Benton Harbor Turnaround

I watched this weekend, a half-hour political talk show in Michigan, hosted by Michigan political reporter, Tim Skubic. Usually liberal and fast-paced, Off The Record deals with the downstate politics that rule the rest of us.

Part of the discussion was with Representative Al Pscholka, the new Republican representative of Benton Harbor, who took some grilling about the emergency financial manager that has now turned Benton Harbor around in 6 short months. A controversial law was passed in April, criticized by liberals and libertarians alike, that allowed for the State to take over local control of municipalities and schools that were in financial ruin.

It’s pretty difficult to deny the numbers. In April of this year, Benton Harbor, a town of 10,000, with 9 commissioners and 4 wards, had a deficit of $4 million dollars and debt of $17 million. The city was begging the State to advance them over $100,000 to cover overdraft fees on city paychecks that were written regardless of their checking balance. Money was spread over many accounts, much of it missing, and the pension funds were not properly accounted for. Representative Pscholka said that now, the budget is balanced , all the money is where it is supposed to be, and they are even looking at a $400,000 surplus.

But facts never stop liberal arguments against financial stability. Petitions are being circulated to call a referendum on the emergency financial manager law, and Pscholka is facing recall as well.

When the reporters around the table of Off The Record begin to try to argue against the law, they bring up the fact that unions are against it, on the basis that the emergency manager can modify or reject union contracts, that the emergency manager can call for a dissolution of a school district, which he cannot do, and that all of this is basically giving up democracy, and the right to vote.

The emergency manager, Joe Harris has filed ballot language that would force the 9 commissioners to ask for votes city-wide rather than what has been the case, where one commissioner only needs 40 votes to get into another 4-year term. Additional ballot language would turn the 4-year terms into 2-year terms.

Now for a taste of what type of language is used against fiscal sanity. In July, the that the city was no better off, despite the surplus.

“We have seen literally a poverty pimp who is coming in and literally pimping the people. That’s what’s happening,” argued Commissioner Duane Seats. “You look at the town hall meetings that are basically a puppeteer meeting that you [Harris] don’t answer any questions. The citizens are basically told what’s going to happen.”

That is the argument, despite the council approving every step of Harris’ plan.

At a , some of the prospective candidates for office gathered with about 30 people in attendence, and more of the same type of language against financial soundness took place.

Mayor Wilce Cooke, mayoral write-in candidate Dennis Knowles, 1st Ward Commissioner Eddie Marshall, 2nd Ward candidate Trenton Bowens and Commissioner-at-large candidate Mary Alice Adams took part.

Knowles said the law “takes people out of the equation” and Cooke called Public Act 4 “a real travesty” and said it will put the citizens “right back in slavery.”

Unbelievably, the mayor offered,

….Benton Harbor is no different than any other city in Michigan.

“They all have problems. We’ll never get out of debt without a new form of revenue,” Cooke said. “We’ve worked diligently to get businesses to come here, and the major players in the community put up stumbling blocks. We have a couple of companies that would love to come here but don’t want to because there’s a financial manager here.”

Genius. Companies don’t want to go to Benton Harbor because they have a manager who has installed fiscal sanity? Perhaps it is instead because the mayor wants to find, “a new form of revenue.”

Please follow and like:

Doug Ross: Obama Has a Hockey Stick Too!

Clearly, the 4th Quarter of 2008, spending was on an uptick, but could have gone back down if Obama had cut taxes and got Americans enthusiastic about producing. Instead, he spent trillions of dollars we do not have immediately, creating this revealing hockey stick graph.

Now we are a downgraded nation who needs to fight to get rid of him and his policies.

Amplify’d from


Please follow and like: