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budget

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state House budget panel is recommending cutting more than a thousand human service workers. The Michigan Department of Human Services handles things like child welfare and food assistance.

The subcommittee’s plan would also close the state’s three juvenile justice facilities.

Rashida Tlaib is the top Democrat on the panel. She says the proposed cuts are extreme.

AARP

Next week, President Barack Obama will present his budget to Congress. 

There's a lot of speculation about what changes will be proposed for Medicare and Social Security.

Specifically, some analysts are focusing on something called 'chained CPI.'

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote tonight on a plan that may set the stage for the city to emerge from state oversight. 

The council will consider asking the governor to appoint a “receivership transition advisory board.”    

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says the board would guide the city after the departure of the emergency manager.

“This is an area of the law that we want to take advantage of,” says Walling, “We want assistance with our revenue estimates…with budget amendments.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will deliver his proposed city budget for the next year to the city council tomorrow. 

The mayor’s proposed budget is expected to deal with a projected nine million dollar budget shortfall.

A team appointed by Mayor Bernero suggested deep contract concessions by the city’s police and fire unions, among other cuts.

Tom Krug is the executive director with the local Fraternal Order of Police.

He says Lansing police officers have already agreed to more than a million dollars in contract concessions since 2009.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Snow blankets most of the state

Most of the Lower Peninsula is blanketed in snow as an overnight storm brought up to 9 inches in some areas, creating a potentially treacherous morning commute and causing many school districts to cancel classes. 

Three to 7 inches of snow are expected in parts of mid and West Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Areas of Southeast Michigan received up to 5 inches of snow. Parts of the northern Lower Peninsula could get up to 9 inches. 

Snow is expected to continue throughout the morning, and it should taper off by around noon, the paper reported. 

Gov. Snyder releases budget proposal

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder released his annual budget proposal Thursday morning. 

"Sixty-one percent of the total investments we’re recommending are either for savings or education. This is a responsible budget. This is a budget to look to that long term, and learn from our past mistakes," Snyder said in his announcement. 

Among his priorities were increasing taxes to help pay for upkeep of the state's roads. Snyder proposed raising the gas tax to 33 cents a gallon for all types of fuel. He also wants to raise vehicle registration fees. 

Michigan Radio's Mark Brush has a run down of Snyder's other budget priorities, which include increasing funding for all levels of education and expanding medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Detroit charter school teachers vote to unionize

Teachers at Detroit's largest charter school voted overwhelmingly last night to be represented by a union. 

The teachers and staff at Cesar Chavez academy voted by a 2-1 margin to have the American Federation of Teachers represent them, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports. 

Only a small number of Michigan’s charter schools have unionized employees.

Nate Walker is with the AFT. He expects teachers in some other Michigan charter schools will also unionize this year.

“I think in the future we can certainly expect more collective bargaining campaigns,” says Walker,  “But we can also expect charter school teachers to engage in the policy discussions that impact them.”

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

LiveStream

Want to know someone's priorities? Follow the money.

Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled his vision for the state by delivering his proposed budget today to the state Legislature.

"Sixty-one percent of the total investments we’re recommending are either for savings or education. This is a responsible budget. This is a budget to look to that long term, and learn from our past mistakes," said Snyder.

Here are some of the highlights of his budget proposals:

Taxes for road repair and maintenance

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will unveil his budget this morning at 11 a.m.

Then the leaders in the Legislature will wrestle with the numbers and push their priorities for state spending and income.

Watch Snyder's budget unveiling here:

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Gov. Snyder releases his numbers today

At 11 a.m., Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to unveil his budget to the state Legislature. It'll then be up to those representatives to wrestle with the numbers and come up with a final budget for the state. Among the things he's expected to call for:

  • After years of cuts, he'll call for a 2 percent increase in public education funding
  • More funding for road construction
  • And an expansion of Medicaid

More details emerge on I-75 crash, trooper saves one girl

More details came out yesterday on the deadly pileup on I-75 near Detroit the morning of Jan. 31.

A whiteout caused 12 crashes involving 43 cars on the Interstate. There were 12 injuries and 3 fatalities.

This morning, the Detroit News has more on Michigan State Trooper Seth Swanson's actions:

After failing to find a pulse on the first two children, Swanson went to the other side of the car, broke out the rear window with a hammer and reached in to see if the third child, a 10-year-old girl, was still alive. She had a faint pulse.

