Politics & Government
8:49 am
Wed February 27, 2013

The week in Michigan politics

Week in Michigan politics interview

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the idea of increasing sales taxes on services to help fund road improvements in the state, how sequestration could affect Michigan, and why a Detroit City Council meeting to discuss how to avoid a state takeover was canceled.

Sales taxes

It seems lawmakers can’t decide where to get the money for Governor Snyder’s $1.2 billion proposal to help fund Michigan’s roads. One idea is to expand the state’s 6 percent sales tax to include services.

A similar proposal was introduced when Jennifer Granholm was governor. That happened when the state was temporarily shut down because lawmakers couldn’t decide on a budget.

Lessenberry says the proposal to increase sales taxes on services did not go over well then because lawmakers wanted to extend the sales tax to some services but exempt others.

“The whole scheme sort of collapsed of its own weight. It was seen as a bad idea in terms of fairness and also a bad idea in terms of generating revenue,” Lessenberry says.

Sequestration

In other news, “sequestration” seems to be the word of the week across the nation. The White House estimates that if the automatic federal budget cuts take affect Friday, Michigan could face around $140 million in losses. Shockley wondered where we would see those cuts in the state and how fast they would go into effect.

Lessenberry says there’s a dispute as to how early this would take effect. He says a program that would get hit immediately is Head Start. Other programs would take longer to feel affects, like funding for primary and secondary education, special needs students, army base and military readiness, and law enforcement grants.

Detroit City Council meeting

Finally, Lessenberry and Shockley talk about how the Detroit City Council was set to meet yesterday to discuss Detroit’s financial crisis and what they could do to prevent a state takeover. Yet the meeting was canceled after questions over the legality of it. Lessenberry says there were questions over if the meeting violated the Open Meetings Act