'Financial Martial Law' Passes in Michigan

Bill passes House, goes to governor

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 16, 2011 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Michigan’s House yesterday passed a controversial bill that will install state-appointed emergency financial managers in troubled cities, giving each the power to do whatever is necessary to balance budgets—including breaking union contracts. One Senate Republican recently promised that the managers would only be sent to communities in need of “financial martial law.” The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign, Politico reports.

More than a thousand gathered in protest outside the state capitol yesterday, though most were seniors opposed to Snyder’s proposal to subject pensions to income tax. Another protest, run by unions and opposed to the financial managers, is scheduled for today, and hundreds have already arrived in anticipation, the Detroit Free Press reports. At the rally, Democrats will unveil a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee unions their collective bargaining rights. Snyder and Republicans say they don’t oppose collective bargaining.

Protestors rally against Gov. Rick Snyder'sbudget, March 15, 2011, outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Ari Adler, left, Press Secretary for the office of the Michigan House Speaker, talks with protesters gathered in the Rotunda at the Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich, March 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Rod Sanford)
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For years we have allowed cities and schools to be on the verge of bankruptcy without any intervention. - Al Pscholka, the Republican state Representative sponsoring the bill
in the House

Michigan politicians have capitalized on our state’s budgetary woes in order to ram through legislation that rather than create jobs, takes away even more rights and resources from Michiganders. - Mark Gaffney, Michigan AFL-CIO president

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