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Going big: A new primary date, tax credit debt, and a bridge to Canada

Feb 21, 2015

A drawing of the New International Trade Crossing. The proposed bridge between Detroit and Canada took one big step closer to reality this week.
Credit MI DOT

Sometimes bigger is better. Sometimes it’s not. This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss what an earlier presidential primary might mean for Michigan, the state’s ever-expanding tax credit bill and a big step toward a new international bridge.


Big influence

Governor Rick Snyder has signed off on legislation moving the date of Michigan’s presidential primary to March 8th of next year.

This means the state won’t be eligible for a winner-take-all contest when it comes to its 59 delegates.

Lessenberry said an earlier primary date might give Michigan more influence, but he wonders if that might be outweighed by disadvantages.

The earlier primary date means delegates will be split proportionately, which Lessenberry said could make the state less attractive to presidential hopefuls

Big bill

Michigan already had a big tax credit bill. Big enough to blame for much of the state’s $800 million budget shortfall.

Now officials are saying the state owes over $9 billion in tax credits. That’s $3 billion more than projected last week.

Lessenberry sees the debt as a consequence of Michigan’s term-limited Legislature.

“[Legislators] make deals, and the people behind [those deals] aren’t around when the bills come due,” he said.

Big step

Canada has agreed to foot the bill for a US customs plaza, bringing a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor a big step closer to reality.

The plan sounds simple. Canada pays for everything, then recoups expenses through toll revenues after the bridge is built.

Lessenberry says some sticking points are being overlooked, but thinks the agreement is a big step.

“[The plan] is almost there,” he said. “Sometime, hopefully before we all toddle off into the sunset, we’ll be able to drive over the new bridge.”

-Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom