As the right-wing ideologues step all over the rights of workers, women, and seniors in Indiana, we must also pay attention to what is occurring north of our border in Michigan. According to recent reports from Mother Jones, “A new “emergency” law backed by right-wing think tanks is turning Michigan cities over to powerful managers who can sell off city hall, break union contracts, privatize services—and even fire elected officials.”
Governor Rick Snyder invoked the Public Act 4 allowing him to name an appointee to handle all the finances of a troubled city and do whatever is required to turn them around. They essentially become a ruler of the city, and all democratically elected positions lose their power. How can this be?
In fact, these appointees can eliminate labor contracts, privatize public services, sell off assets the city owns, and even dismiss elected officials. In Pontiac, Michigan, the governor appointed manager fired the city clerk, city attorney, and director of public works. He also is outsourcing several city departments. This manager is putting every city property up for sale, including city hall, the police station, fire stations, water-pumping stations, the library, the golf course, and two cemeteries.
Michigan’s emergency-manager law is the centerpiece of the fiscal program enacted by state republicans after they took over the legislature and governor’s mansion in early 2011. Has Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels endorsed this kind of legislation? How about conservative controlled congress? How about Mike Pence?
These appointed managers only report the governor, so taxpayers have no input. They get to read about the actions via the newspaper. How’s that for democracy?
What’s even more scary is this is very similar to the pro-business legislation recently passed in Indiana by Mitch Daniels and the republican party in regards to “right-to-work”. According to the Mother Jones article,
Foundations affiliated with the Koch brothers have funded ALEC’s reports on state fiscal policy. The State Budget Reform Toolkit and Rich States, Poor States both echo elements of Michigan’s emergency-manager law, encouraging state legislators to target public employees and identify privatization opportunities. The most recent Toolkit report  recommends that states create a “centralized, independent, decision-making body to manage privatization and government efficiency initiatives.”
This is the goal of the right-wing ideologues within the republican party, and you can bet they are implementing similar plans in Indiana. This has nothing to do with deficits –their goal is to privatize government and eliminate unions.
This is why it is so important to inform yourself, and get involved in the process. Your democratic rights, and your input is being taken from you while you are being told something entirely different.
For more on the emergency Public Act 4, ALEC, and the privatization of our public sector going on just a few miles north of us, check out the Mother Jones article titled, “Michigans Hostile Takeover“.