Virginia teaches first and second year French at the University of Michigan-Flint.
On Saturday May 7, 2011, US Uncut-Michigan joined forces with MoveOn, RecallRickSnyder, local unions, the UAW, and University of Michigan student activist groups to protest the Emergency Financial Manager bill, as well as tax breaks to the wealthy corporation, Whirlpool. In spite of his dictatorial action to dismantle the locally-elected government, Governor Rick Snyder was invited to be the annual Blossomtime Parade’s Grand Marshal.
Whirlpool, which has for decades benefited from the local labor force without giving back its fair share to the community, is a sponsor for this annual parade. Whirlpool has just shut down its Benton Harbor plant, however is building its new international headquarters here. According to Bloomberg on May 4, 2011: "Whirlpool had negative effective income tax rates in 2010, 2009 and 2008. Last year, the company reported an income tax benefit of $64 million and an effective tax rate of negative 10.9 percent, according to company filings. The company expects a similar tax benefit in 2011, corporate controller Larry Venturelli told analysts today." See the full article at: http://news.businessweek.com/article.asp?documentKey=1376-LK9VGG0UQVI901-50H3SO7LMOD0H4E73ILLIQ095L
Benton Harbor is EVERYONE’S FUTURE! All around the country, corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks has led to an inadequate revenue base to fund community priorities. When the community doesn't have the revenue to adequately finance operations, budget deficits ensue, cuts are made, programs and services suffer, and an Emergency Financial Manager can be appointed. However, the need for an EFM is the direct result of corporate tax breaks. There is a direct link between corporate tax breaks, called “incentives”, and community decline all across America. Corporations need to pay their fair share! US UNCUT says Un-Cut!
As Governor Snyder crossed the bridge on foot at the head of the parade from the more affluent St. Joe into Benton Harbor, a gauntlet of protestors dressed in red awaited him lining both sides of the street. He marshaled in the parade to chants of “Recall Rick”. As he picked up his pace to reach the end of the gauntlet, the protesters moved with him, following him for a mile down Main Street to 6th Street, where he was taken away by his car to chants of “Shame! Shame!”
Here are some links to videos that portray the spirit of the day on May 7, 2011:
Speeches at the Rally in Front of City Hall before the Parade (approx. 40 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGp0MKx3vS8&NR=1
*Governor Rick Snyder crossing the bridge from St. Joe into Benton Harbor (4:45 min)* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwxhkbbSNVA
Governor Snyder continues down Main Street pursued by the protestors (1 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UklwLETsNlk
Snyder continues down Main Street to chants of “Shame On You!” (1 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UklwLETsNl
Bob King, President of the UAW Interviewed after the march (45 sec) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCS-jW-Yh-c&NR=1
Read and see more about the effort to repeal the new EFM Law in Michigan: (2 min)
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