Tag Archive for Governor Rick Snyder

Fox Conned

Go Big, Or Go Home

Just as Governor Snyder signed the SB 242 – 244 ‘Good Jobs’ subsidy package yesterday, Foxconn announced that they accepted Wisconsin’s insane subsidies. The new Foxconn industrial campus will be built in the Badger State, not Michigan. The Foxconn competition, however, was the bait used to stampede the Michigan Legislature into passing the ‘Good Jobs’ package much sought by Michigan’s government and business establishments.

Wisconsin is going to lavish $ 3 billion in subsidies on Foxconn for somewhere between 3,000 and 13,000 new jobs. That works out to somewhere between $ 1 million and $ 230,769 in subsidies per job. Amortized over a 10 year period, the state of Wisconsin will be paying somewhere between $ 48.00 and $ 11.09 per labor-hour of every Foxconn worker’s wages using taxes extracted from other less fortunate Wisconsin workers. Subtract these per labor-hour subsidies from the headline wages touted for the future Foxconn workers and their ‘Good Jobs’ don’t look quite so good. Gussied up minimum wage jobs at best, wage theft at worst.

The little pig gets to feed at the trough, the hog gets taken to market and slaughtered.

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Michigan’s Tax Charade

No Michigan Tax Deal Is Ever Worth The Paper It Is Written On

Since our devious Governor and his RINO caucus pulled out all the stops to quash the HB 4001 decrements in the state income tax last Thursday, it has dawned on Michigan politicians that the optics of the SB 111 – 115 Dan Gilbertville tax breaks just got real ugly. You can’t hand $ 1.8 billion of state revenue over to politically connected developers after stiffing the public at large without gruesome consequences. This is going to decrement some Senators’ campaign finance committee balances.

No one should fault Speaker Leonard for putting HB 4001 up for a losing vote. Bottling up and fiddling legislation behind closed doors until a winning margin is assured is not an exemplar of government transparency. Brits and Europeans may regard such shifty back room shenanigans as the hallmark of sophisticated political process, but here in America constituents want to know exactly how they are being represented. Thursday’s vote told us more about the RINOs in the Michigan House than years of deceitful political media articles and reports.

Thank you Speaker Leonard for fostering genuine political transparency.  Long overdue in Michigan.

It now appears that killing both tax reductions was the plan all along. Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Municipal League just launched a trial balloon to gut the Proposal A constitutional amendment of 1994. Proposal A limited the tax depredations of government employees acting through their local units of government, a popular activity in Michigan’s more leftward big cities and counties. The sales tax was increased 50%, but property owners got some constitutionally protected tax relief in return.

Local government employees and their Democratic political puppets want to renege on the 1994 Proposal A tax deal. Well, not entirely. Just the constitutionally protected property tax relief. No one is offering to restore the 4% sales tax rate. What was it JFK said about negotiating with the Soviets? “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” Public employees and their subservient Democratic politicians have a lot of gall claiming that President Trump is a Russian stooge and a neo communist tyrant to boot.

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Who Rules Michigan?

The Administrative State or the People?

The titanic political struggle unfolding in Washington is sucking the oxygen out of Michigan politics, but is analogous to the central political struggle which has been playing out here in Michigan for 48 years. Political media breathlessly report on a struggle between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. This struggle is not between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, nor RINOs and true believers. The Democrats, liberals, and RINOs are completely discredited in Michigan, as they are across most of the United States. All that remains of them is jammed into the Hillary archipelago.

The present political struggle is between the people and the administrative state. Call it bureaucracy, deep state, or administrative state: they are unelected government employees, their agents in the media, and the select beneficiaries of government largess. Their opponents in this struggle are the majority of Americans and Michiganders who pay the price for the administrative state; a now seething mass whose ascendancy was a rude surprise to the administrative state.

The outcome of the struggle in Washington is yet to be determined, but in Michigan the administrative state is clearly winning despite its total responsibility for the Flint water fiasco. The administrative state owns Governor Snyder body and soul. The administrative state will stop at nothing to manipulate the Michigan Legislature when the chips are down. Refractory (but innocent) legislators are expelled before legal process while cooperative (but guilty) legislators sit unfettered until legal process is completed.

