Over the past month or so, the nation’s gaze was fixed on Wisconsin and the showdown there between pro-labor, pro-consumer protesters and conservative policymakers. In the meantime, while no one was looking, Michigan‘s own Republican governor and legislature have been introducing numerous bills aimed at stripping individual rights and protecting corporations.
Governor Rick Snyder, who ran as a common-sense moderate Republican, and the conservative legislature have already passed a law that could be used to take power away from municipal governments and put it in the hands of a “city manager” or corporate entity. These “emergency managers” would then have the power to invalidate collective-bargaining agreements with teachers and other public employees.
Unfortunately, this appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Governor Snyder has proposed cutting corporate tax rates while increasing taxes on the poor and elderly, saying these groups need to “share the sacrifice.” Other bills would extend legal immunity for defective and dangerous sidewalks, extend governmental immunity, and at least two bills that would limit the rights of victims to sue for medical malpractice.
Governor Synder’s plan seems to be clear: protect and enrich corporations at the expense of ordinary people. If this seems unfair to you, I encourage you to take action by visiting the Capitol tomorrow, March 16, 2011, and by contacting your State Representative and Senator.