Because nothing says “I care about you” more than making it a little more affordable to drink unsafe water, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has presented a plan to provide $30 million in water bill discounts and retroactive credits for Flint citizens. Huffington Post reports:
Snyder, a Republican, will make the case for the $30 million plan when he presents his budget next week for the coming fiscal year. Pending the state legislature’s approval, his proposal would lower residents’ bills by about 30 percent until water is safe to drink, and credit their past bills going back to April 2014. Former residents would also be eligible for refunds.
“I agree with Flint residents, that they should not have to pay for water they cannot drink,” Snyder said in a statement.
Flint’s average monthly water and sewer bill was $140 in 2014, much higher than neighboring cities, according to the Flint Journal. Under Snyder’s proposal, a family paying $140 would get about a $40 credit.
The plan is hailed as a goodwill gesture by many after scientists and investigators found high levels of lead exposure in Flint citizens, but Snyder is also facing class action lawsuits from citizens who are upset that they are having to pay for contaminated water at all. The much-maligned switch to the Flint River as a temporary drinking water source and a campaign of negligence by state and local government agencies led to lead leeching into drinking water. The authority of local citizens to make shared decisions was entirely eroded by state-appointed emergency managers with unilateral power. And a $40 monthly credit would still make Flint water the most expensive in the county.
Why should Flint citizens have to pay for the water at all until it is deemed totally safe? If anything, they should be refunded and paid for the hazard and potential hardships brought on entirely by government malfeasance and lack of accountability. Why should the victims of the crisis be faced with footing any part of the bill?
The Michigan state Senate has approved the $30 million dollar bill, which will go to the state House for passage as early as next week.