How else can you explain the PA 177 of 2015 road tax package, indistinguishable from the soundly trounced Proposal 2015-01? Or the bogus Detroit bankruptcy which somehow neglected a $ 491 million financial hole which will haunt the city with a vengeance in 2024? Half the city’s annual budget. Or the refusal of Michigan government units at all levels to even consider tax reductions due to the simmering public employee pension catastrophe? Those pensions enjoyed by members of the administrative state are but a distant memory to the Michiganders who pay them.  Indeed, all of Michigan’s units of government are jacking up fees to get around Headlee Amendment taxation limits.

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When $ 175,000 A Year Just Isn’t Enough

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time....President Abraham Lincoln

Adamo DemolitionDetroit’s Deputy Director of Construction and Project Management, James Wright, suddenly resigned today. Wright had been the Detroit Medical Center’s Corporate Vice President of Facility Engineering and Construction when Mayor Duggan hired him under a contract to be the $ 250,000 a year Deputy Director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority two and a half years ago. He was then transferred to the city’s payroll in March of this year at a $ 175,000 a year salary. Mr. Wright’s resignation does not include a severance and was effective immediately. Certain evidence of a firing at this level of government, not a resignation.  You can bet that Wright just got his Federal target letter. from U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

The FBI and the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) have been investigating Detroit’s demolition program for about a year now. Enough time to start issuing indictments. SIGTARP has jurisdiction over the Hardest Hit Fund which provided the $250 million Detroit has spent on home demolitions (and lavished on contractors). Detroit Mayor Duggan has pledged complete cooperation with the investigation.  Wright Right…..

Barry Ellentuck ImageWright’s resignation comes on the heels of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s failed prosecution of whistleblower Barry Ellentuck, the ADR Consultants, LLC President who went to the FBI with solid evidence of the corruption in the Detroit home demolition program – the very day before AG Schuette indicted him. Mr. Ellentuck was set up by a lying, thieving subordinate and his prosecution had all the hallmarks of retaliation for squealing to the Feds. Home demolition contract costs suddenly rose from about $ 10,000 per house to $ 16,000 per house under Mayor Duggan, just after Mr. Wright took control of the program.

The city originally signed Wright to a two-year contract that paid $250,000 a year. He was transferred to the city’s payroll at $175,000 a year when his original two year employment contract expired in March.  Evidently, $ 175,000 a year is just not enough for Mayor Duggan’s exalted talent.  As a point of reference, Governor Snyder makes $ 159,300 per year as Governor of Michigan. Governor Snyder clearly holds the wrong office to make money in this state.

Wright awarded corrupt ‘unit price’ demolition contracts to three connected demolition companies, Adamo, Homrich and MCM Management. You might recognize them as very profitable MDoT contractors, but that was the Proposal 1 story of last year. Wright disclosed contract prices before the bids were opened to their competitors and allowed all three companies special, reduced bonding requirements unavailable to other bidders.

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The DPS Bailout – An Alternative History Under Bankruptcy

A Bankruptcy Postponed Is Not A Bankruptcy Avoided

US Bankruptcy Court ImageThe $ 617 million PA 192 – 197 bail out package signed by Governor Snyder on 21 June (plus the $ 48.7 million emergency down payment earlier this year) will not fix the Detroit Public Schools. The culture of corruption and incompetence long fostered within DPS suggests that the new DPS – same as the old DPS, except for some liabilities – will fail miserably a few years hence in an avalanche of new liabilities. Michigan will then be left to sort out two separate DPS entities with unsustainable liabilities. This could easily occur even before Governor Snyder leaves office in 2019. Karma. Déjà vu all over again.

Governor Snyder secured the Michigan Legislature’s approval of the $ 617 million bailout by regaling them with an entirely false narrative of the aborted 1991 Richmond, CA Unified School District bankruptcy, then implying that the entire $ 3.5 billion in DPS liabilities would fall upon the taxpayers of Michigan. The Michigan Legislature’s Republicans (and our nitwit media) bought Governor Snyder’s tale hook, line, and sinker – then delivered a $ 617 million gift to DPS for its past ill behavior. The Michigan Legislature’s Democrats had the chutzpah to hold out for even more taxpayer paid goodies.

There was another, better option: bankruptcy.

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Exactly whose agenda is Gov. Snyder promoting?

"While shutting down the schools would be horrible. It is a better option than the alternative."

“This marks a new day for Detroit families, with DPS free from debt and strong accountability measures for all schools in the city that promises a brighter future for all of Detroit’s children.” – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder after signing the DPS bailout package last month.

If only that were really true.

There’s a story making the rounds here locally, that to put it mildly, I am more than a little surprised hasn’t been picked up by other media outlets around Michigan.

