October 17, 2017

Brian Pannebacker: Blatant Power Grab by Union Bosses Would be a Death Sentence for Michigan Economy

Michigan Freedom to WorkBy Brian Pannebacker, Shelby Township

We are at a turning point in Michigan. Over the last 15 months, Governor Snyder has led the effort, along with the support of the legislature, to “re-invent Michigan” by making our state more attractive to businesses. Most of our elected representatives in Lansing know that we must become more competitive and create an environment that helps attract jobs to our state by reducing government regulations, and by simplifying and reducing business taxes. They understand that our economy depends on it. But now the union bosses have decided to try to roll back many of the gains that the Governor and the legislature have made over the last 15 months. Union bosses are trying to push through a drastic change to the Michigan State Constitution that would prevent our elected officials from ever passing laws that limit government union contracts. The union bosses want the power to dictate not only the work rules, wage scale, and the benefits that employees receive, they also want to be able to compel all employees of a company or business to pay dues which they can then use to fund left-wing political causes.

Click to go to the Michigan Freedom to Work Website

In the private sector, the cost is passed on to the customer, but in the case of government unions it is the taxpayer who foots the bill. We need only look at the cities of Detroit, Flint, Benton Harbor and Ecorse to see the result when government unions become too powerful. In Detroit there are over 40 different union bargaining units. Over 40! And many of them have refused to make the necessary concessions to keep Detroit solvent, even as Governor Snyder has given them every opportunity to before he is forced to name an Emergency Financial Manager.

The union bosses response to our legislators attempts to rein in government unions; They want to make union contracts and their unreasonable demands “untouchable” by the democratically elected Legislature in Lansing. The union bosses are leading a petition drive to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to change our constitution and roll back dozens of pieces of legislation, including the much needed Emergency Manager Law that could be the last hope for cities like Detroit. The union backed-ballot initiative would prevent our elected officials from limiting their power in any way. It is unbelievable that greedy union bosses think that the voters of the state of Michigan would “hand them the keys” to our state’s economy, and say “go ahead, do for the rest of Michigan what you have done for Detroit, Flint and Pontiac … drive the state’s economy into the ditch, like the excessive union demands have done in numerous cities across the state”. And not only would this proposed union control lock in costs in government, they will also make unions more inclined to make unreasonable demands of businesses in the private sector, causing many businesses to avoid Michigan, and driving existing businesses out of our state and over the border into Indiana or Ohio where they are limiting the power of unions to dictate costs to businesses. We can’t afford to derail Michigan’s fragile recovery.

This blatant power-grab by the union bosses would be a death sentence for Michigan’s economy if it were allowed to become part of our state constitution. The legislature, our democratically-elected representatives, would be at the mercy of greedy, power hungry union bosses. Our state would be virtually powerless to limit the cost of government employees as it continues to spiral out of control. And in the private sector, with the prospect of Freedom-to-Work legislation eliminated, union demands would further increase labor costs in our state at a time when we should be lowering them and creating an environment more attractive to businesses.

We must assume that the union bosses will be able to mobilize their minions and collect the required number of signatures, and that this attempt to change our constitution will appear on the November ballot. In that event, it is imperative that every taxpayer realize the consequences of what giving the union bosses control of our state would mean; The union bosses want to do for the entire state of Michigan what they have done for the City of Detroit.

Brian Pannebecker
UAW member Local 228
Spokesman for Michigan Freedom to Work

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Candice Miller: Massive Michigan Air National Guard Cutbacks Must be Prevented

Candice Miller

Congresswoman Candice Miller

by Congresswoman Candice Miller

On April 18, 1775, 237 years ago, Paul Revere rode through the Massachusetts countryside announcing that the British were coming. In response to that call, citizens of the militia, the Minutemen, came forward from their homes to face the strongest army in the world because of their belief in the cause of liberty. This idea of the citizen militia dedicated to defending freedom has been the basis of the defense of America from our founding. Today, this dedication still burns brightly, embodied by the men and women who serve the cause of freedom in the U.S. National Guard.

