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Taking office on January 1, 2011 Michigan
Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law
changes that have deeply divided partisan
lines among state residents.
In fact for Michiganders who aren't a part of the top 15% in wealth earners club, our state GOP leaders tended this year, to enact laws and policies that represent the few, instead of a majority of Michigan estimated 9 Million citizens.
This year, Michigan residents have witnesses -either directly or indirectly- a record 320 measures passed into law, which haven't improved their individual economic conditions over a year ago. Let's highlight Michigan's GOP year in review, shall we.
Governor Rick Snyder promised change during the campaign against former Democratic Candidate, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. Michigan voters elected Snyder into office on November 3, 2010 and by our state laws, he took the oath of office on January 1, 2011.
Next, new Republican members of our state House and Senate Chambers ascended to their elected seats, promising similar "change" in the laws they would enact.
The results of Michigan's 2010 elections allowed those GOP legistators to unilateral control lawmaking areas of state governmental functions. With such, "change" was indeed was on its' way.
One of the first measures that caused a bitter infighting between Michigan's GOP leaders and its electorate in February 2010 is the battle over changing Public Act 72 to Public Act 4 and the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal budget.
We will highlight selected news article, published by ROJS News over 2011.
"Protests against Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder (R) Fiscal State Budget Proposal started at Michigan Capital Building on February 22nd.
An estimated 1000 protesters packed both inside and outside Michigan executive offices, in the state House of Representative gallery and the rotunda to state their disagreement with Governor Snyder cuts to services and job killing tax hikes to middle and lower class Michiganders.
Cindy, a retiree from the former GM Truck Plant in Pontiac, Michigan-UAW 594 came out to support the reasoning behind the protest and express her disappointment in Governor Snyder taxing all pensions, 401K and IRA accounts in his 2011 budget. She believes that Snyder’s proposal would hurt Michigan small businesses by impacting retirees to spend income on services, thus hurting job opportunities in our state.
“I am living on a pension and I support the people that came out to support this business,” Cindy stated. “It is false that one can grow businesses without customers and taking away our pension with increased taxes, take away the customers from these small businesses in Michigan.”
Cindy also expressed her disappointment in Governor Snyder ending Michigan’s Homestead Property Tax Credit, increasing taxes on the middle and lower classes.
“It's (the Snyder Budget) is a tax increase," Cindy cited. The same with theHomestead Property Tax Credit, it is a tax increase. You cannot grow something by starving it and killing it. That is what they are doing to the businesses in Michigan."
Snyder's $1.2 billion in permanent spending cuts spreads the pain around, in a state that held the highest unemployment rate in the nation for over two years. Michigan's budget year cuts, that starts October 1st would also include, if passed:Not one Michigander that weren't incorporated as a C or S corporation were spared. Even Michigan's budding film industry that provided 3,000 related jobs under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) previously administration, where handed a "get of out town" one way ticket out of Michigan.
Only Michiganders that that would be spared Governor Snyder's 'axe' would be Michigan's largest corporations. Snyder's budget would save large businesses $1.8 billion in state mandated tax by switching from Michigan Business Tax to a new 6 percent tax on corporate income. That cut is larger than the $1.5 billion he originally said the switch would cost.
"It is estimated that 3000 jobs have been created in Michigan since the Film Industry Incentive was first passed with the support of former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D). Supporters of the incentive believe that the move by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to cut the program is an effort to not support an effort created by the former Democratic Governor.
Within the ‘Draconian’ cuts in Gov. Snyder’s proposed budget, he supports eliminating the current tax credits for production companies and allocating $25 million in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for new incentives. Filmmakers say $25 million is too little to keep the industry growing in Michigan.
Last year alone, the state paid out $60 million in refundable tax credits to production companies.
Edward Stencil, a film industry international sales executive and protester the Lansing Capitol building on Tuesday, February 22, told Reach Out Job Search News that Snyder’s proposal will hurt bringing much need job opportunities Michigan.
“I am not a Democrat or a Republican, I consider myself a citizen of the United States, a resident of Michigan and a Michigander," Edward cited. "It is about people and about jobs…the Michigan Film Incentive program, up to a week ago was creating investment in Michigan, have created up to 3000 jobs in Michigan and another 3000 jobs were going to be created by Raleigh Studios which is now in doubt if they are going to stay.”Even actor, award winner and owner of the Chelsea (Michigan) based Purple Rose Theatre Jeff Daniels was disheartened by Gov. Snyders cuts to the film industry.
Daniels said Snyder told him privately that he didn't want to eliminate the incentives and discussed reductions in the current rate, which is up to 42%, and asked him what effect reductions would have.
"It's really disheartening," Daniels said of Snyder's budget plan. "It's not what he told me privately, so to be honest, I guess he's a politician after all. Say one thing, do another."But, the GOP plans were worst than cuts to Michigan's Film Incentive Credits. Read what else they did to the state K-12 public school system.
"Snyder has proposed a new $300-per-pupil cut on top of a $170-per-pupil cut from the current fiscal year that will not be restored.
Last week, the Republican controlled Senate passed a budget with a reduced $170-per-pupil cut on top of the existing $170-per-pupil cut that would not be restored.
The GOP controlled House, has yet to vote on school cut funding but, considering a vote they passed on May 4th on other parts of Snyder’s budget, it would appears K-12 school funding is in jeopardy."Michigan's Democratic Legislators fought hard, with little to no control of the outcome, due to their minority status in the state House and Senate to restore the Public School Funding slash, with no success.
The education budget has been a hot-topic since massive cuts to state based per-pupil funding was slashed to just $300 per student by recent law. These actions were passed by the GOP controlled state House and Senate, and then quickly signed by Gov. Snyder, despite a projected $900 million dollar surplus in the School Aid Fund, on June 21st.
Many legislators, school employees and community members believed education would be spared cuts in 2012 budget, with the noted surplus, but it was not.
Instead, the Republican-led legislature and Gov. Snyder voted to add college and university funding to the School Aid Fund, which wasn’t the original intend of the fund. In addition, they voted and passed cuts in the amount of $470 dollar per-pupil out of K-12 funding.
Up to 30 individuals attended the press conference to show their support for K-12 funding. Some of the participants were brought to tears during the Representatives’ statements to the media.The in the second half of 2011, the worst impacts felt from of GOP-led style Michigan government, came in the form of Public Act #4, unlimited charter schools, cuts to public employee benefits, eliminating 40,000 women and children from the state cash assistance program and more.
Meanwhile, in Michigan the state Senate passed a bill on March 9th, that would appoint an “Emergency Financial Manager” (in Public Act #4) to any city, locality, county, school district and township which could at will, nullify any union based contracts and undo the elected results of any local election, in the event of a declared ‘financial emergency’ by Governor (R).
Two other matters of importance is that the “Emergency Financial Manager” could be an individual and/or a corporation with no limits on state based tax payer funds the EMF would be paid for their services.
Michigan Senate majority Republicans beat back 20 amendments by Democrats, including one that would limit any emergency financial manager's compensation to no more than the governor's $159,300 salary.
The 26-12 vote capped two days of debate, punctuated by protests from union supporters in the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday, March 8th. All Republicans voted for it; all Democrats voted against.
A similar but slightly different bill was passed in the Michigan state House two weeks ago. It is expected that the two bills versions will be coordinated quickly and passed by Governor Snyder by early next week.The Lake Michigan community of Benton Harbor, with a high African-American populace that yearly earned income level averages $10,000 a year was the first city to feel the wrath of Michigan's Public Act #4.
The first causality of Governor (R) “Emergency FinancialManager” (EFM) law is the predominately African-American-Lake Michigan shore community of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
On April 18th, Snyder solely appointed a EFM to essentially take over the city, after he deemed thatBenton Harbor to be in “financial crisis.”
Snyder's state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager, , has the power to void union contracts, remove elected officials, dissolve local elective authority completely and replace it with the authority of the Snyder through the EFM. Public workers will be being forced into concessions on their union rights, hereby, gutting bargained contract negotiations and eliminating jobs.
Under what is called "Financial Martial Law", Benton Harbor city officials can still call meetings to order, approve of the meeting minutes, and adjourn a meeting. Other city governmental authority duties, including managing financial manner, will be under the EFM and Governor Snyder rule. Also, those same elected city officials can be removed by EFMJoseph Harris at anytime.MSNBC news anchor Rachel Maddow on April 18th informed American's watching her program, what Benton Harbor meant to its' residents, in wonderful fashion:
Regardless of the ill-effects of Public Act 4, Governor Snyder and his merry gang of Republican leaders stood course with their plans to "reform Michigan". Even to the point of Gov. Snyder overall performance rating falling in the meantime, like a ton of bricks.
A2 Politico.com reported on June 1stthat as Florida’s Rick Scott sits at 29% favorability rating according to Quinnipac and Ohio’s John Kasichrating of 33%. Both governor are leading contenders for title of the most unpopular governor in America, according to Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey.
Meanwhile, Gov. Snyder’s approval rating is neck-and neck, tied with neighboring state chief executive John Kasich. Snyder is struggling with a 33 percent approval rating, according to a March 2011 Public Policy Polling survey.
Lansing polling firm EPIC-MRA found that 60% of those polled gave the governor a negative job rating in in a recent survey conducted from April 27 through May 3rd. Participants of the poll included 600 likely voters in 2012 general elections.
This number is up from the last such poll, completed by the firm in February, in which Snyder received a negative job rating of 36 percent, said Bernie Porn, president of EPIC-MRA to State News.com.
Snyder’s drop in approval ratings are falling out of grace, from all political sides in Michigan. The EPIC-MRA poll cited some Republicans and a majority number of Democrats and independents gave Snyder a negative job rating.
Specifically, 83% of Democrats, and 64% of Independents feel that Snyder’s current job performance is not in line with their views on what is required to fix Michigan’s woes. In addition, 38% of Republicans feel the governor is doing a negative job.But for Gov. Snyder Michiganders opinions to change his way of thinking. No way, not the "Tough Nerd" he claims to be.
Snyder in March 2011 responded to news of growing voter dissatisfaction in his job performance.
"Governor Rick Snyder (R) is losing popularly at a alarming rate among Michiganders, just shy of one year after being sworn into the office.
Worst than numbers themselves, Gov. Snyder approval ratings have plunged faster than his previous Republican or Democratic officials, within Michigan's highest elected office.
Less than 20% of Michigan residents believe Gov. Rick Snyder is doing an 'excellent' or 'good' job running the state, according to the survey released on this week from Michigan State University.
Snyder's near first year ending approval ratings are significantly lower than former Governor's Jennifer Granholm (D) or John Engler (R) at the same time in office. The first year of Engler's term in 1995-96, his "Excellent" or "Good" rated performance was 50.6%. Granholm's first year rating in 2002-03 of 48.7% nearly triples Gov. Snyder's fall 2011 approval rating overall.The deep decline in Snyder's job performance among Michigander help lead a event that hadn't taken place in the state since 1983. A successful recall vote against former Republican State Represenative, Paul Scott (Grand Blanc).
"If this update from former candidate for Republican National Committee chair is correct, the people of the Grand Blanc community have defeated Michigan House Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc), in their effort to remove him from his current position.
Wayne Isconservative BradleyAnd even after Gov. Snyder's recall attempt failed to gather the minimum of 805,000 signatures in September 2011, Michiganders are gearing up for another fight in 2012.
