Economy

Economy
10:58 am
Tue December 23, 2014

On ice storm anniversary, BWL chairman calls for more vigorous oversight

Steve Reed of the Lansing State Journal (center) and Lansing Board of Water and Light Chairman David Price (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit WKAR/Bill Richards

This year’s Christmas holiday is bringing back unpleasant memories of last year’s intense ice storm and power outages. One year ago to the day, thousands of people in the Lansing area were without electricity because of hundreds of downed, ice-coated trees that disconnected lines.  Many residents spent days, some more than a week, without power, often at significant expense. The episode amounted to an embarassing right of passage for the capital city’s municipally-owned utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

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Economy
11:31 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Detroit preps for 2015 Auto Show

The Lansing-built 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Car buffs are revving up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. More than 800,000 people attended the show at the Cobo Center last January.

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Politics & Government
11:18 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Breaking down Michigan's competing road funding plans

The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.

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Economy
11:35 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Auto analyst: pay hikes front and center for UAW

New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced  feature of the autoworker landscape:  “two-tier” wages and benefits.

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Economy
11:12 am
Mon December 8, 2014

MI retailers push for sales tax fairness

Many online retailers, like Amazon, don't collect the state sales tax from customers in Michigan.
Credit Flickr - Carl Malamud

Last week we learned that e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday 2014 topped $2-billion. That’s up more than 15-percent over last year. Big box giant Walmart and online powerhouse Amazon saw sizeable surges in their bottom lines. But the reports are not welcome news for everyone, including traditional brick and mortar retailers in Michigan.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Pilot program seeks permanent housing for Lansing's homeless

Rebecca Porter (left) was homeless for most of the past year. She is working with case worker Amanda Fleckenstein (right) and others at Volunteers of America Michigan to move into permanent housing. She hopes to be in her new home by Christmas.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Michigan’s long winter months can give anyone the blues, but it’s an especially dangerous time for the homeless. Hundreds of people in mid-Michigan live on the streets, and their circumstances are diverse. In Lansing, officials are so far pleased with the results of a pilot program to move 11 people out of a makeshift camp and into permanent housing.

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Economy
11:52 am
Thu November 20, 2014

MI manufacturing industry seeks to close skills gap

Credit www.camw.org/

The Lansing area, like much of Michigan, has been shaped by manufacturing. But the industry has taken a beating in the past 13 years. The state has lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2001. After years of cuts, though, the industry is starting to make a comeback here in mid-Michigan.

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Economy
11:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Cadillac unveils Lansing-built ATS-V at LA Auto Show

Cadillac's new ATS-V will be built at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant.
Credit Courtesy © General Motors

Cadillac has unveiled the next model that General Motors will build in Lansing. GM is showing off the new ATS-V at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

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Economy
10:57 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Advocates say homelessness shouldn't be a crime

Eric Hufnagel is executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness
Credit http://mihomeless.org/

A group of pastors and volunteers for a local non-profit in Ft. Lauderdale are facing jail time and hundreds of dollars in fine after a run-in with police last week. Their crime? Passing out food to the homeless in a city park. Advocates for the homeless says these kinds of ordinances are part of a larger trend of cities criminalizing the activities of homeless people. Here in Michigan, a number of cities have ordinances restricting vagrancy and panhandling.

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Economy
11:45 am
Wed November 12, 2014

In Flint, it takes a village to raze a house

This burned-out house on Parkbelt Drive in Flint was torn down yesterday with funding from a crowdsourcing effort.
Credit Courtesy Parkbelt Drive residents

Back in August, we brought you the story of an online fundraising effort aimed at bringing in enough money to pay for the demolition of a single burned-out house in Flint. Gordon Young is a Flint expat and author of “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City”. His idea was simple: while Flint has hundreds of abandoned homes, and some neighborhoods suffer mightily from such blight, he wanted to find a house that needed tearing down in an otherwise well maintained neighborhood, one where the demolition would improve the neighborhood’s chances of thriving into the future.

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Economy
11:01 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Planners eye faster Detroit-Chicago rail service

Passenger rail service between Detroit and Chicago could become much faster in the future under a plan being considered by officials in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
Credit Flickr - Bernt Rostad

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation along with Indiana and Illinois presented a proposal for passenger rail improvements on the Detroit to Chicago line. When running on time, the "Wolverine Line" takes riders from the Motor City to the Windy City in about five and a half hours. New plans hope to cut travel time considerably, and increase ridership significantly.

