The Governor’s new “Emergency Powers.” The Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act (Public Act 4) is now in force. To learn more this law, and how it endangers the assets of you township, village, city, or school district, Click here. To learn how it’s playing out for the Governor’s first municipal victim, Benton Harbor, as reported by Rachel Maddow. Click here.
Viewpoint: Emergency manager law threatens Michigan’s future By Mary Valentine, former state representative.
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 4:53 AM by The Muskegon Chronicle
What can an emergency manager do? Strip local elected officials of all authority. Reject, modify or terminate the terms and conditions of an existing contract. Lock elected or appointed officials out of their offices. Terminate the terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement. Apply for a loan. Order millage elections. Consolidate or eliminate departments. Sell off assets. The EM can go so far as to dissolve the municipal government — and more — without the input of any local official or citizen. Should this happen in your community; your voice will be silenced. Who pays this EM? The local unit of government. How much do they cost? There is no limit. Detroit Public School’s EM costs $400,000 a year. Benton Harbor must pay their EM $11,000 a month. The average income of the residents of Benton Harbor is $10,000 a year. The emergency manager law is a 34-page public act….that this law has the potential to strip local control from every unit of government in this state….Why, then has the state trained over 400 emergency managers?….The city council in Benton Harbor has already had its power stripped by its emergency manager, Joe Harris….Here is what Mr. Harris had to say: “The fact is that the city manager is now gone. I am now the city manager. I replaced the financial manager. I am now the city manager and the financial manager. I am the city manager, the financial manager, the mayor, and the city commissioners and I don’t need them.” There you have it. Michigan’s new future.
Michigan’s Governor & taxes: Protection business, cuts and taxes for ordinary people. Click here for more from The New York Times. Gov. Snyder’s plan to cut business taxes and increase taxes on individuals – including a new state tax on pensions. To access a pdf file copy of the Governor’s proposed budget for 2012 & 2013, Click here. To view some details of the proposed pension tax, Click here.
Local fiscal health info available
Munetrix™ is a web based information source for municipal governments. It’s designed to give easy-to-understand access to sometimes confusing financial information. The tool allows for building long-term financial forecasts and trend analysis including fiscal indicator scores, best-practice benchmarking and peer group comparisons. Munetrix uses the State Fiscal Distress Indicator System . As an individual, you can click on “Directories” tab at the top of the web page and look up the fiscal status of your township, village, city, or school district.The company notes: “Assigning a single value to identify the fiscal health of a municipality can be problematic. The Fiscal Indicator score should be viewed as a coarse estimate. Other areas of a community’s fiscal data should be understood before making a final determination. Although the State of Michigan Fiscal Indicator scoring system has come under much criticism, healthy communities tend to have low scores and distressed communities tend to have high scores. We encourage citizens to get involved and contact their local government officials to fully understand their community’s fiscal health.” To look up your local government, Click here. From the information available, the only high risk entity is the Village of Elberta. On a scale of 1 to 9, it has a score of 8 (higher than Benton Harbor). Other villages score: Honor 3, and Thompsonville 1, Beulah 1, Benzonia 1; information on Lake Ann not available. The City of Frankfort scores 2. No Benzie County Townships are rated as high-risk.
Republican bills target workers If you have any doubt that Michigan’s workers are under the gun, check out the 40 bills proposed in the Michigan legislature since Jan. that affect Michigan workers (all workers, public employees, teachers, etc.). To read the purpose and status of these bills, click here
Under Republicans, no job creation yet
From Mark Brewer, Michigan Democratic Party Chair: “. . . .The Governor hasn’t been “reinventing” Michigan. He’s been ruining Michigan. Snyder and legislative Republicans have not passed one piece of legislation that helps create jobs…. The Governor himself even told reporters. . . “Next year, let’s focus on job creation.” Next year? We need jobs now. Watch our new video the learn the truth about the first three months under Governor Snyder and the Republicans. [They]… want to cut public education when 150 school districts are already on the brink of bankruptcy. They plan to close 21 Michigan State Police posts, which will jeopardize public safety. And they want to raise taxes on seniors, middle-class families, and low-wage workers – all so they can pay for a record $2 billion giveaway to big corporations, insurance companies, big banks, and wealthy CEOs. Watch our videoand share with 10 of your friends. … voters need to know the truth. … It’s time for us to focus on putting people back to work in Michigan….