It seems that Emergency Manager Transition Manager Stephen Rhodes, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri, Gov. Snyder and a few select others within Michigan Government have felt that it is more important to bury some rather disturbing facts relating to Detroit Public Schools, rather than to make them public (Read: Better make sure that Michigan Taxpayers don’t EVER get wind of this!).

 

What was John Burroughs Intermediate School.

Nope, not the crumbling infrastructure of DPS.

And what is this little nugget you may ask?

{Continued below}

H/T to the good people at Channel 7 in Detroit for breaking this story.

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Bang head here.

What's amazing here is not what they tell you, but what they don't...

Well, the children in Detroit are at it again.

And is there any wonder why there is so much blow-back from Gov. Snyder’s latest excuse to waste Michigan Taxpayer money on Detroit?

{Continued below the fold}

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The DPS Bailout – Debts & Obligations

Part II - The Eventual Cost of DPS Liabilities to Michigan Taxpayers and Detroit Schoolchildren

Debt ImageDPS has two types of formal debt: operating and capital. Operating debt is a conversion of present and past annual operating deficits into ‘long-term notes’ sold to the financial markets, as well as more immediate debts owed to the State of Michigan directly. DPS capital debt exists only in the form of bonds which were sold to financial markets to purchase and rehabilitate facilities.  DPS’ formal bonds are identified by Series, which consists of the year issued and a letter suffix when different purpose bonds are issued in a single year.  The financial markets apply a further identifier, CUSIP, which is a unique identifier of municipal bonds by series and their intended dates of redemption.  All of the DPS debt sold to the financial markets has been enrolled in Public Act 92 of 2005, a program designed to reduce interest rates to local school districts in accordance with the 1963 Michigan Constitution’s Article IX, Section 16.  Most DPS debt is effectively secured by a general obligation to pay, which requires Detroit taxpayers to increase taxes and reduce spending should financial difficulties repaying arise.

DPS 2009B Bond StatementDPS pays off its capital debt in annual installments of both interest and principal, before it pays off (or adds to) its operating debt.  Bond interest and principal payments are required by bond terms which – if ignored – would result in immediate default and bankruptcy.  The exact contract terms of DPS debt sold to the financial markets are laid out in official statements which detail all the formal legal and financial features of the bonds.  The official statement is essentially a contract between DPS and its bond purchasers.

DPS’ operating debt payments are somewhat more flexible than capital debt payments because only a portion of operating debt has been converted into formal bonds covered by statements; much of it is separately owed to the Michigan School Loan Revolving Fund. The SSLRF can best be thought of as a State sponsored credit card. School districts tap into it when they are short of cash, and pay off their balance when they are flush.  Operating debt is only converted into formal bonds when Michigan school districts exceed their limits at the SSLRF.  Those limits are not exact, and generally come into play when DPS goes through one of its periodic financial spasms.

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The DPS Bailout – The Bankruptcy Alternative Not Taken

Part I - No, The Richmond USD Case Did Not Challenge U.S. Bankruptcy Court Authority

Daniel Howes ImageGovernor Snyder browbeat the Michigan Legislature to approve the $ 617 million bailout of Detroit Public Schools which he signed today by regaling them with a parade of horribles which would occur if the bailout was defeated and DPS was forced to file for bankruptcy. Daniel Howes regurgitated Governor Snyder’s compelling tales of impending doom delivered behind closed doors in a Detroit News article, but was any of it true?

Right at the top of Governor Snyder’s parade of horribles was the Federal bankruptcy filing of the Richmond [California] Unified School District on April 19, 1991 . Governor Snyder portrayed the outcome of this action as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court denying the petition and ordering the State of California to financially bail out the district.  From Daniel Howes’ article:

There is scant precedence for school districts filing for bankruptcy, the Snyder administration found. In 1990, according to an administration letter to state Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, the Richmond Unified School District in Northern California filed for bankruptcy because of $42.5 million in debt. The judge ruled the district could not be protected by the court in bankruptcy and ordered the state to provide the district with operating funds.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

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I can’t wait until the rest comes due!

Gov. Snyder, Sen. Meekhof and Sperker Cotter demonstrating their best use for Michigan Taxpayer dollars.

With that conveniently (and consistently) “overlooked” $3.5-billion in debt, the Mi(a)GOP just handed the Michigan House to the democrats in the fall.

Screwed Image 1

Here’s a not-so-subtle hint.

 

More to follow…

 

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