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Lansing Mayor Bernero joins protesters at Capitol, calls budget plans improper

MahurinEcon_Thumb1_503.jpg
MahurinEcon_Thumb1_503.jpg

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was at the Capitol Wednesday, joining thousands of union members and retirees to protest Governor Snyder’s budget proposal and promote collective bargaining rights for unions.

Bernero voiced concern over the fairness of Snyder’s proposed budget, saying it transfers much of the tax burden from businesses to individuals. He particularly voiced concern over the elimination of the earned income tax credit, which grants tax breaks to poor families.

”The shift of the burden away from business and toward individuals, in particular individuals at the low end of the economic scale, there’s a fundamental fairness problem with that,” Bernero said.

While some attended to protest the Emergency Financial Manager bill, Bernero said that his main concern as Lansing mayor is the budget. The Emergency Financial Manager Bill, which passed the legislature Tuesday, has garnered criticism from Democrats over the last several days. The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by Snyder, would grant financial managers the power to override local elected government and eliminate union contracts.

“I sit as mayor of Lansing, so I don’t expect to be in financial crisis immediately,” Bernero said. “My more immediate concern is the concerns of the budget — the fairness issues of the budget and the economic incentives we rely on in cities to continue to get growth.”

Bernero stressed that Michigan’s growth as a whole relies on the state’s urban centers.

Bernero, the losing Democratic nominee in the 2010 gubernatorial election, said that Synder didn’t outline a detailed plan during the campaign.

“He played his cards very close to the vest,” Bernero said. “Now we’re beginning to see the elements of a plan.”

Bernero said that though he has been worried about Snyder’s policies since day one, he wants to focus on his constituents.

“I feel like I’m the last one that can complain, because I did run for governor,” Bernero said. “I’m mainly keeping my mayor’s hat on and asking the governor to help Lansing and all cities to succeed.”

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