Skip to main content

There goes another one, just like the other one...

As I wrote about in January, the Indiana Senate decisively passed an Emergency Manager bill similar to but different than Michigan's Emergency Manager Law. The vote was 48-1. Last Friday, the Indiana House passed the Emergency Manager bill unanimously, 96-0.

Local governments and school corporations in financial distress could ask a state board to appoint an emergency manager to fix their finances under legislation approved by the Indiana General Assembly Friday.

House Bill 1192 empowers an emergency manager appointed by the Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board to reduce spending, cut payroll and renegotiate contracts without first obtaining the consent of elected officials.

The emergency manager could not raise taxes, but would hold power until the financial distress was resolved.

State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, sponsored the legislation because he said the state's property tax caps have put significant financial pressure on local governments.

It's interesting that, like in Michigan, the state government is strangling local municipalities by either taking away revenue sharing or by limiting how much they can collect in taxes, putting many of them, particularly those in areas hard hit by the recession and a fleeing manufacturing base, in an emergency situation. All that's left to do now is blame the unions.

As I wrote about before, this legislation more closely resembles the prior iteration of Michigan's Public Act 4. However, all it took was for GOP majorities on both houses of the legislature and in the governor's office to make it more anti-democratic, anti-union, and pro-privatization. From my earlier post:

Under the bill, Senate Bill 355, Emergency Managers have the power to, among other things, do the following:
  • Review existing labor contracts
  • Renegotiate existing labor contracts and act as an agent of the political subdivision in collective bargaining.
  • Reduce or suspend salaries of the political subdivision's employees.
  • Enter into agreements with other political subdivisions for the provision of services.

The bill differs in a few significant ways from Michigan's Public Act 4. First, the "political subdivision" must request a designation as "distressed" by filing a petition with the Distressed Unit Appeal Board. In Michigan, a "financial emergency" can be called by the state itself and does not require the municipality or school district to ask first.

Second, it does not allow the Emergency Manager to dismiss the entire elected government or even eliminate the municipality or school district as Michigan's law does. However it does allow them to "assume and exercise the authority and responsibilities of both the executive and the fiscal body of the political subdivision concerning the adoption, amendment, and enforcement of ordinances and resolutions relating to or affecting the fiscal stability of the political subdivision."

Finally, if passed into law, Indiana's Emergency Mangers would report to the chairperson of the Distressed Unit Appeal Board rather than the State Treasurer as in Michigan.

That said, Michigan's Emergency Manager law went through two previous incarnations before it ended up where it is today. If you are in Indiana, I highly suggest you follow this closely. It's a very slippery slope that can lead to anti-democratic disenfranchisement of your poorest residents.

You can also read my extremely comprehensive weekly Emergency Manager news round-up HERE.

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site