We have heard very little details from new Gov. Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder, and that’s what we got from him in his inaugural speech where he said, “ It will require shared sacrifice from all of us.”
We’re still waiting for both details on how he plans to balance the state budget and "reinvent" Michigan, as well as what sacrifice he plans to share. The only details we have heard is that state employees, again, are going to have to make a sacrifice and it appears the budget will be balanced on their backs.
The fact is state employees earn less than their private-sector counterparts with comparable educational attainment, and state government is smaller now than it was in 1973.
My friend Judy over at Living Blue pointed out a Detroit Free Press article that Snyder appointed Michael Finney as president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Finney will be paid $250,000 a year, and he will also will receive deferred compensation equal to 18 percent of his salary in lieu of a retirement plan. The person who held the job under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and was only paid $200,000 a year.
So much for sacrifice.
Like all Republicans the only one Snyder wants to see make a sacrifice are the working and the middle class. The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. That means the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana. In 1965 the average CEO was earning 24 times what the average worker was making. But by 2001 the C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 531 times as much as the average worker.
We already know Snyder is the first Michigan governor to refuse to live in the Governor’s residence since the Lansing residence was donated to the state in 1969, and the Chicago Tribune, of all people, is reporting why. His stated reason is he has a daughter in a private high school in the Ann Arbor area and does not want her to move, but the Tribune pointed out that by refusing to move he gets the side benefit of keeping the indoor pool, wine cellar and movie theater that are part of his 10,600-square-foot home.
So much for sacrifice.
The Governor’s residence is no slum. It was renovated and expanded in 2003 and 2004 with $2.5 million in private funds. The 8,700-square-foot residence has five bedrooms, a private family room that includes a kitchenette, a fully commercial kitchen and an exercise room with two treadmills, a weight machine and a weight bench.
As for sacrifice, the Tribune is reporting that “during the early part of the renovation, Granholm lived in a small room above the garage. When her family of five moved in, they ate meals in the garage for months until the construction was done. Granholm recently moved into a rented condominium in the Lansing suburbs so her 13-year-old son, Jack, can finish 8th grade at his East Lansing middle school. “
There’s some sacrifice.
Snyder also promised to establish a blind trust for his personal assets during the campaign to avoid a conflict of interest, but he has not done that. So much for sacrifice.
“This is an important matter of personal integrity and ethics, especially for someone like Snyder who has promised to change ‘business as usual’ in Lansing,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “As a multi-millionaire, Snyder could make decisions as governor which benefit him financially.”
UPDATE: The Outsourcer did put his investments into a blind trust. According to the Detroit Free Press,”The Republican signed the paperwork amending his trust two days before he was sworn in as governor Jan. 1.” His spokesperson said she doesn't know how much money the he has in the trust, and a trustee will make all investment decisions now.