If Rick Snyder ever comes to help you, run away as fast and as far as you can.
Snyder is the right-wing, corporate-hugging governor of Michigan whose extremist anti-worker, anti-government agenda was handed to him by a Koch-funded front group named the Mackinac Center. Included in the package was a doozy of autocratic mischief-making called the Local Government Fiscal Accountability Act. The new law turns Synder into a perverse hybrid of a Soviet czar and a tinhorn banana republic potentate, and it has infuriated the public. Now trying to backpedal, the governor’s new line is that, “It’s about helping communities.”
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Helping? This law allows him to seize control of any city, county, school district, etc. that he decides is in fiscal trouble, authorizing him to appoint an “emergency manager,” which may be a private corporation, to run the entity. This autocratic regent is empowered to cancel labor contracts, repeal the public budget, privatize government assets, dismiss elected officials, and even dissolve the local entity.
This is the kind of “help” that a fox brings to the hen house, so the governor is now being sued by his own astonished citizenry. Snyder’s tyrannical law, they point out, violates the state’s Constitution by usurping the right of local residents to elect their officials. As the director of a community legal group in Detroit puts it, the governor’s designated emergency manager would control all, “including the right to enact or repeal local ordinances.”
You might be thinking, “Thank goodness I don’t live in Michigan.” But if Snyder’s anti-democratic coup succeeds there, you can bet that various Koch-backed right-wing front groups will bring the Michigan Model to your state. For information on the Michigan fight, contact Detroit’s Sugar Law Center: www.sugarlaw.org.
“Michigan Residents Sue Over Law on Emergency Management of Struggling Cities,” The New York Times, June 23, 2011.
“A battery of elected ideologues opens fire on those who serve the public,” The Hightower Lowdown, May 2011.