Governor Snyder took a few minutes out of his busy schedule today to finger Hamtramck as the next city ripe for emergency management in Michigan. Under the provisions of the new Emergency Manager law, Public Act 436 of 2012, officially effective as of March 31st this year, the city now has 7 days to pick their poison: a consent agreement, an emergency manager, a neutral evaluation process, or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
This isn’t the first time the city has been taken over by the state. They had an Emergency Financial Manager from 2000 to 2007 under the old law, Public Act 72 of 1990 — a weaker incarnation of Snyder’s law. Apparently, that didn’t stick.
The city’s deficit is estimated to reach a threshold in excess of the 5 percent of its general fund — one of the triggers for the new law. In the case of Hamtramck, the deficit will only be about $3.3 million, a relatively small sum which may make the expense of the emergency management apparatus appear a rather costly “solution“. One must use that word with the disclaimer that Snyder’s law is no solution at all — it’s little more than a short-sighted corporate rabbit-outta-the-hat ploy called cut-back management. Nothing in the EM bag of tricks addresses the simple economic reality that Michigan’s cities are part of the state’s critical infrastructure, and just like roads and schools, they require funding. Sure, maybe not at the level it once was, but to hand-out enormous corporate tax cuts paid for on the backs of cities and schools is just bad fiscal policy. ( I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the suggestion that Snyder needs to be replaced by an Emergency Manager himself.)
Where are the jobs that $1.7 billion a year in corporate tax gimmies were supposed to create?
Just last week, the PulteGroup, Inc., one of the largest home construction firms in the nation, announced they are moving their headquarters from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia. The reason they cited was a need to be in an area where communities are thriving — and Michigan holds little promise in that regard.
So, what was Snyder so busy doing today? He was eulogizing former First Lady Helen Milliken — wife of a Republican governor that understood he served the interests of the people of Michigan first, and it’s probably safe to say, he didn’t then and doesn’t now believe corporations are people.
Amy Kerr Hardin