Michigan: The Extreme Takeover Edition
(The Loop 21) — In a power grab that would make The Godfather’s Don Corleone blush, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) recently signed some fairly radical legislation into law that grants unprecedented power to non-elected officials. The new law will have municipalities deemed to be in financial crisis appointed an emergency financial manager endowed with the ability to break labor agreements, sell off public city assets, cut the wages of public employees and privatize city services. These managers could strip elected public leaders of their powers, and even dissolve entire towns and school districts, all without any accountability to the public. Michigan’s “small government” conservatives concerned about excessive government intrusion sure have a funny way of showing it.
“This law takes our form of local democracy and throws it out. Dictatorial powers are given to managers with no checks or balances,” Mark Gaffney, Michigan AFL-CIO President, explained to theLoop21. Supporters, however, claim it is the only way to keep troubled cities and schools from sliding into bankruptcy.Detroit alone is dealing with a budget deficit projected to climb to $1.2 billion by fiscal 2015. Emergency managers, they argue, need the ability to void costly union contracts and outsource city services.