By Kelsie Thompson
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
Thousands of Michigan residents staged protests at the Capitol building, 100 N. Capitol Ave., in Lansing starting last week in opposition of the recent budget and tax plan proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Many plan to continue protesting until changes in the legislation are made.
Controversy arose particularly from the bill that will allow Snyder to appoint emergency financial managers to repair financially troubled cities and school districts.
“Regardless who is governor, I don’t want that power in one person’s hand that takes away from the right of the voters and their elected officials,” said Bath Township Trustee Rick Curtis. “It is an insult to democracy.”
The bill also will allow managers to abolish elected boards and councils as well as terminate union contracts, frustrating public employees throughout the state.
Although Curtis said the legislation will have virtually no impact on the Bath community, he said there is no question that the bill is unjust.
“This bill doesn’t address issues in a reasonable or well manner,” Curtis said. “It has guidelines that are reasonable and understandable, but they weren’t open to interpretation after it was created.”
Curtis said he is attending the protests at the Capitol for personal reasons unconnected with his position on the Bath Township board.
Although he has not been to or heard much about the protests in Lansing, DeWitt city administrator Daniel Coss said the state is going through some tough changes that need to be addressed.
“As far as the revenue sharing that affects local government, some of those cuts are really forcing us to take a longer, harder look at our budget,” Coss said. “We are preparing for reductions and budgeting appropriately for less revenue from the state.”
“Everybody has the right to voice their opinion,” Coss said. “There are very difficult issues that the state is facing and there are no easy answers— either way something has to be done.”