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Michigan Governor: State tax surplus could be used to limit cuts to pensions in Detroit bankruptcy proceedings

Michigan taxpayers have been overcharged by the state of Michigan to the tune of $350 million. That is what Michigan’s budget surplus really is, the state taxed its citizens an extra $350 million that they had no plan to spend. So, rather than sending the money back to the taxpayers, spending the money to fix our literally crumbling roads or simply hang on to the money for a rainy day, what does our nerd Governor propose?

Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday he’s open to using one-time surplus tax dollars for the state’s contribution toward a fund to bolster Detroit pensions and settle the city’s bankruptcy.

Snyder has pledged $350 million over 20 years toward a $816 million fund designed to limit cuts to pensions and shield city-bought art at the Detroit Institute of Arts from being sold to satisfy creditors.

While private sector citizens in Michigan have had to go round after round of belt-tightening  (job losses, furloughs, pay cuts) during the reign of economic terror during the Granholm era. Now we have to punch additional holes in our belts for even more belt-tightening during the ongoing Obama disaster. Why should Michigan taxpayers take it in the shorts, again, protecting city worker pensions? Let them tighten their belts, or sell the DIA art and other city assets like other bankruptcies require.

BTW, you know after Snyder uses our tax ‘surplus’ protecting city pensions, he will come hat in hand looking for additional ‘revenues’ (i.e. taxes) to fix our roads.

*** Cross-posted at motorcitytimes.com ***

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Who, precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?

**** This is a cross post of a recent MCT article I think fits the RightMI vibe ****

Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:

Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.

The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.

The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.

As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Via MCT Twitter Feed:

“Education should proceed snark.” Really?

How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?

In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).

DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).

Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.

So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?

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Getting to Know Your Candidate: Democrat Mark Schauer Gets His Protest On

Democrats are constantly protesting, chanting, complaining, whining and agitating. If you’re a Democrat, protesting is part of the job description. 

Back in 2012, one term Congressman Mark “Hey, I thought I was voting for a jobs bill” Schauer (who was blown out of congress in 2010 after a single term) decided to join in the protests during Michigan’s Right to Work vote in Lansing. You know, to polish up his Democrat bona fides.

Seeking to enhance his Democrat bona fides, Schauer runs to the nearest (friendly) camera after getting his protest on to tell his story about being on the receiving end of “mace or pepper-spray” during the protest.

No, really:

Mark Schauer’s resume is… How do you say this politely… Thin for a Governor

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Detroit opinion leader makes erroneous comparison between business and government

Daniel Howes, Detroit News columnist recently published a rambling column discussing the parallels of the Detroit Automakers comeback (as illustrated by their Super Bowl ads) and the city of Detroit and its potential comeback. The column was fairly innocuous stuff until these two paragraphs:

Yes, I know the convenient dodge from those who would prefer to avoid the obvious parallels between running an automaker into the ground and running a municipal government into the ground: government is not a business.

Wrong. Both succeed and fail on the strength (or weakness) of managing reality, dollars and cents, not some mythical ideal that exists only in gauzy memory or an eighth-grade civics class. Neither business nor government can allow expenses to consistently outstrip revenue for too long, cannot charge customers or taxpayers more and deliver less, without inviting serious existential consequences.

So many things wrong with the above paragraphs.

Starting with the most fundamental flaw: business adds value by producing something (a product or service) and creates wealth, government can only take wealth (through the force of law) from one group of people and give it to another, adding no value and creating no wealth.

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Low Information Reporters: Where low information voters are created

If you ever wondered where low information voters come from, here’s one place to start: Low information reporters.

Here’s an excerpt from MLive.com. See if you can spot the problem sentence in this excerpt of our MLive reporter recanting Mark Schauer (Democrat) latest campaign speech:

He pledged to fight for a minimum wage increase, restoration of school funding and the earned income tax credit and repeals of pension taxes and right-to-work legislation that banned collecting union dues.

Uhhh, “legislation that banned collecting union dues“? Really?

Michigan’s Right-to-work law only prohibits forcing workers to pay dues to a union:

Right-to-work means that unions can’t require an employee be fired for declining to pay union dues or agency fees, while maintaining a union’s ability to collectively bargain.

You would think a reporter covering Michigan’s Gubernatorial campaign would know what, exactly, Michigan’s right-to-work law actually says since the right-to-work issue is going to be an important topic in the governor’s race for the next nine months or so.

*** Cross posted @ MCT ***

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