People who build schools and other public infrastructure projects in Michigan might soon see a lighter paycheck. Yesterday, the Michigan Senate voted to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. That provision mandates that wages paid in state government contracts are based on collective bargain agreements.
General Motors has been around for 106 years, and they’ve built a lot of vehicles. In fact, that number has recently surpassed 500-million. Half a billion Chevys, Cadillacs, and, of course, Lansing-built Oldsmobiles, and others. It's an amazing number. That’s far more than any other car company.
In just over a month, Michigan voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1. That’s the statewide ballot initiative that would generate more than $1-billion to repair and maintain Michigan roads. It’s a complex plan with many parts, the implications of which reach beyond highways and bridges. If approved, the measure would enact a constitutional change to the state sales tax, and also trigger a number of statutory changes. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has been following the developments of Proposal 1.
There are few issues of public importance in Michigan that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce does not weigh in on. The state chamber is the advocate for businesses and job providers across the state. It assists more than 6,000 member employers, trade associations and local chambers in the legislative, political and legal process.
Last week, the organization Business Leaders for Michigan gathered in Lansing for one of its periodic Leadership Summits. The group’s mission is advance strategies to make Michigan a top ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. According to Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh, those in attendance which included the CEOs, Chairpersons and Senior Executive of Michigan’s largest companies and Universities, spent a good deal of time lamenting the lack of a cohesive economic growth agenda for the state.
Tens of thousands of music and movie fans will descend on Austin, Texas next week for the South by Southwest festival. The festival’s line up features a number of Michigan musicians, but they won’t be the only ones representing the Mitten state. Joining them will be a team from the arts advocacy group Creative Many, formerly ArtServe.
Economic developers often refer to Michigan State University’s FRIB as a “game changer.” The $730-million nuclear science facility, set to launch in around six years with around 400 employees, will be the most powerful rare isotope research site in the world. It will explore the physics of atomic nuclei, with potential applications in medicine, defense and other areas. But what other economic impacts might stem from FRIB and from Niowave, another established particle acceleration firm based in Lansing?
Michigan takes a lot of pride in its nickname as the “comeback” state. And after taking a beating during the Great Recession, Michigan is indeed on the upswing. Forecasts say the state should continue to see economic growth and improvements to the unemployment rate in the next two years. But not everyone is feeling the impact of that recovery yet. Among those left behind are the nearly 550,000 Michigan children living in poverty.
Dozens of volunteers have wrapped up an evening out in the cold on the streets of Lansing. Last night, the Volunteers of America in Lansing conducted its annual Point in Time Count, which tracks the homeless in our community.
Recently, Michigan has been through a Gubernatorial campaign, an election, a lame duck legislative session and an inauguration. And Governor Snyder delivers his annual State of the State address this evening. Amid all this political activity, what do Michiganians think of their top elected officials?
A national organization designed to inspire and educate entrepreneurs is coming to Lansing. It’s called Startup Grind. The Lansing Startup Grind will hold its first meeting on Thursday night. Startup Grind was formed in 2010 and has grown to 150 cities in 65 countries.
What’s made in Poland and is named after the Spanish word for waterfall? It’s the newest convertible from Buick, the Cascada, unveiled this week at the Detroit Auto Show. The North American International Auto Show is in full swing at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week. Current State will bring you all the latest these next few days in our NAIAS series.
What is ahead for Michigan in 2015? An income tax cut? A sales tax hike? Could elected officials move to repeal the state’s prevailing wage provisions? All are possible. A clearer picture will begin to emerge Wednesday when the 2015 Michigan legislature convenes.
On today's show, we heard briefly from Keith Allard of the recently formed group, "Protect MI Taxpayers." Allard is also Chairman of the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association and a recent unsuccessful candidate for the state legislature. His group is launching a campaign urging voters to defeat the call to increase the state sales tax by a cent. Michigan voters will decide that issue on May 5.
Ingham County Land Bank executive director Jeff Burdick stands outside a severely blighted vacant home on Lansing's east side. The city of Lansing is using a $6-million federal grant to eliminate blight and help stabilize property values.
Now that we’re into the new year, you might be thinking ”I’m ready to give myself a makeover.” It’s not just people who have that impulse. Entire communities plan what they’ll look like in the future, and that often means getting rid of outdated eyesores. That’s a polite description of what cities large and small deal constantly deal with: urban blight. The city of Lansing has recently received a federal grant to eliminate blighted properties.
A closely-watched study predicts the creation of about 60,000 new jobs in Michigan this year. That’s from the University of Michigan’s annual economic forecast, released recently. But only about 10-percent of those new jobs are expected to come from manufacturing, historically one of Michigan’s strongest job sectors, including here in Greater Lansing. So where are the new jobs coming from, and what trends are creating them?
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.
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.
One of the biggest challenges faced by new Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is the poor condition of thousands of houses in the city. People won’t choose to live in a city where they can’t get a decent house. The Detroit Land Bank Authority hopes a new system of auctioning off vacant houses will spur a wave of movement into the city. It’s called “Building Detroit”.
Are we truly a Comeback State? Just how much can a governor influence the economy? The Citizens Research Council, an independent, non-partisan research organization that analyzes public policy questions, recently analyzed data to try to answer these questions.
Strange weather in Michigan continues to affect various kinds of agriculture. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has been checking into the effects of a hard winter and a cool summer on the wine industry in the state.
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.
When we think of capturing solar energy, we often think of the large, clunky panels on rooftops that are expensive and inefficient. But what if your windows could capture the energy of the sunlight as it passes through them to help run your coffee maker or heat your house in the winter?
David Bieri is assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His main research and teaching interests are at the intersection of urban planning and real estate economics, public finance and economic geography.
Last week, General Motors announced plans to expand its Delta Township plant and requested a 50% tax break over 12 years from the Lansing City Council. Similarly, the new logistics center at General Motor’s Grand River plant that just started construction that comes with a $4-million tax break.
In Flint, city leaders and residents continue to struggle with serious fiscal challenges. Lately, the focus of the debate has been over whether city services or benefits for municipal retirees is more important.
Michigan’s 69th House district covers parts of the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, as well as Meridian and Williamston Townships. It’s one of the state’s most culturally diverse political districts and historically, the 69th has leaned Democratic.
As Michigan works to recover from the economic downturn and the decline in its manufacturing base, there have been plenty of debates over which policies will set Michigan on a long-term path toward more prosperity.