Only since World War II has our nation maintained a large standing army, but the Guard has been the constant defenders of freedom throughout our entire history. In every conflict since the revolution, the contribution of the Guard has been indispensible. Since Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Guard have stood shoulder to shoulder with their active duty counterparts to make certain that America could fight its enemies across the globe while also valiantly performing their responsibilities to defend our homeland and respond to disasters.

We all understand the dire fiscal situation our nation finds itself today, and cost efficiencies must be found throughout the federal budget, including the Department of Defense. The Air Force recently released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 that includes draconian cuts to the Air National Guard across the nation. If implemented, these cuts would eliminate the 107th Fighter Squadron of the Michigan Air National Guard based at Selfridge, which flies A-10 ground attack aircraft. The 107th recently returned from Afghanistan where they performed brilliantly supporting our forces fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida. Other elements of the Michigan Air Guard would also be impacted across the state, totaling a net loss of more than 800 jobs, according to Air Force estimates.

The Air Force is asking the Air Guard to absorb fully 59 percent of the aircraft cuts, even though the Air Guard currently represents 35 percent of our air capability while only accounting for 6 percent of the budget. So in order to meet its budget targets, the Air Force is proposing massive cuts to the most cost effective part of the force. I do not oppose these cuts out of parochial interests about job losses here in Michigan, but because they simply do not make any sense from a budgetary or a readiness perspective.

Since the announcement of these proposed cuts, 49 governors and every adjutant general of the National Guard in America has written to the secretary of defense, urging reconsideration of these cuts. I am proud to say that Gov. Rick Snyder and Maj. Gen. Greg Vadnais of the Michigan National Guard have been at the forefront of this fight.

Now the effort to reverse these cuts moves to Congress, and I am pleased to report that I recently led the effort to organize each of the members from Michigan in the House of Representatives to urge a thorough review of these cuts by our colleagues who sit on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It is my hope that members of these committees will ask the tough questions of Air Force leaders and continue the effort to roll back this policy, which is fiscally indefensible and would harm the end strength of our air capability.

Last year, I helped lead the fight to give the commanding general of the National Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That was an effort that leaders of the active duty services opposed, but was approved because the people’s representatives understood the important role the Guard plays in our national defense and they deserved a seat at the table. We can and must win this fight also.

While the administration has said that it would demand shared sacrifice to meet tight budgets, its proposed cuts fall too dramatically on the Air Guard. These cuts must be reversed so that we can maintain the best defense our nation has had since our founding: the citizen soldiers of the Guard. Just as the Minutemen rose to defend our freedom in the revolution, it is now time for members of Congress to hear the Minuteman call and rise up to defend the Guard.

 

 

Member of Congress

U.S. Representative Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, represents Michigan’s 10th Congressional District.

State Rep LaFontaine: For $1 Per Year We Could Buy Peace of Mind

By Andrea LaFontaine, State Representative

Andrea LaFontaine

State Representative Andrea LaFontaine

Clean, safe, drinking water seems to be something that we, as Americans, often take for granted. We live in a country that enjoys some of the safest drinking water in the world. However, what if tomorrow all of that changed, and without any prior detection, your drinking water was threatened by toxic solvent spills and chemical pollutants? If we keep continuing down our current path, that question could soon become reality. Here in this community, a problem that was once a water quality issue could grow into a disastrous quality of life issue.

It was seven years ago that this hypothetical situation actually happened in St. Clair County. One day, the drinking water was clean, safe and pure. The next day, 42,000 gallons of toxic solvents had leaked into the St. Clair River. The spill went undetected for some time and became a potential danger for millions of residents. Fortunately, in this case, the spill did not seep its way into our drinking water.

Since that toxic spill in 2004, state and federal grants totaling nearly $3.5 million have contributed to start up and operations costs for a water quality system that currently protects us. This system is state-of-the-art, not only significant to Michigan, but also one of a kind in the nation. I have to believe everyone understands the need for a system of this caliber protecting us from possible threats on the other side of the river.

Click here to Take a Short Survey
About Funding to Monitor Water Quality

Although $3.5 million in grants sounds great, we must keep in mind that those funds were awarded with the expectation that a long-term funding solution would be found. That is where our problem lies today, and we owe it to our children, grandchildren and future generations to ensure their quality of life and water quality are maintained.

Currently, the only solution offered at the state level is House Bill 4133, introduced by Rep. Kurt Heise, to allow the establishment of a Water Quality Alliance that would permit areas in Southeast Michigan to act as the administrator of the current monitoring system. The decision to participate in this alliance would be solely up to the municipalities.

We all know that sometimes government waits to address an issue until it is a full-blown crisis, and we may not be far from that. On this issue it is imperative that we work together to find a solution before time runs out and the monitors are shut off.

It’s estimated that for as little as $1 per year from every household that benefits from the monitors, the costs of this system could sustained. I’m curious to what local residents would think of a $1 surcharge on their water bill if it were guaranteed to be directly funding the functioning and operations of the water monitoring system. I am open and listening to all solutions, however not many have been offered. Please contact my office by e-mail at AndreaLaFontaine@house.mi.gov or call 1-866-DIST-032 with your thoughts.

Andrea LaFontaine (R-Columbus Township) represents Michigan House of Representatives District 32, which includes portions of northern Macomb and St. Clair counties.

Candice Miller: 2012 is the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime

Candice Miller

Congresswoman Miller

by Congresswoman Candice Miller

Happy New Year!

2012 has arrived and we are now entering perhaps the most important election year of our lifetime. Over the past three years we have seen President Obama and his allies in Congress have expanded the reach of government into nearly every aspect of our lives without regard to the limits of the Constitution or the liberties we all hold dear. We have seen the Democrats explode federal spending, run record deficits and drive our national debt over $15 trillion. In just one term President Obama will accumulate as much debt as was accumulated from George Washington to Bill Clinton.

In 2010 the American people spoke loudly by electing 63 more Republicans to the House and giving our party the majority. Their message was clear…stop the over spending, respect the Constitution and put take the focus away from the expansion of government and place it on expanding the economy.

House Republicans heard the call of the American people. We voted to repeal Obamacare. We put in place new rules to require that every piece of legislation include a citation of Constitutional authority before it can be considered. We passed a responsible budget that not only put the budget on path to balance, but also to pay off our national debt. We have conducted vigorous oversight that has uncovered government scandals like Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious. We have sought to roll back burdensome regulations that kill jobs and stifle economic growth. We have worked to put in place an all of the above energy strategy to make our nation energy independent, expand our economy and create jobs. We have stood strong in support of economic liberty and against greater dependence on government. As a result we have stopped the expansion of big government and turned back the tide of higher spending but the job is not yet done because, unfortunately, the Democrats have not gotten the message and refuse to work with us the most pressing challenges facing our nation.

President Obama and his allies continue to demand job killing higher taxes to spend even more on ever bigger government. They refuse to work with Republicans on tackling the issues that threaten our fiscal future. They refuse to open our vast energy reserves to exploration. They refuse to roll back regulations that kill jobs. They refuse with us to build a better future for our great nation.

In order to get done what needs to get done we need another election and a clear verdict from the American people. We must defeat President Obama and Senator Stabenow and elect a President and a Senate that will put the needs of the nation ahead of political considerations. We need a President and a Senate who understand and respect the limits on government enshrined in our Constitution. And we all need to work together to make this happen. We need to inform our families, our friends and our neighbors of the important issues in this election and get them to the polls.

I know we can make this happen because we just did it in 2010. I look forward to working with you to make certain that we achieve our goals and make our nation stronger for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Let’s get to work!

 

 

Member of Congress