LANSING, MI – A state House committee met Wednesday to discuss Michigan's tax structure. The rest of the Legislature is in recess this week.
The House Tax Policy committee has been taking testimony from interest groups over the past few weeks. The committee chair hopes to hear from a couple dozen groups before the fiscal year ends in the Fall.
On Wednesday, the committee heard from the Michigan Municipal League. Robin Beltramini is president of the league, and a councilwoman in Troy.
Lansing, MI – Students from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan will hold a joint news conference at the Capital in Lansing Thursday. They're concerned about budget proposals that call for the elimination of the state scholarships and cuts to college funding.
State legislators haven't passed a budget yet, but they're looking to cut the Michigan Promise scholarship program and general appropriations for colleges and universities.
LANSING, MI – State House Republicans unveiled their plan Wednesday to balance the state's budget by cutting spending by $1.4 billion. That number matches the Republican-controlled state Senate's target for cuts.
House Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer says deep program cuts are necessary to avoid raising taxes.
LANSING, MI – The state Democratic Party has a list of prospective questions that voters could decide in next year's elections.
AUDIO: Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer's list includes boosting the minimum wage and unemployment benefits, cutting utility rates, a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures, and requiring employers to offer health benefits.
Brewer says these issues could also help Democratic candidates next year.
St. Johns, MI – The Crosby Mint Farm near St. Johns bills itself as the oldest continuously operating mint farm in the country. It first planted roots back in 1912. Jim Crosby and his sister Linette are preparing for the farm's 98th harvest - and they're fighting to keep it from becoming their last. The farm is in foreclosure, and the siblings are trying to sell enough mint oil to stave off an auction.
WASHINGTON – General Motors and Chrysler are defending their plans to eliminate about 3,000 dealerships across the nation during the second day of congressional hearings on the auto industry.
Under criticism in Congress, lawyers for the two auto companies say the dealer reductions were needed as part of a larger plan to help them rebound from bankruptcy. The automakers say the alternative was liquidation and massive job losses.
DETROIT – About 2,600 Detroit Public Schools employees have been told to reapply for their jobs - or risk losing them.
The district on Tuesday declared the positions vacant and said staff had until Friday to interview with their principals or request an interview. Employees from at least 40 affected schools who don't respond may be reassigned.
The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the schools are being "reconstituted" in response to a failure to meet state annual yearly progress standards.
EAST LANSING, MI – The union that represents Lansing firefighters has endorsed Mayor Virg Bernero in his reelection bid. International Association of Firefighters local 421 made the announcement today. Local president Bryan Epling says Bernero has been committed to supporting the fire department, even through difficult budget years.
"It is comforting to know that our mayor will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the public safety needs of our community and for the men and women of our department," he said.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm and members of her administration say they need more tax credits to lure businesses to the state. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority has reached the limit of how many tax breaks it can give out this year.
Greg Main is the president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He says that Michigan will lose business to other states without more credits.
DEARBORN, MI – Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder is the latest candidate to reveal plans to run for governor in Michigan in 2010.
The Republican announced his candidacy for governor at a press conference today at Dearborn's Greenfield Village and has scheduled a five-day statewide tour. He plans to visit Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids later in the day.