Democrat State lawmakers believes authority should be given back to local elected officials.
Last week, Representative LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) introduced House Bill 5260 that would repeal Michigan’s emergency financial manager law, and State Senator David Knezik (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced its counterpart in the Senate. This legislation is especially important because it is widely believed that Flint’s water crisis could have been prevented if Governor Snyder had allowed local government to make legislative decisions.
“We need to return decision-making in our communities to the elected officials that residents voted into office,” said Garrett. “An emergency financial manager is an unelected official who is not accountable to residents, and that is simply undemocratic.”
Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) echoed this sentiment. “The governor’s emergency managers have clearly failed to put the health and wellbeing of the people of Flint first. It’s the most extreme example — but far from the only example — of the poor priorities of Gov. Snyder and legislative Republicans.”
Garrett condemned Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to reinstate an emergency financial manager in Highland Park, and argues that the city’s financial distress is due to state underfunded revenue sharing and failed economic policies. The city of Highland Park was under the control of an emergency financial manager for nearly a decade and last year, the Michigan Department of Treasury found that the city was still in financial emergency.
“Instead of instating and reinstating emergency managers, the state should do better and adequately fund revenue sharing to municipalities and growing the economy in a way that helps areas like Highland Park,” said Garrett. “The same is true for the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) which is also under an emergency financial manager. The state has had control of DPS for years and yet the district’s debt has grown and the school buildings have deteriorated. I think that clearly shows that this emergency financial manager law is a failure and deserves to be repealed.”