Update at 11:58 PM EST:
The Detroit News has reported that (R-Grand Blanc) have officially conceded the recall race against him.
The Detroit News has reported that (R-Grand Blanc) have officially conceded the recall race against him.
Campaign to recall Michigan Governor’s Rick Snyder (R) has fallen short of the 807,000 or 25% of the registered voters participating in the state’ November 3, 2011 election required to place a recall vote against the Governor on the February 2012 primary ballot.
With low fundraising numbers, the organization wasn’t able to place radio or television advertising necessary for communications to reach as estimated 7.4 Million registered voters’, according to the latest data from Michigan’s Secretary of State office during 2008 general election.
"First confirmed on ROJS Radio Sunday, December 18th, a newPolitical Action Committee (PAC) Michigan Rising plans to take up another recall attempt against Gov. Rick Snyder (R) starting in April 2012.
Bruce Fealk, editor of the Rochester Citizen confirmed during a executive interview on ROJS Radio, the group is working organizing an effective ground campaign within the next four months. The effort is in preparation for a petition language approval clarity hearing before the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.
Appearing before the elected official home County Board of Commissioners for petition language approval, is the first step required by Michigan Recall Procedures."Sadly, renewed efforts to recall Gov. Snyder next year, will not be in time to save 40K plus Michigan children and single mothers, public employees and their domestic partners, state unemployed job seekers and Pontiac's Firefighters necessary income and benefits to maintain stability in their daily lives.
The Michigan’s Legislature, back in session from a nearly five week paid time off summer recess period, swiftly took action to end state based assistance benefits for up to (41,000) women and their dependent children on Wednesday, August 24th.
Starting October 1st, welfare recipients will be subject to a 48-month cap on assistance benefits programs.
Marian Kramer, a leader at the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, said the legislative action would lead to more people squatting in vacant homes without the resources to buy food or the other necessities of life.
"For them to consciously pass something like this, given the economic crisis we're in, just shows how much they hate that section of the working class," she said. "But let some corporations go up and ask for tax breaks, and they'll break their necks to be lap dogs for them."
Advocates for poor people were critical of the changes, which they said will cause a spike in poverty and slow Michigan's economic recovery.
"It is highly unfortunate and counterproductive to the state's future economy to casually dismiss the economic reality of thousands of Michigan children," said Tom Hickson, vice president of the Michigan Catholic Conference.
Just before Michigan’s unemployed job seekers are subject to a first-ever decrease in state jobless benefits claimant weeks from 26 to 20 starting January 1, 2012; Republicans in the state legislature proved their attacks on those out of work by no fault of their own, aren't over yet.
A GOP-led super-majority in the state Senate engaged in a heated debate with Democrats on December 1st on restricting Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) system program, to pay off the program $3.1 billion debt.
Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) demanded that the entire 204 pages of Senate Bill 0806 be read on the floor, to protest the measure major changes in how Michigan's UI system is funded.
The legislation passed on a strict party line vote by a 23-11 margin. Whitmer called the move to backdoor legislate in changes to Michigan's UIA system, without the public full knowledge 'baloney'.
If passed by the GOP-led Michigan House, UIA system changes would include a 'suitable work' requirement requiring claimants to take a job if it pays near 120% to the level of their UIA benefits, mandates UIA workers to conduct random “work search” audits on claimants and changes criminal law statues making it a felony for unemployment fault over $3,500. Currently, the states' UIA fraud threshold at or over $25,000 .
With the 'suitable work' change, some claimants could be required to take a job paying as little as $7.40 an hour, or minimum wage. Michigan's maximum UIA payment is $362.00 or $7240 for 20 weeks of state funded unemployment insurance, regardless what the claimant earned in hourly wages during their former employment.And what Republicans did to Domestic Partner Benefits and Pontiac, Michigan firefighters during Christmas week, was just plain Scrooge-like.
On Thursday, December 22nd, Governor (R) signed into law a bill many Gay, Lesbian and Heterosexual living together partners plus a growing number ofMichiganders will not forget.