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Economy
11:04 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Planners seek public input on Lansing region's transportation future

What are the Lansing area’s future transportation needs? Three times this week, that’s been the topic of public forums in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. The Tri County Regional Planning Commission is holding a fourth forum this evening in Lansing.

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Economy
11:43 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Lansing affordable housing advocates unveil five-year plan

Credit glhc.org

Federal officials consider housing “affordable” when it costs less than 30-percent of its residents’ income. By that measure, affordable housing is outside the reach of more than 60,000 families in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As of this morning, there’s a new game plan for to increase quality, affordable housing in the Lansing area.

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Economy
11:44 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Ingham home auction offers look at local housing economy

The housing market in Michigan is much healthier today than it was four years ago.  Foreclosure rates have been declining in that time, though there was a slight uptick in filings in July.

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Economy
12:58 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

LEAP official: City holds companies accountable with development agreements

Dorshimer says most competition over corporate location occurs between regions of the state and regions of the country rather than between municipalities.
Credit Courtesy - Lansing Economic Development Corporation

Today we look at how economic incentives are used in the Lansing area. There is fierce competition out there among cities and communities, not just in Michigan but across the country, to attract new businesses that will bring jobs and economic growth. This competition often gives companies the upper-hand when asking for tax abatements and other incentives from local taxpayers. But just how much should Lansing give up in tax revenue for, say, 1000 new jobs? And once that deal is made, how are the numbers tracked to see if, indeed, those new jobs have materialized? What are the consequences if they don’t?

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Economy
12:27 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Flint expat pursues single home demolition through crowdsourcing

The burnt-out, abandoned house is located on Parkbelt Dr. in an otherwise well-kept neighborhood.
Credit Courtesy - "Fight Blight and Spur Revival in Flint, Michigan"

It’s no secret that Flint has been ravaged by blight and neglect over the past couple of decades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned homes are scattered across the city. While Flint’s problems are pretty daunting when viewed all at once, one former Flint resident has decided to help out by focusing on a single, burned-out, abandoned house.

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Economy
11:31 am
Mon July 28, 2014

A look at the changing face of pensions

Credit Flickr - 401(K)_2012

From the Detroit bankruptcy to a high-profile lawsuit against phone giant Verizon, pensions are in the news lately. With all the talk about pensions being frozen, or reduced, or bought out, we wanted to get kind of a “Pensions 101” perspective.

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Economy
1:30 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

From baseball to manufacturing: role of supply chains in global economy

Michigan State University Supply Chain Management Assistant Professor Hakan Yildiz.
Credit msu.edu

One of the biggest developments in world economies in recent years has been Supply Chain Management. Wikipedia defines “supply chain” as a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to costumer.

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Economy
12:34 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Report alleges disinvestment is costing Michigan

The new report opposes the images of "Pure Michigan," drawing attention to some of the harsh realities faced by many.
Credit Flickr - Mike

“We still have miles to go to rebuild Michigan after years of neglect.” That sentence reflects the findings of a new report from the Michigan Economic Center at the Prima Civitas Foundation.

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Economy
1:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

MSU economist maps U.S. cocaine trafficking

MSU professor Dr. Siddharth Chandra has devised a map that tracks cocaine trafficking across U.S. cities. Red circles indicate cities where cocaine is least expensive. These are often hub cities from which cocaine is distributed. Blue circles show destination cities where cocaine is most expensive.
Credit Siddharth Chandra

Last month, a federal judge sentenced a 90 year old Indiana man to three years in prison for his role in transporting more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine into Michigan. The man’s age spurred new attention to an old problem.  Illegal drug trafficking is an ongoing epidemic across the United States. Now, a Michigan State University professor has created a new way to track the flow of cocaine into the country.

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Economy
1:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

State to look at passenger rail from Holland to Detroit

Credit Flickr- Slmnc

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced that it plans to study the viability of a passenger rail service that would connect Holland, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. The study has been mandated in the state’s 2015 budget.

