By: Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner
Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder was blind-sided recently, when he received a report that 90 companies in the state had pulled up stakes and fled–with their thousands of good-paying jobs–to the neighboring state of Indiana, after their new Republican Governor, Mitch Daniels, and his Republican-controlled legislature, enacted ‘right-to-work’ [union-neutralizing] laws, according to a FOXNews article yesterday.
Right-to-work laws prohibit unions from forcing workers to pay union dues.
Indiana’s success is a result of the model built by Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican Governor, Scott Walker, who, with his Republican-controlled legislature, was the first to challenge ‘union influence’ in his blue state, whose benefit and retirement program legacy costs were drowning the state in a billion dollars of red ink.
Armed with this new legislation, which allowed the elimination of the state’s budget deficit without sacrificing a single job, or raising any taxes, Wisconsin began a ‘full-court press’ marketing program aimed at the neighboring union-stronghold blue state of Illinois, touting that they were ‘open for business,’ to companies wanting to take advantage of the substantial savings now available.
On Thursday, with scant warning, Republicans laid the groundwork during the ‘lame duck’ legislative session. Although infuriated Democrats used parliamentary maneuvers to slow action, which was ultimately futile as Republicans hold commanding majorities, 64-46 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate.
And, unlike the famous ‘fleeing’ Democrats in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin before them, who merely delayed legislation to their distaste by denying their opponents a ‘quorum,’ under Michigan rules a simple majority of members may conduct the people’s business.
According to the article, in an interview with The Associated Press, Governor Snyder stated that he had kept the issue at arm’s length while pursuing other programs to bolster the state economy, but pivoted when circumstances dictated the matter be pursued.
Most importantly, Snyder noted the 90 companies that moved from his struggling state to Indiana, saying:
That’s thousands of jobs, and we want to have that kind of success in Michigan.
Then, once a plurality of Michigan voters defeated a ballot initiative, which would prohibited such measures via the state constitution, he took the cue and put this plan in motion just a month later.
Governor Rick Snyder wrapped up the AP interview with profound directness:
It is a divisive issue. But, it was already being divisive over the past few weeks, so let’s get this resolved. Let’s reach a conclusion that’s in the best interests of all.
This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices.
The goal isn’t to divide Michigan; it is to bring Michigan together.
It is certainly a welcome change to see a well-conceived and executed plan come together for a change–perhaps our Republican brethren in Washington, D.C. can take their cue from the quickly changing landscape in the ‘Rust Belt.’