walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Michigan Now Center of Blue Model Battle

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has momentum on his side after last week’s big victory on right-to-work legislation, and now he has his sights set on another priority: Detroit. Earlier the city council repeatedly failed to pass a measure necessary to put the city’s ailing finances back on track. The bill finally passed Tuesday after weeks of negotiations, but Snyder has had it with the endless dithering and is now pushing for a measure that would allow the state to appoint an emergency manager to run the city until it gets its house in order. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The state Senate on Thursday passed legislation that gives financially troubled cities four options if the governor decides a financial emergency exists: sign a consent agreement with the state committing the city to overhauls; enter mediation to resolve financial problems; accept an emergency manager appointed by the governor; or file for bankruptcy. The state House approved the measure a day earlier.

The legislation is aimed at replacing a law passed early in Mr. Snyder’s term that expanded the governor’s power to take control of troubled cities or school districts. That law was repealed in a November referendum.

Two years ago, Wisconsin was the epicenter of the battle against big blue. That battle has now shifted to Michigan, where Republicans in Lansing are pushing an agenda that in many ways goes further than anything Scott Walker proposed. Not only has the Michigan GOP attacked both public and private sector unions; the long-running battle over the urban implosion that is Detroit is now heating up again as well. Considering the magnitude of the city’s woes, this promises to be a drawn-out conflict that will dominate the headlines for years to come.

Michigan politics is going to be one of the hottest and most important stories in America, and what happens or doesn’t happen here will help shape the next decade.

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