Group files petition in Ann Arbor seeking recall of Gov. Rick Snyder
Editor's note: This article has been updated with comments from Michigan Citizens United and the governor's office.
A group called Michigan Citizens United filed a petition seeking the recall of Gov. Rick Snyder with the Washtenaw County clerk's office this morning.
The group, which spokesman Tim Kramer said is made up of a broad coalition of Michigan residents, filed the petition at 10:01 a.m. this morning.
The group had to file the petition in Washtenaw County because this is Snyder's legal county of residence, said Matt Yankee, acting director of elections for Washtenaw County. Snyder lives in Superior Township.
In order to force a recall election, the group, which filed paperwork with the state last month to form a political action committee, will need signatures from enough people to equal 25 percent of those who voted for the office of governor in the last election. That's close to 807,000 names, Yankee said.
The hearing at 11:30 a.m. in the Board of Commissioners room in the Washtenaw County Administration Building, 220 N. Main St., will determine only whether the language on the petition is clear, Yankee said. If the wording is rejected, the group can file an appeal, Yankee said.
The petition wording says Snyder: "has approved and signed various laws that take authority and funds from local governments and school districts and vest them with the state. He has obtained for himself, through his appointed Emergency Financial Managers, the power to invalidate legal and binding contracts entered into by properly elected local authorities. He has sought tax increases upon retirees and lower income families, but instead of addressing the deficit, he has sought large new tax cuts for corporations and businesses."
On its website, firericksnyder.org, the group says it is seeking Snyder's recall over legislation that allows the appointment of an emergency financial manager for school districts and municipalities struggling financially.
Kramer said the group opposes the emergency manager law, among other policies of the governor.
"We don't like the tax decrease on corporations or the tax increase on Michigan families," he said. The group also opposes the governor's plan to end Michigan film tax credits.
Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said the governor will not be deterred by the recall effort.
"The governor’s committed to making the tough fiscal and policy decisions that have been put off for far too long," Wurfel said in a statement. "He knew full well that it wasn't going to be easy or a popularity contest, but he does hope that Michigan citizens will realize down the road that it will be well worth it. He’s staying focused on the job he was hired to do — turning around Michigan’s economy and making sure this is a place where we ALL can live, work, do business, play, and prosper."
The Michigan Republican Party issued a press release today calling Michigan Citizens United a front for the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union.
“The focus of our educational system should be on what is best for students — not what is best for union bosses,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak said in the press release. “Why are teachers’ union dues being spent on an effort to recall a governor who took office less than five months ago?”
The press release said records on file with the Michigan Secretary of State’s office show Michigan Citizens United has the same fax number as an MEA coordinating council and that the council’s field assistant, Gail Schmidt, is listed as the group's treasurer.
Kramer said Schmidt is the group's treasurer, and the group includes other MEA members, but also members from other unions and people who are not union members. "There are retirees, students and millworkers," he said. "It's not a front for the MEA."
The group has no office, Kramer said; its organizers work out of their homes. The recall language was submitted by Gerald D. Rozner, a Monroe resident.
Cindy Heflin is a news producer for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-623-2572.