Snyder signed into law, a bill banning Domestic Partner benefits for any entity that receives state funding, with the possible exception of state based Universities and state employees. Final determination on the latter part, remains to be seen.
"Pontiac Firefighters, who received pink slips on Christmas Eve, face a impossible choice. Either option in the end, could leave them without a job.
Operating under the draconian authority of Michigan's Public Act #4, Emergency Manager/Mackinaw Center of Public Policy co-hort Louis Schimmel informed Pontiac's firefighters, they face two choices. Merge with the neighboring city Waterford's Fire Department and they might have a job or, reject Schimmel's offer and be terminated from duty.And then, ROJS News was the First to Break this necessary, awful and Unconstitutional idea Proposed by Michigan GOP-December 16th
Waterford F.D. notes that only 50 positions are available for firefighter jobs in the city and that other candidates from outside of Pontiac, have applied for the employment opportunities."
State Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) wants to require drug testing for welfare recipients and has introduced legislation to do just that.
A similar bill was enacted by Governor of Florida. Many people argue that it violates citizens Fourth Amendment rights. Cost of testing and who will pick up the tab is another issue.From the Detroit News on December 29th:
Michigan's Department of Human Services wants to roll out a program requiring drug screening for individuals who receive aid from the Family Independence Program. That program provides financial support for pregnant women and low-income families with children.
Terry Stangl, Executive Director of the Center for Civil Justice in Saginaw and Flint, said states are allowed to drug test welfare clients only if there are grounds for suspicion the recipient may be using drugs, but most states that have implemented drug testing programs abandoned them quickly.
"There has to be some other grounds to show there is reason to test — there cannot be warrantless, suspicionless testing," Stangl said."Most states that have tried to do it have decided it's too expensive for the number of cases (they eliminate from the rolls as a result of the testing)."
Stangl said she has concerns about the plan proposed by DHS. She noted it's unclear whether Michigan would allow children to keep their benefits if parents are cut off due to drug use, as other states with drug testing policies have allowed.
So, it's been quite a year in Michigan Politics, GOP Style in 2011. Michiganders hopefully have learned some valuable lessons on the importance of marketing messages over actual substance. Specifically, Gov. Snyder and his Republican Party leaders used effective "marketing messages" about if elected into the office, they would "reform Michigan" and be 'job creators".
Two days shy of 2012, we have learned the reality. Most Michigan Republicans in state elected offices, including are Governor, our bigoted closed minded individuals that seek to destroy Michiganders that don't fit for financial reasons, into the needs of the 1% to 15% state wage earners.
We have learned that to state Republicans, Michigan's Constitutional Statues can be broken to fit the needs of those in the 1-15% of wage earners, to purchase public property at fire sale prices, with Public Act #4.
We have learned that educating children in our K-12 public school system is last on the priority list for state GOP leaders and that middle, poor and working class children, in general aren't important than the needs of political pockets-books being paid under-the-table.
We have learned that if Michiganders receive unemployment or state Department of Human Service Assistance, they should be drug tested to ensure continued access to necessary income and benefits to maintain a sense of stability. We have learned that saving on our tax dollars -the 99%- is secondary to the GOP need to give a $1.8 Billion dollar tax break to C & S Corporations.
On Martin Luther King Day, January 16th, 2011, for the first time in Michigan's History there will be a protest in front of Governor's Snyder home property location in Superior Township, Michigan, titled "Occupy for Democracy in Michigan".
Starting at 4:00 PM at Washtenaw County Community College Parking Lot, protesters will march less than 1.5 miles, to the front of his gated community of Geddes Glen to boldly proclaim that Gov. Snyder style of government is "Wrong" for Michigan.
ROJS News will continue update our readers on further information/press releases on the MLK Day/Gov. Snyder's Home Protest and Michigan/National Politics in 2012.