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Economy
1:03 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Lawsuit triggers threat of Flint bankruptcy

Flint struggles with new lawsuit that may end in bankruptcy.
Credit Flickr

Flint is renowned as the birthplace of General Motors and for the prosperity it once enjoyed as “Vehicle City.” More recently, that success has been overshadowed by troubles that have trailed the decline of auto manufacturing such as population loss, blight, crime, drugs, and debt.

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Economy
1:43 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Michigan looks to attract foreign investment through immigrants

Scott Woosley says the EB-5 Center will have offices in Lansing and Detroit.
Credit Courtesy - http://www.michigan.gov/mshda

Earlier this year in his State of the State address, Governor Rick Snyder emphasized  his administration’s desire to increase immigration to Michigan. Recently, state officials got news that could move the state closer to that goal. Last month, federal customs officials approved the state’s application to launch an initiative that could attract more foreign investment and workers to the state.

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Economy
1:07 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

EL budget aims more spending at roads

East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas says the city is shifting its focus to infrastructure, including streets and sidewalks.
Credit Flickr - Mark Sardella

East Lansing officials are working on the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year. The $32.7 million spending plan features a small millage rate cut for 2015. There will be meetings and public forums on the budget over the next few weeks.

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Economy
1:14 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

New MSU project expected to help create thousands of Michigan jobs

The Food Processing and Innovation Center is raising the funding for the estimated $5.5 million project. It’s expected to consist of a mix of federal and state dollars, along with a commitment from MSU and five industry partners. It will be located on Hewlett Road.
Credit Courtesy - Michigan State University


There are plans to build a new center here at MSU that, if realized, proponents say could have a substantial economic impact on the state of Michigan, including the creation of potentially thousands of new jobs. Current State's Joe Linstroth talked with Chris Peterson, an agricultural economist and the head of MSU’s Product Center, who says there are more than 600 mid-sized food processors in the state of Michigan. Many of these companies’ facilities are maxed out, meaning that if they want to create a new product, they don’t have the capacity to test the product or its manufacturing and packaging techniques to see if it’s economically viable.

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Economy
4:53 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

State prisoner reentry program looks to address unemployment

Russ Marlan of the MDOC says that they have about 43,500 prisoners in Michigan's 31 correction facilities. Releases vary from around 9,000 to 10,000 a year.
Credit Flickr - foreverdigital

Inmates who leave Michigan prisons at the end of their sentences need an array of support services to help them successfully reenter society. The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative was created in 2003 to fulfill that goal. The program has done quite well in the years since, but the state is still seeking ways to improve. The Michigan Department of Corrections is asking service providers to help enhance the post-prison experience for those who’ve served their time.

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Business
3:37 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

City finance expert: Lansing ballpark plan a step forward

Eric Scorsone thinks the development project at Cooley Law School stadium represents a manageable risk for the city of Lansing.
Credit Flickr - mwlguide

It’s hard to tell with all the new snow, but we’re three weeks away from  the “Crosstown Showdown” home opener between the Lansing Lugnuts and the MSU Spartans. Yesterday, Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson and city leaders announced plans for a $22-million development at Cooley Law School Stadium.

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Economy
12:03 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Pennyslvania offers lessons on clearing road funding hurdles

Pennsylvania's situation regarding roads and politics are similar to Michigan's.
Credit Flickr - chrisUK

With an intense pothole season beginning to unfold in Michigan, debate is intensifying over how to repair and better maintain state roads and highways.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder has favored a longer-term, comprehensive approach that would invest over a billion dollars a year in the effort. However, fellow Republicans in the legislature have withheld support for the tax and fee increases that would fund the Governor’s plan.

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Economy
1:32 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Lansing organization offers support, training for women in construction

As of 2011, there are approximately 800,000 women working in the construction industry across the country, which is about nine percent of the total workforce.
Credit Flickr - DazMSmith

The National Association of Women in Construction, or NAWIC, has built a support network of more than 140 chapters around the world to assist women in the largely male-dominated construction fields. The organization was founded in 1953 by 16 women working in the construction industry in Fort Worth, Texas. NAWIC’s Lansing chapter became Michigan’s first in 1971.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:50 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Coalition working on minimum wage proposal for November ballot

Credit Flickr - athrasher

A coalition of labor and civil rights groups calling itself Raise Michigan has announced its intention to form a ballot campaign committee. It’s a procedural step that could lead to a statewide vote this November on raising the minimum wage, which in Michigan is currently $7.40 an hour.

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