations are taking place in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, as Maddow says; in each state, the newly-elected Republican governments are quickly stripping away the rights of the people in a totally unprecedented – and unforeseen – manner. Yes, Republicans are typically for businesses and against government spending, etc., but taking away workers’ collective bargaining rights? Undermining the very foundation of the country’s system of government – democracy – by passing legislation (the House already has, and the Senate is on the verge of doing so) that would allow the governor to claim any city/town or school district to be in a “state of financial emergency” and, basically, swoop in and take over (replacing the current officials, elected by the people to represent the people’s wishes, with Snyder-selected individuals or corporations). These Snyder-selected officials would have the power to “reject, modify, or terminate the terms of an existing contract” that may have been in existence in the town already. That’s partial control of the economy and the majority of the budget right there. “…or a collective bargaining agreement.” Workers’ rights? Who needs ’em? (Oh, right, the workers. Not that there are many left in Michigan, but still.) The ’emergency manager’ will also have the power to suspend or dismiss elected officials. Guys, this is not okay. If this piece of legislation passes, which it unfortunately probably will, it is very likely that voting citizens in certain towns will lose the right to elect their local government. This goes against every fiber of the foundation of our government – of the people, by the people, for the people… The bill says, and I quote, that the manager will also have the power to “Disincorporate or dissolve the municipal government.”
Now, I mentioned briefly that all these new powers could be held not by an individual, but by a corporation instead. Excuse me? I do not want my town to be taken over by a corporation with only its interests. In what way, shape or form would that be good for anyone other than the business? How is that legal? How is this being allowed?
And how is this not getting the immense amount of national attention that it verily deserves?
Now, to be fair and balanced, it’s also likely that Snyder will use these ’emergency managers’ to swoop in and make positive changes in some corrupt or really far-gone areas that could use the help. As for the tax cuts – pensions are distributed to a large number of Michigan’s population, especially with the age gap increasing, and taxing that isn’t a totally bad idea. However. It makes far more sense (to me, at least) to implement a budget-wide 4% cut, which would eliminate the $1.8 billion deficit without cutting too deeply into any one area.
No politics are perfect – but sometimes, some politics are less perfect than others.
Great breakdown of Snyder’s budget
Official list of budget elements