Michigan’s Rick Snyder is the New Scott Walker

While the political and fiscal news in Illinois remains relatively quiet, our Midwestern neighbors are taking dramatic and controversial steps to repair their budgets.

As Illinois continues to putter around with small scale tax reforms–the “latest” idea is a cigarette tax hike–our Midwestern neighbors keep dominating the news (or at least the percentage of it devoted to sexy state fiscal plans). You probably read about this weekend’s big protest in Madison, or the most recent bonkers parliamentary maneuver. As a result of the ongoing protests, Gov. Scott Walker’s hamfisted politicking, and the effective political drama of the Senate Democrats’ Illinois sojourn, Wisconsin has been arguably the biggest story in the region, or even the country.

Similar legislation is on the docket in Indiana, and Athenae at First Draft rounds up some news from Missouri and Ohio. But the fiscal and economic proposals coming from Michigan governor Rick Synder–and his GOP colleagues in the legislature–stand to be just as controversial as Walker’s, if not more:

* A bill has been introduced that would cut the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

* A proposal to tax both private and public pensions, both of which are currently tax-exempt in Michigan (the same is true in Illinois)

* A simplified tax code that would swap the Michigan Business Tax and various tax credits for a flat corporate tax; the resulting loss of revenue would be made up by substantial budget cuts.

* The expansion of emergency financial manager provisions; since that includes the possibility of dissolving labor agreements, union members are upset.

* As you might guess, taking on unions and pension recipients, who represent two very reliable voting blocs, hasn’t been good for Snyder’s approval ratings.

A good place to follow all this is mlive.com’s State of Change, a chronologically organized list of the ongoing political developments in the state. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t live there, but it’s still pretty important–as Midwestern states are turning to dramatic measures under GOP control, Democratic-run Illinois continues to mostly bide its time.

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