He cleared her airway and administered rescue breaths until she finally took a deep breath and regained consciousness.

And more snow is on the way, so drive carefully

Snow is expected for the entire state starting this evening. The middle of the state is expected to get the most snowfall. From the National Weather Service:

This system has the potential to generate heavy snowfall. 7 to 11 inches is expected north of M 46 and near Lake Huron, while 3 to 8 inches is possible for areas across the rest of Southeast Lower Michigan.

Mark Torregrossa from MLive says computer models for storms like this can predict higher snowfalls. His prediction is 4 to 9 inches for the middle of the state, and 1 to 4 inches for the rest of the state.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

News out of Lansing: Governor Snyder announced  today that he supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents without insurance.

The expansion comes under the Obama administration's health care overhaul.... and there are benefits for states that decide to expand Medicaid. The federal government will pick up the entire cost in the first three years... and 90 percent over the long haul.

But, Snyder is likely to run into resistance from fellow Republicans who are opposed to the Affordable Health Care law.

Meanwhile, the Governor is also gearing up to deliver his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013-2014 tomorrow. You could say, unveiling the proposal begins the "debate" (sometimes putting that kindly) in Lansing over what should and should not be funded.

So which programs and initiatives could be winners? And which could be losers in the Governor's spending plan? And in what the Legislature ultimately does with it?

Cyndy talked with Chris Gautz, Capitol Correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business and Dave Eggart, the Lansing reporter for the Associated Press.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A private company will start picking up Flint’s residential trash next month.

Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz says Republic Services can handle Flint’s waste collection for a million dollars a year less than the city can itself.    The two sides signed a contract this week. 

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Snyder to decide this week whether to expand Medicaid

In his budget address this week, Gov. Rick Snyder will announce whether he'll expand Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay for the state to allow an additional 400,000 people in the state to receive Medicaid coverage. The state would eventually have to pay for a portion of the costs, Rick Pluta reports.

Snyder to propose adding $50 to $100 million to Rainy Day Fund

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to recommend that the state add $50 to $100 million to its Budget Stabilization Fund, better known as the Rainy Day Fund. Some Democrats argue though that now is not the time to be saving. The Detroit Free Press quotes Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

"For lots of families, it is raining right now," Jacobs said.  "There really is the opportunity to take a portion of the money that is in the Rainy Day Fund and use it for families that are experiencing hardship."

Chrysler pays tribute to troops, farmers in two Super Bowl ads

Chrysler's two Super Bowl ads were among the most well-received auto advertisements according to the Detroit Free Press. Chrysler's first ad, voiced by Oprah Winfrey, was a Jeep spot that paid tribute to the military. Their second commercial, an ad for Ram pickup trucks, featured the late radio personality Paul Harvey reading "So God Made a Farmer."

The ad took 9th place in MSU's annual Super Bowl Ad rankings.

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

 

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

Western Michigan University says it's raising tuition 3.9 percent for the coming academic year, reports the AP.

Trustees at the Kalamazoo school approved the increase today. The school says instate freshmen and sophomores will pay $9,982 in tuition and mandatory fees in 2012-13. That's up $376 from the current academic year.

Western Michigan says with the increase, the school is 10th in cost among the 15 Michigan public universities.

Out-of-state freshmen and sophomores will pay $23,262 for the academic year.

The trustees approved an operating budget of $349 million for the 2012-13 year.

Last year, Michigan Radio's reported on public university tuition increases for the 2012-2011 academic year:

This year for in-state undergraduates, tuition has increased by:

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last night,  a reluctant Lansing City Council approved a plan to eliminate a nearly two million dollar budget deficit.   Lansing's fiscal year concludes at the end of this week.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint residents will get a chance this afternoon to have their say about a proposed fee increase to pay for city streetlights.    But what they say may not be enough to prevent the fee from going into effect.

The city of Flint pays for keeping its streetlights lit with money from the city’s general fund.

www.michigan.gov

 It appears a budget deal between Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature’s Republican leaders could include an election year tax cut. An early version of the proposal would accelerate a drop in the state income tax rate and increase the personal exemption.

The governor and G-O-P leaders want to wrap up the budget by the end of next week.

