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activists in MI capitol
 Union and non-union activists pack the Capitol rotunda.
(Source: MI AFL-CIO)

Michigan progressive activists are planning to take over the Capitol building in Lansing today, and keep the building open over night to protest Gov. Rick Snyder's radical budget.

“The plan is to keep the capitol open over night,” says Lance Enderle, a former Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional district. “It’s our house.”

Enderle says the plan is to bridge Tuesday’s protest against Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposals to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit and to tax retirement pensions with Wednesday’s planned protest to challenge what opponents say is the GOP’s plan to gut the rights of organized labor and put an unfair tax burden on residents in order to give a massive tax break to businesses.

“It is basically to keep the momentum going from today to tomorrow,” Enderle said. “This is something that impacts everyone’s lives. We are just standing up for our rights, like everyone should be doing — Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Tea Partiers. This Emergency Financial Manager bill is a total attack on democracy and our American way of life. That effects everybody. It’s not just a partisan issue. It’s a people issue.”

Enderle and Carney say they have at least 150 people who have committed to stay in the Capitol building after its 5:30 p.m. closing time. If that happens, Capitol officials tell Michigan Messenger that people will be given 10 minutes to vacate the property. Those who do not will likely face expulsion and arrest by Michigan State Police troopers.

Complicating that matter, however, is the fact that Republicans in last year’s budget voted to defund and shut down the state capitol post of the Michigan State Police. As a result, only two uniform officers are stationed in the building, along with a bevy of Sergent-at-Arms staff. MSP will likely have to call officers in from road patrols in order to safely remove protesters from the building. There is a possibility that MSP could call in Lansing Police to assist in such an action.

This follows today's protest by more than 1,000 seniors whose pensions Snyder wants to tax, and previews tomorrow's rally that's likely to bring out thousands more.

Snyder's far-right, radical budget proposal would raise taxes on the middle class and working poor 31% while cutting taxes for corporations a whopping 86%. It would decimate services, cutting state aid to schools, universities and local governments.  

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