That's Rachel Maddow, describing with Naomi
Wolfe Klein (apologies to both for the brain slip) the latest shock doctrine in practice. While all eyes are on the drama in Wisconsin, Michigan's Republican governor Rick Snyder is invoking "radical new powers."
Perhaps lost in the Wisconsin shuffle is the story ofwhat exactly is happening in Michigan. Newly elected Republican governor, Rick Snyder, is set to pass one of the most sweeping, anti-democratic pieces of legislation in the country – and almost no one is talking about it
Snyder’s law gives the state government the power not only to break up unions, but to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed “Emergency Managers” in their stead. But that’s not all – whole cities could be eliminated if Emergency Managers and the governor choose to do so. And Snyder can fire elected officials unilaterally, without any input from voters. It doesn’t get much more anti-Democratic than that.
Except it does. The governor simply has to declare a financial emergency to invoke these powers – or he can hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city. That’s right, a private corporation can declare your city in a state of financial emergency and send in its Emergency Manager, fire your elected officials, and reap the benefits of the ensuing state contracts.
Both chambers of the Michigan legislature have passed this bill. Under the governor's authority, local officials can be fired, city and locality contracts broken, city assets seized and sold, services eliminated, school districts—entire city governments—eliminated. All under the authority of a governor with no public participation or oversight.
“It takes every decision in a city or school district and puts it in the hands of the manager, from when the streets get plowed to who plows them and how much they are paid,” said Michigan State AFL-CIO president Mark Gaffney. “In schools, the manager would decide academics or if you have athletics.”
“This is a takeover by the right wing and it’s an assault on democracy like I’ve never seen,“ Gaffney said.
Welcome to the new American dictatorship. Of course, Snyder's own budget will so starve cities that he can create the fiscal emergency in them that will allow him to declare the emergency and seize control. But that's just the beginning. His budget's tax plan slashes corporate taxes by 81 percent, and hikes taxes on the working poor.
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent, under Snyder’s plan:
Business taxes would be cut by 86 percent from an estimated $2.1 billion in FY 2011 to $292.7 million in FY 2013, the first full year of the proposed tax changes…Taxes on individuals from the state income tax would rise by $1.7 billion or nearly 31 percent, from an estimated $5.75 billion in FY 2011 to $7.5 billion in FY 2013, the first full year of the tax changes.
As the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found, the practical upshot of Snyder’s tax increases is to place even more of a burden on Michigan’s poorest residents, who will see a bigger hike than those at the upper end of the income scale.
Here's what that looks like in a picture.
Rachel Maddow equated Snyder's move to a "dystopian leftist novel from the future." That's not far off, if you throw in a dash of Stalin and Mussolini. Was this what all those "populist" Tea Party protesters had in mind?
Update: Muskegon Critic has more on the corporate tax giveaway here. (H/T fiver)