On April 17 (tax day) Scott Dianda speaks out against taxes on seniors, working class and middle class citizens, in the Houghton Democratic Party's new office in Hancock. Dianda (who had not yet announced his candidacy) was speaking for Concerned Citizens of Houghton County in reference to Michigan PA 38, legislation, voted in the Republican-controlled State Senate and House and signed by Gov. Snyder on May 25, 2011. Under PA 38, next year families will lose the $600 a year per child tax credit for children, seniors will be taxed on their retirement, homestead credits will be slashed -- while corporate special interest groups will receive $1.8 billion in big tax breaks, Dianda explained. Here he is being interviewed by Gabrielle Mays, Houghton Bureau reporter for WLUC-TV6. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
The event is both a kick-off to the 2012 election season and a public celebration of May Day, or International Workers’ Day, a holiday that commemorates the efforts of workers around the world who have organized for better working conditions and fair compensation.
Introduced by Dianda at the Apr. 17 media event, Clarence McDonald, right, chairman of United Auto Workers (UAW) Retirees of the Western U.P., speaks about the importance of union benefits for workers. "People don't seem to understand that non-union people benefit from what the unions have negotiated for over the years." At left is Keweenaw County Commissioner Don Piche, who retired recently after working 35 years for the Keweenaw County Road Commission. Piche said it isn't fair that he will have to start paying taxes on his retirement next year just because he was born after 1952.
The May Day Rally is both a celebration of labor history and a protest against the record breaking amount of anti-worker, anti-working- and anti-middle-class legislation that has been passed since the current Michigan legislature took office in 2011.
These are just a few of the things this legislature has managed to do since taking office early last year:
- Raise taxes on seniors, the middle class, and the working poor -- while giving Michigan's richest corporations an 86 percent tax cut.
- Reduce unemployment benefit weeks to 20 from 26 -- making Michigan the state with the least number of unemployment weeks in the country.
- Cut funding to public schools by $1 billion.
- Drastically weaken workers' compensation laws, making it more difficult for workers injured on the job to seek compensation.**
Key pieces of the anti-worker agenda were supported by the Copper Country’s own state representative, 110th District State Rep. Matt Huuki, who voted to cut funding to his own district's local governments and schools. State Rep. Huuki also voted to slash the number of unemployment weeks laid-off workers can seek-- and to make it more difficult for workers injured on the job to seek compensation.
*Editor's Note: Michigan Democrats will also hold presidential caucuses Saturday morning, May 5, before the rally. Click here for information.
** Click here to read more about this legislation.
May 5th is also Climate Impacts Day. If possible walk or ride to the Rally Saturday. See http://www.350.org/