Lansing, MI – Michigan's budget director says state departments will be asked to submit 8% cuts for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
Lawmakers still are working on budget bills for the next fiscal year based on Gov. Jennifer Granholm's February proposal. But with revenues shrinking, budget director Bob Emerson said Friday that departments are being asked to trim 8% from that earlier plan.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio) Many Lansing-area GM dealers are still waiting for notification from the automaker that their franchise agreements will not be renewed. General Motors began sending letters to 1,100 dealerships across the country Thursday.
GM says it wants underperforming retailers who sell fewer than 35 cars each year to "wind down" by the end of 2010. The company has chosen not to release its dealer closure list.
Midland, MI – Midland, MI (AP) Dow Chemical Co. says it wants to create a $665 million facility to manufacture advanced batteries in Midland.
Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Liveris announced Thursday at the company's annual meeting that KD Advanced Battery Group has listed Midland as its preferred site for the project on an application for federal funding. The group is a partnership of Midland-based Dow, Missouri-based Kokam America Inc. and others.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, Mich. (AP) The state of Michigan still is trying to determine exactly how it will schedule furlough days for roughly 38,000 of its employees.
The move is expected to save the state about $21.7 million. It is part of a plan to eliminate a projected $1.3 billion budget deficit in an executive order issued by Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week. More than half of the state's 53,000 state employees will be required to take at least six furlough days before Sept. 30.
Republican state senators unveiled a plan Thursday to ensure medical care for poor people who do not have health coverage. The legislation would create a pool that would be funded by all the companies that sell insurance in Michigan, and by fees charged to doctors and hospitals. The MI-Health fund would cover people well below the poverty line.
A GM car dealer in Okemos says he expects several car dealerships in mid-Michigan will get bad news from General Motors Friday. General Motors is thinning the ranks of dealerships nationwide to make those remaining more profitable.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio) Chrysler has identified four Lansing area dealerships it wants to shut down due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The dropped dealers include Story Chrysler Jeep on Michigan Avenue in Lansing and Beacon Sales in Charlotte.
Washington, DC – WASHINGTON (AP) A source tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama is considering Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and more than five other people as nominees for the Supreme Court.
An official familiar with Obama's decision-making said others include Solicitor General Elena Kagan, California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood - people who have been mentioned frequently as potential candidates.
Lansing, MI – State House Democrats and the Senate GOP found middle ground Wednesday on foreclosure legislation that would give homeowners 90 days to work with lenders.
Foreclosure bills have travelled back and forth from the House and Senate for a couple months. Democrats wanted to include the threat of court proceedings as incentive for lenders to work with homeowners. Republicans argued the only group benefiting from the courts was trial lawyers.
People opposed to the hundreds of millions of dollars in state budget cuts were at the state Capitol Wednesday. It's a near-daily occurrence since Governor Granholm's cuts were unveiled last week, and approved by legislative committees.
Advocates for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and law enforcement are all trying to make their case that there are better options than cutting their budgets.
Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan's economic difficulties are worse than state analysts expected just a few months ago. That's creating more bad news for the state budget situation because of declining tax revenues. The latest report came Wednesday from the Senate Fiscal Agency.
Traverse City, MI – TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) Dozens of plants and animals have been added to the list of species that may disappear from Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday the state's threatened and endangered species list has been updated to add 69 members. Among them are several freshwater mollusks and a bird called the cerulean warbler.
Auto suppliers are asking lawmakers for federal support, warning that the U.S. supply base could buckle under from the declining fortunes of General Motors and Chrysler. Several small auto suppliers said during a congressional hearing Wednesday that Chrysler's bankruptcy has left them in limbo, with some awaiting payment for millions of dollars worth of parts. The companies manufacture tooling, plastic molds and metal castings for cars and trucks.
East Lansing, MI – A mid-Michigan institution is presenting a special performance Thursday night. The Michigan State University Children's Choir is saying goodbye to its founding director, Mary Alice Stollak. After 16 years at the helm, Stollak is preparing to retire. In that time, Stollak has shaped a choral group that's risen from small-town admiration to international acclaim.
Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (AP) State regulators are letting Michigan's second-largest utility raise residential electric rates, but not as much as the utility wanted.
The Public Service Commission on Tuesday ordered Consumers Energy Co. to offset any residential rate increase it plans to automatically implement Thursday with proceeds from the sale of a nuclear plant.
Regulators estimate the average Consumers Energy household will see a $2.99 hike on their monthly bill for six months, an increase of more than 3%.
Okemos, MI – The Okemos Board of Education has voted to close two elementary schools. Wardcliff and Central schools will both shut down after the 2009-2010 school year.
The Lansing State Journal says the closings will save the district $1,500,000 a year.
The three remaining elementary schools in the district will house kindergarten through fourth grades. The two middle schools will be converted to house fifth and sixth graders in one building, and seventh and eighth graders in the other.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - State House Democrats announced a plan yesterday to make statewide healthcare accessible for everyone.
The healthcare plan would create a pool of money to cover the costs of catastrophic medical events for the uninsured. No one would be turned away from receiving treatment, and no one would be rejected from an insurance company for a preexisting medical condition.
Lansing, MI – Governor Granholm says she still hopes General Motors can avoid bankruptcy court.
She says this is a "critical time" for Michigan as GM negotiates with its unions and its creditors on a deal to keep it out of bankruptcy. She says it should be a last resort, but that there are bondholders that may not agree to the conditions GM set out.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Lansing City Council has again rejected a proposal to sell the North Capital Parking Ramp to Lansing Community College. Supporters say the $2.7 million deal would have kept the city from having to invest millions of dollars in repairs to the 40-year-old structure. They also say it would have prevented LCC from building a new parking ramp adjacent to a residential neighborhood.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - State House Democrats unveiled legislation Monday that would create a new plan to make statewide healthcare more accessible. Insurance companies would not be allowed to reject or raise rates for sick people. The plan would create a catastrophic emergency pool, which would cover $25,000 in medical costs per person, per year.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says more money is coming to Michigan to help displaced auto workers. The labor secretary announced the state qualified for accelerated payments from the National Emergency Grant program because it has the nation's highest jobless rate, and it has programs ready to help retrain workers.
Some of the $6 million will also help pay for jobless benefits for 1500 workers.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Legendary TV newsman Dan Rather will address Michigan State University students receiving their graduate degrees this evening. The commencement ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Breslin Center.
Since leaving CBS News, Rather has been hosting "Dan Rather Reports," a weekly program of investigative reports and international news on HDNet, a high-definition channel available on cable and satellite services.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - The state Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether insurance companies can use credit scores to help set their customers' rates for auto and homeowners' coverage.
The state's highest court is stepping in to settle a long-running feud between Governor Granholm and the insurance industry over using credit scores to set rates.
The governor says using credit scores is arbitrary, and doesn't accurately reflect the risk that a customer will file a claim.