2011.03.30 Bruce Caswell: Job creation is main priority

Written by David Green.

Job creation is the main priority in Lansing. In order to create a positive atmosphere for job creation, we must first get our fiscal house in order, at both the state and local level. I want to take this opportunity to share with you information about the recently passed emergency financial manager legislation that has drawn a lot of attention in the past two weeks. I would like to share my thoughts on the legislation and, hopefully, clear up some misconceptions about the new law.

I voted for the emergency financial manager legislation when it came before the Senate for consideration. I supported a number of amendments to modify the legislation prior to its passage, such as limiting the salary of an emergency financial manager to the amount the Governor receives and requiring an emergency financial manager for a school district to have a background in teaching or education. However, these amendments were defeated. I successfully amended the bill to eliminate a reference to school district consolidation out of the bill, so that this will remain under the purview of the local voters.

Contrary to the rhetoric, this legislation does not take away the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees or school employees. Should a municipality or school district not operate in a fiscally responsible fashion, a series of steps would be taken up to the appointment of an emergency financial manager.

Under the manager, collective bargaining could be suspended, along with a number of additional actions. However, this is a last-case scenario with several steps along the way before it would reach that point. Upon enactment of this legislation, public employees and teachers still have their collective bargaining rights. Furthermore, the law does not remove elected officials from their positions or bar them from running for re-election.

I believe that this legislation will give municipalities and school districts, along with their employees, the incentive to work out their financial issues locally to avoid any state intervention. If a municipality or school district chooses not to be financially responsible, I do not feel that the taxpayers in other areas of the state should bail them out. We all have to be personally responsible in these hard times.

As always, I appreciate citizen input on any issue on which the Senate is working.

– Senator Bruce Caswell

P.O. Box 30036

Lansing, MI 48909

866/305-0316

SenBCaswell@senate.michigan.gov.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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