Education, Teachers — September 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

More on MI Senate Leader Randy Richardville’s attacks on teachers and municipalities


As I reported last week, GOP Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville is out to make Michigan a right to work state, but only for teachers. He said so on Tim Skubick’s “Off the Record”. In an interview with MIRS news service, he went even further, ridiculously saying he doesn’t think teachers realize that Michigan is having economic problems.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville(R-Monroe) said today he believes that other unions “get it” when making sacrifices in this current economic climate, but he wouldn’t include the Michigan Education Association (MEA) in that group.

“I don’t think the teachers’ union understands where we are,” he said.

After recording the “Off the Record” segment, he doubled down according to Gongwer News Service:

“There’s probably nobody in the Legislature, especially a Republican, that has stood up for workers’ rights and workers in general over the last decade (more) than me,” he told reporters after recording the show. “I’ve come to a point where I’ve seen that I do not believe that the teachers union represents teachers well at all, nor does it represent the students. What they’ve been doing is working hard, twisting arms and putting us in places that we can’t afford to be.”

Nobody in the Legislature has stood up for workers’ rights more than Richardville? Are you freaking kidding me?!

According to Gongwer, he went on to call teachers “more than greedy” and said the MEA was now about “big-paid, high-honcho people.

Michigan Education Association president Steve Cook lit into him immediately:

For Sen. Richardville to say that school employees, unlike other unions, have not recognized the state’s tough economic times is ridiculous. Teachers and support staff have been laid off, taken wage and benefit cuts, and seen critical services for students in their districts disappear because of the Republican cut of more than $1 billion from public education.

MEA members are fed up. That’s why thousands have been engaged, alongside thousands of other Michigan citizens, in recall efforts designed to stop these constant attacks on public education and the middle class.

Instead of focusing on putting our state back to work, Sen. Richardville would rather engage in political power grabs. How is attacking public school employees and their unions supposed to help our economy and create jobs?

This is blatant abuse of legislative authority to dole out political payback. That any lawmaker would so willfully use their power to attack a group of people for exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and participation in the democratic process is unconscionable. This is just a continuation of what we’ve seen for months – political extremists and greedy corporate CEOs engaged in a power grab to squeeze even more money out of the middle class and leave workers with no job security, pensions or protections for working conditions.


Sen. Richardville seems to think that MEA members don’t stand behind their union. I have news for him – we’ve heard from countless MEA members who don’t think we’ve gone far enough in fighting back against these attacks. We’re encouraging every MEA member to contact Sen. Richardville’s office immediately and tell him just how wrong he is. His phone number is 866-556-7917.

I also reported that the GOP is looking to eliminate the personal property tax in Michigan. This tax provides a huge percentage of revenue for many Michigan municipalities. In an interview I did this past week with Dan Gilmartin of the Michigan Municipal League for A2Politico, I asked him about this:

Governor Snyder has said a major priority for the coming year is the elimination of the personal property tax which requires businesses to pay taxes on the equipment they purchase. He has said it “causes strange economic behavior that can inhibit job growth.” However, for many municipalities, the personal property tax accounts for large percentages of their annual revenues. How do you see this playing out? Is the elimination of the personal property tax something that will help or hurt municipalities?

Nobody likes the tax. However, its elimination without a fully-funded, guaranteed replacement would wreak havoc on municipalities throughout the state. Cities, villages, counties, schools—you name it—would suffer mightily if the PPT is eliminated without replacement. Bankruptcy would be the only option for literally dozens of local units. That’s why we have started the “Replace Don’t Erase” ( campaign, which is an effort to push for a full guaranteed replacement if the Legislature and governor choose to act.

The argument that the PPT is anti-business has merit, but it is much more anti-business to attempt to attract people and jobs to a state that no longer funds its communities and schools at an adequate level. We will face this situation even more than we do today if a full, guaranteed replacement isn’t enacted. However, if the governor and Legislature enact a full, guaranteed replacement then the change could be win-win.

Richardville has a message for municipalities facing this impending financial disaster: suck it.

Again from MIRS:

On the issue of the personal property tax (PPT), Richardville has a warning for local governments and schools that receive at least $800 million from the tax on business equipment from paper clips to giant presses. He said he does not favor replacing all of the lost revenue if the PPT is phased out.

Richardville said he wants to use this debate as a means to bring about more consolidation of local government and school services which, he figures, will help to make up part of the lost revenue those entities will not get from the state.

“If they want to raise money, they should talk to their own people,” Richardville said.

Gongwer says he phrased this way:

I think that if local governments want to raise revenue to run their cities, to run their townships, to run their villages, counties, they should be talking to their own electorate.

In other words, cities, villages and townships, you’re on your own. This is nothing more than shifting tax burdens, pain and economic hardship down to the local level so that state-level lawmakers can keep their hands clean when it comes to raising taxes.

It’s hard to tell which GOP leader in Michigan is trying harder to decimate our state’s economy, Richardville or House Speaker Jase Bolger.