The Koch Brothers are getting a lot of bang for their buck. While the debacle in Wisconsin has been getting all the headlines, a similar war on unions and the commons is underway in Michigan.
First from David Coates and CBS News:
Michigan lawmakers are on the verge of approving a bill that would enable the governor to appoint “emergency managers” — officials with unilateral power to make sweeping changes to cities facing financial troubles.
Under the legislation, the Michigan Messenger reports, the governor could declare a “financial emergency” in towns or school districts. He could then appoint a manager to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, eliminate services — and even eliminate whole cities or school districts without any public input.
The measure passed in the state Senate this week; the House passed its own version earlier. The two versions of the bill are expected to be reconciled next week, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has said he will sign the bill the bill into law.
Democrats and their allies are decrying the legislation as a power grab and say it’s part of a wider effort taking place in several states, such as Wisconsin, to weaken labor unions.
“It takes every decision in a city or school district and puts it in the hands of the manager, from when the streets get plowed to who plows them and how much they are paid,” said Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO. “This is a takeover by the right wing and it’s an assault on democracy like I’ve never seen.”
Here’s the take of one well-known Michigan native, Michael Moore:
The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.
What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries — and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue — has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.
Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.
In just 8 short weeks he has:
* Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.
* Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!
* Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.