Don’t bother me. I’m letting people think that I know what I’m doing.
When he’s not busy assuaging his troubled conscience with other people’s money or letting terrorists into Michigan for the very same reason, Gov. Rick Snyder (along with his BFF’s Lil’ Guv Calley, Sen. Meekhof and apparently Speaker Cotter) are still working diligently behind the scenes to shake down Michigan Motorists and businesses to fix the perpetual joke that is Michigan Roads.
I should stress how important the latter is, because the guv’s crew often “forgets” that goods actually get onto those shelves at your local store via truck…not some transporter beam from Star Trek or magical fairies daintily waving their wands.
I also shouldn’t need to remind anyone here of Basic Econ 101, where my boss isn’t going to eat the cost of higher fees & taxes Gov. Snyder & Co. will eagerly impose on him. He (and I’ll venture a guess every other business as well) will pass most, if not all, of that cost along to you.
Just something to keep in mind the next time you run out to your local store for anything.
So where is MDOT flushing more of your hard-earned road funding down the toilet this week?
Don’t you know that “Take a vote, not a vacation” doesn’t apply to the man at the top?
“It’s essential that making Michigan’s infrastructure safer remains a top priority. While voters didn’t support this particular proposal, we know they want action taken to maintain and improve our roads and bridges. The ‘relentless’ part of relentless positive action means that we start anew to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to this problem.” – Gov. Rick Snyder after the crushing defeat of Proposal 1 on May 5, 2015
Unless of course, you are on yet another “vacation” to peddle blueberries to the Chi-Comms?
Or, maybe that’s what he wants everyone to believe.
This deal was constructed as a lease to evade the 1963 Michigan Constitution‘s requirement, under Article VII, Section 25, for a vote of Detroit’s electors to approve the sale of any public utility. However, by constructing the deal as a lease, the City of Detroit is essentially granting a lease franchise covering the DW&SD’s water and sewerage operations to GLWA. The 40 year term of this lease franchise clearly exceeds the 30 year maximum permitted by Article VII, Section 30 of our 1963 Constitution: Merriam-Webster defines a ‘franchise’ as “ the right to sell a company’s goods or services in a particular area; also, a business that is given such a right”. Exactly the nature of the GLWA lease agreement with the City of Detroit. Should you doubt that the City of Detroit constitutes a ‘company’, Merriam-Webster defines a ‘company’ as “ an association of persons for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise”. Exactly what DW&SD has been doing for over 100 years.
State Representative Kurt Heise (R-20th) from Plymouth has challenged the establishment of GLWA under the 1963 Michigan Constitution’s Article VII, Section 28:
Taken together with the 1963 Michigan Constitution’s Article III, Section 5:
it establishes our Legislature’s authority over intergovernmental units. But these two sections do not unambiguously grant the Michigan legislature exclusive authority over intergovernmental units, so there is probably legal wiggle room here. Contrary to Representative Heise’s contention, a good lawyer could make a case that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court could establish the GLWA under Article VII, Section 28 and Article III, Section 5.
Last Act of the Detroit Bankruptcy Stumbles Behind a Wall of Secrecy
The final Detroit bankruptcy plan established a 14 June deadline to reach an agreement transferring operating control of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department’s (DW&SD) assets outside of Detroit to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). The State of Michigan, Detroit, Wayne County, Oakland County and Macomb County all signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) creating the GLWA late last year, subject to a 200-day due diligence period. Under the MoU, the City of Detroit would receive a $ 50 million annual lease payment from the GLWA while retaining full control of DW&SD assets and operations within the city. Erstwhile DW&SD customers outside Detroit were promised a 4% cap on annual water and sewerage increases for a 10 year period, which have been running above 10% per annum, in residential bills, in most Southeastern Michigan communities.
In point of fact, what has actually been occurring are secret negotiations over future tax increases across Southeastern Michigan. Water rates have become a surrogate form of incremental taxation. These negotiations will set tax fee increment rates for decades into the future. For taxpayers ratepayers who haven’t even been born yet. How are these negotiations going?