Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snyder squeezes state employees

I’ve been paying so much attention to the shenanigans in Washington that I missed the latest crap news about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan Messenger’s Todd Heywood and others pointed out last month that Snyder is willing to fire state workers if he doesn’t get $145 million in concessions from state employee unions.

State employee union contracts are scheduled to expire September 30. The Governor’s Office has apparently instructed state agencies to sharpen their guillotines if the Nerd doesn’t get his way.

First he slashes funding for schools, cuts taxes for businesses, raises them for poor people, sticks it to consumers by repealing Michigan’s item pricing law, and eliminates representative government by authorizing emergency financial managers to swoop into cities and nullify the will of the people.

He’s also decided to tax pensions; get involved in rewriting Detroit’s city charter; make major changes to our teacher tenure laws; and sign redistricting laws designed to give the GOP a political edge.

And now this.

It makes a lot of sense to send more people packing at a time when our state’s overall unemployment rate stands at 10.5 percent.

Most state employees I know – not all, but most – are dedicated, talented, hard-working professionals who have been making concessions for at least the past decade. Contrary to studies released by right-wing think tanks, many don’t earn what they could make in the private sector. They’re paying more for health insurance. Morale and job satisfaction are low.

Nothing like dangling an axe over public employees’ heads to increase productivity and make sure taxpayers get what they’re paying for, Mr. Snyder.

Too bad the effort to recall the guy fizzled. Organizers – and I use that term loosely – raised just $25,000 of the estimated $1 million a recall election costs and collected fewer than half of the 807,000 signatures they needed by their August 5 deadline; now they’re hoping to keep collecting and place the issue on the ballot next February.

Snyder’s latest move shouldn’t come as a surprise. His business pals are now paying $1 billion less in taxes thanks to him. That missing revenue has got to come from somewhere.

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