It’s all about small government…
In an outrageous power grab, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-dominated state Senate passed, and sent back to the House, legislation today that allows Snyder to declare a local city to be in a financial emergency and appoint an emergency manager. That manager can, without anyone else’s approval, cancel contracts, including collective bargaining agreements, force consolidation of schools, townships, cities and counties and, unbelievably, unilaterally remove local elected officials.
Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO, said the bill allows the financial manager to abrogate collective bargaining contracts for five years. “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. In schools, the manager would decide academics or if you have athletics,” Gaffney said.
This is a takeover by the right wing and it’s an assault on democracy like I’ve never seen.
Unbelievably, the bill even allows Snyder to appoint a corporation as the emergency manager. On her MSNBC show last night, Rachel Maddow made clear what is happening:
This is not about a budget. This is about using or fabricating a crisis to push for an agenda that you would never be able to sell under normal circumstances.
Even more outrageous is the fact that Snyder’s budget creates the crisis by eliminating most of the state financial aid from local schools and local governments that many of them will be in dire straits. So, then, as Maddow points out, the governor who created the crisis can declare an emergency and decide what’s best for an entire town. No one can question it because the emergency manager can suspend the elected officials and even remove the town’s incorporation all together.
The state Senate passed the bill by a 26-12 margin today. The legislation now returns to the House, which already had passed it, to approve minor changes made by the Senate.