 Governor Snyder says he was skeptical at first, but he says revenue projections look promising enough to at least start talking about a tax cut for individuals and families.

In the next few days, Lansing mayor Virg Bernero is expected to veto all or part of the budget plan the city council passed. 

Bernero indicated his intention to veto the budget during a sometimes contentious city council meeting last night.    He did little, if anything, to conceal his contempt for the changes the city council made to the budget plan he submitted two months ago.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s emergency manager got an earful during a public meeting last night on the budget he imposed on the city last week.

Emergency manager Michael Brown had planned to take the first half hour of a 90 minute public meeting to review his budget plan and then allow an hour for questions.

But the budget presentation had barely started, when several people in the nearly full auditorium jumped to their feet to shout down the emergency manager.

After the outburst, a parade of people took turns at the podium denouncing emergency manager Michael Brown, the law that put him in charge of Flint and the budget he introduced and imposed last week. That budget cuts the city’s workforce by about 20 percent and imposes hundreds of dollars in new fees for city water, street light and other city services.

Flint resident Carolyn Shannon questioned the expertise behind the decision to make deep cuts to the city’s police and fire departments.  

“Even a person off the street…can cut somebody’s throat," scolded Shannon.

One man, identified only as Maurice, glared at Brown as he talked about how he can’t afford to pay any more taxes.

"You want to take more from me and my daughter?" the man asked, "You ain’t no different than these people that are out here murdering our own children."  

Brown insists the budget cuts and fee increases are needed to address Flint’s  projected $25 million gap next year. That's not Flint's only financial problem. The city is also seeking the state's OK to sell more than $18 million in loans to pay off the city debts from the past few budget years.

Dave Hogg / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has laid out a budget proposal that would cut more than 2,500 jobs and shave $250 million from the city's annual expenses.

Bing's Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown told City Council members Monday the layoffs would be in addition to 1,000 job cuts Bing sought earlier. Brown says the city's general fund revenues will decrease from $820.5 million to $739 million.

Detroit has an accumulated budget deficit of $265 million and $13.2 billion in long-term, structural debt and is trying to fix its finances after agreeing to state oversight Bing's budget proposal also calls for privatizing the city's bus system and transferring its lighting department to an independent authority.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press say $75 million would go toward the city's accumulated deficit.

Cedar Bend Drive / Flickr

Michigan lawmakers are headed back to the state Capitol after a two-week spring break, with the state budget remaining their top priority.

Legislative sessions resume Tuesday. Lawmakers say they hope to wrap up a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in October within the next two months.

There are some differences between developing budget plans from Republican lawmakers who hold the majority in the state Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's initial budget proposal.

Some Republicans want to spend less than Snyder proposed on the state prison system and some other state departments. They say they worry that state revenues won't come in as high as state economists projected earlier this year.

The House and Senate appropriations committees have meetings scheduled for this week.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s emergency manager and his staff are working this week to wrap up a budget plan for the city.    The plan will include a request for up to $20 million in bonds to help close the city’s massive budget deficit.

Flint Finance Director Jerry Ambrose hopes the plan will be ready to submit to the state by early next week.   He says the budget plan will address the need to do “less with less”.   Ambrose says layoffs and furlough days are likely.

user auntowwee / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Lower-than-expected tax collections could threaten parts of Gov. Rick Snyder's next state government budget plan.

Republicans who control the Michigan Senate have preliminary plans to spend roughly $150 million less overall than Snyder has proposed for the fiscal year starting in October.

The targets include about $25 million less than Snyder proposed for information technology system upgrades and $45 million less on the state prison system.

The Senate targets do not reduce Snyder's funding proposals for education. Proposed spending would be relatively flat for K-12 schools, while universities and community colleges could get average increases of about 3 percent.

The Snyder administration says it's too early to change its budget plan, noting more information will be available when state economists gather in May for an official revenue estimating conference.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette hopes lawmakers will make room in the budget for his plan to hire 1,000 new police officers. Gov. Rick Snyder did not include Schuette’s plan in his executive budget proposal.

Schuette says state officials need to be forward-thinking with public safety.

“We have to be decisive, we need to be solution-oriented in this new Michigan, and that means in terms of this linkage between economic growth and public safety.”

Schuette would also like the state Legislature to toughen sentencing guidelines for repeat violent felons. Governor Snyder plans to deliver a special message on public safety next month.

Photo courtesy of Gov Snyder's office

Governor Snyder has said the state needs to do more to attract immigrants, and get them to stay once they’re here.

In his recent budget proposal, Governor Snyder calls for the creation of a Cultural Ambassador program to attract and welcome immigrants to the state, which is similar to a program he helped create when he worked at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Yesterday, while everyone was focusing on the details of  Governor Snyder’s budget proposal, I was struck instead by something Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said about it.

The state needs to “resist the temptation to go back to the old way because the old way did not serve us well.” And it’s impossible to disagree with that, whatever your politics or ideology.

Michigan state Capitol
Mattileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder today presented his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2013, which begins this October.  He calls for modest increases in K-12 education, state police, and cities.

Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service joined Michigan Radio's Jennifer White to talk about the governor’s budget proposal.

There were no big spending cuts or structural changes. Sikkema is not surprised.

“We did big things last year. Now let’s just solidify them and continue in the direction we’re going in,” says Sikkema.

The Governor has proposed a public safety initiative that includes a 16 percent funding boost for the Michigan State Police, an additional $15 million in “law enforcement enhancement,” and about $5 million for youth employment program in high crime areas.

Michigan has numerous cities with high crime rates.  Demas says, “Now that we do have some more money in the surplus, it’s probably not a surprise that this was an area that we went to.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a $48.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts in October. The proposed budget has modest increases for cities, K-12 and higher education, and roads. State police would get a larger increase. There are no major tax reforms in the budget.

Julie Grant/The Environment Report

by Julie Grant for The Environment Report

When Ernie Runions took the job as maintenance manager at the Senior Citizens Housing Center in Louisville, New York, he didn’t realize how much time he’d be spending in this small room. The water room. It’s filled with water tanks and filters. Runions says the equipment cost about $25,000 and the price tag keeps rising.

“It’s in terrible shape. It keeps falling apart. Every time we fix it, it’s $5,000, $3,000. This place is right in the hole because of that.”

We fill a bucket with the nursing home’s water – before it’s gone through the extensive filtering.

It smells bad, like eggs and iron. It’s got a blackish tint, and it’s got black particles floating in it.

Runions says even after the filtering, the elderly residents don’t want to drink it. It’s high in sodium, which can be bad for their health. And it smells like chlorine, which Runions uses to kill bacteria.

“And they complain. They say the chlorine is making me itch, all the extra chlorine. I’ve got red blotches all over my body, and my doctor says it’s the chlorine from the building.”

Town leaders say that until a few years ago, everyone used well water. And most people had some kind of problem with it. Nearly half the wells tested had coliform bacteria contamination – some suspected sewage was seeping into the wells.

Ifmuth / Flickr

Detroit’s financial troubles have been in the news quite a bit recently with Mayor Dave Bing announcing a plan to lay off 1000 city workers and the looming possibility of the state assigning an emergency manager to take over the city’s finances. Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry took a look back at Detroit's history of financial problems.

Ifmuth / Flickr

Detroit will run out of money in the first half of next year unless the city cuts its budget, the Detroit Free Press is reporting. From the Freep:

A closely guarded report on Detroit's finances paints an alarming picture of a city that will run out of cash by April unless officials make immediate, painful reductions that will cut deeply in to public services. The report, obtained by the Free Press, outlines some drastic scenarios that illustrate how steep those cuts must be for the city to stay afloat…

The problems are so severe and immediate, restructuring experts said, that the state may have no choice but to appoint an emergency manager with the authority to gut union contracts, sell assets, restructure the government and end nonessential services.

“The mayor plans to speak Wednesday at 6 p.m.,” about the city’s financial situation, the Associated Press reports. As the AP notes, “It's possible that Detroit's poor health could lead to the appointment of an emergency manager with sweeping authority to make changes.”

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint mayor Dayne Walling said the city’s budget deficit has been cut in half. Walling’s opponent in next week’s election said he doesn’t believe the mayor.  

Mayor Dayne Walling said a just completed review shows Flint finished its last fiscal year $7.34 million in the red. But that’s about half of what was expected ($14.62 million). Walling said it’s a sign budget reforms he’s put in place over the past two years are working.  

"With any changes it takes time to be able to be calculated and assured," said Walling.  

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