By: Dick Manasseri
The Cato Institute reminds us that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican Legislature have increased the general fund budget by a whopping 7.3 percent in 2013 and an estimated 7.8 percent in 2014. Michigan citizens are mandated to pay higher taxes to fund the GOP’s notion of “Big Government.”
Thus, a single day in Lansing reminds us to question whether We the People, are, yet again, experiencing taxation without true representation.
There were 125 citizens opposed to the health and privacy risks associated with the mandated deployment of “smart meters” by DTE Energy and Consumers Energy who witnessed first-hand the representation inequality associated with big-bucks government.It has taken 21 months to schedule a non-official hearing about their concerns.
The hearing, which was held this Tuesday, started at 5 PM and lasted for six hours, so that 72 citizens could present their stories of deteriorating health, many of which were documented by their doctors.
Earlier in the day, many of these same people attended an official hearing that was convened within six weeks of the introduction of a bill that would provide wind energy development companies immunity from prosecution for damages to private citizens.
A simple comparison showing “representation inequality” …
- A bill (SB-1124) that restricts the redress of grievances of a private citizen against an energy business gets fast-tracked.
- A bill (HR-4315) (introduced by Rep. Tom McMillin on 2/26/2013) that mandates that monopolies like DTE and Consumers provide customers with the freedom to choose whether or not their private property has its electricity usage monitored by a device associated with health and privacy risks is stalled in committee for 21 months.
Why would the chairman of the House Energy and Technology Committee (Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton) ignore HR-4315 for 21 months, repeatedly refusing to hold a public hearing due his “perception” of a lack of public concern? The public concern expressed on Tuesday described much pain and suffering from DTE and Consumers mandated radiation that could have been avoided over the same 21 months if HR-4315 had received the attention it deserved back then.
A brief Google search may shed some needed light on this legislative roadblock. The non-profit organization, Michigan Campaign Finance Network, provides us with snapshots of the top lobbyists for a given campaign season.
For the recent 2014 Primary season, DTE and Consumers rank within the top 5 donors for Republicans Snyder, Calley, Schuette, and Johnson. Consumers supported Snyder with $82,975; DTE added $75,800 to the Snyder Campaign. Consumers and DTE contributed $236,400 toward the victory of the GOP politicians at the top of 2014 primary ballot.
Some say that Michigan’s Big Government functions much like a corporation with a strong CEO and management team. Others question the practical independence of the legislative body, noting Snyder’s progressive agenda— Medicaid expansion, Common Core, Amnesty for unaccompanied children, the Endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood (via CAIR/ISNA)—has been largely rubber-stamped by the legislative leadership team despite the strong opposition of the conservative GOP base they represent.
In light of the marathon “hearing” on HR-4315, will Gov. Snyder and Rep. Nesbitt finally agree that there is sufficient public interest to move the bill through the legislative process, allowing the peoples’ representatives to do their job?
Top photo from the Blaze: old-school meter vs smart meter
Hearing photo: MLive