Michigan bears as much scrutiny as the higher profile labor fight in Madison, Wis.
“Local control? I’ll tell you what, I think that in a lot of these places there is no control.”–Small-government conservative Sen. Jack Brandenburg, GOP-Harrison Township, Mich.
In Lansing, Republicans are on the verge of allowing the state treasuer to appoint “emergency financial managers” (EMFs). The ostensible point is to have someone swoop in and spot local fiscal crises and figure out a way to fix them before they blow up into catastrophe.
A notable, even laudable goal, given that fiscal stressors mean that catastrophe is imminent in many local governments.
But these “emergency managers” might better be labeled “fiscal czars”–in the old-fashioned Russian sense. Or maybe Cossacks. The treasurer in effect would–will?–be the actual Czar.
Democrats [assert] that the bill will destroy Michigan’s long history of local control by allowing the EMF to remove top administrators and elected officials, put millage increases on the ballot, lay off employees, slash services, and merge the city or school district with a neighboring government entity.
The loquacious Brandenburg, who at least deserves credit for talking turkey, denies that. But he also tells the Oakland County (Mich.) Daily Tribune that “the EMFs will be deployed in communities that need ‘financial martial law.’”
Michael Moore–not a guy I generally listen to with both ears–responds passionately to both Michigan and Wisconsin on last night’s “The Rachel Maddow Show:”