The week in Michigan politics

May 7, 2014

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss local election results, how a Tea Partier is trying to challenge Michigan's lieutenant  governor, and how the state might give Detroit less money for the bankruptcy and use Michigan's rainy day fund.

Local election results

Yesterday was an election day in many communities.

In Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township, voters approved a tax increase for expanded bus service.  

In Grand Rapids, by roughly two-to-one margins, voters approved two measures to continue an income tax for sidewalks and roads, and make the city responsible for paying for sidewalk repairs.

But in Birmingham, outside Detroit, voters decided not to approve a $ 21.4 million bond proposal to expand the public library.

Tea Partier to challenge lieutenant governor

In other election news, after a first failed attempt, it looks like Tea party leader Wes Nakagiri now has enough signatures to challenge Lt. Gov. Brian Calley in the November election.

Unlike other races that are voted on in primaries,  lieutenant governors are chosen by party delegates.

Lessenberry says this is notable because Tea Party member Todd Courser almost unseated Republican Chairman Bobby Shostack last year. However, Lessenberry says the Tea Party seems to have lost some momentum since then.

“(The Tea Party knows) they can’t take on Gov. Rick Snyder, but they think that if they manage to replace Brian Calley that that would make a statement about Tea Party support in the Republican party,” Lessenberry says.

State might give Detroit less money with the rainy day fund

Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have created a House committee to deal with legislation on how the state will help out with Detroit’s finances.

Detroit is waiting on the so called “grand bargain,” where foundations and the state will help pitch in some money.

The state’s share was originally at $350 million, however earlier this week it was announced that if the state gives the money in a lump sum, they only need to give around $195 million.  

And now there's talk of using the state’s rainy day fund to help out with city pensions and ensure art from the Detroit Institute of Arts is not sold.

Lessenberry says Gov. Rick Snyder is insistent in using the rainy day fund. Lessenberry says the fund was practically empty when Snyder got into office. Now there is about $580 million in the account.

“This is money that is sort of sitting there and it wouldn’t require any new taxes or any cuts in other spending,” Lessenberry says.