fiscal cliff

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Congress passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent the U.S. from falling over the 'fiscal cliff.'

Addressing the bill’s impact on Michigan were Daniel Howes of the Detroit News and Jack Lessenberry of Michigan Radio.

“The Michigan Republicans in the delegation were clearly split on this… a lot of them didn’t like it. The Bush tax cuts the Democrats spent the last ten years railing against were essentially made permanent for 98% of the tax payers,” said Howes.

According to Howes, much of the state's workers will witness increased taxes this year.

“About 77% of people who work are going to be paying higher taxes,” said Howes.

“Everybody seems to object to paying for things they get… most of the tax increases are restoring the Social Security payroll tax to what it used to be,” said Lessenberry.

Stateside: Avoiding the fiscal cliff

Jan 2, 2013
Charley Ballard, Michigan State University economist, spoke with Cyndy about the health of Michigan's economy.
Michigan State University

The short-term compromise that Congress passed last night may have averted the immediate impacts of the so-called "fiscal cliff,” but bigger battles lie ahead for Congress and the White House.

Michigan State University Economics professor Charley Ballard spoke with Cindy about the deal and what we can expect in the coming months.

Ballard said he was hoping for a grand bargain, a much more comprehensive effort to deal with the country’s fiscal problems, but that something is better than nothing.

Michigan’s top budget official is praising Congress for averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Budget Director John Nixon said sweeping tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts could have seriously hurt the state’s finances.

“The good news is that I think as far as the whole economy is concerned, what they did yesterday was big for the state of Michigan,” said Nixon.

Nixon said he was most worried going over “the cliff” would have led to another recession.

That could have affected the state’s ability to pay for many basic programs and projects.

State officials say they’re keeping close watch on upcoming negotiations in Washington. They could include proposed cuts to state-administered programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s keeping a close eye on the “budget cliff” discussions in Washington and how they might affect Michigan.

Governor Snyder says the state’s finances are already tight, and he’s concerned about the possibility of spending cuts from the federal government.

“There’s a real issue with the fiscal cliff out of Washington as to what could happen and what they could cut at the state level that could create some severe stress,” says Snyder.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie is out with its annual year-end list of words and phrases that should be banned for overuse.

As you may expect, words and phrases popular with politicians top this year’s banned list, with one getting a lot of use right now leading them all:  Fiscal Cliff. 

Banned Words list co-creator John Shibley says the phrase used to describe the combination of looming federal tax increases and spending cuts was overused by the news media.

mediasilo.com

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are either back in Washington or soon will be.


Congress is going back into session to deal with the looming combination of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff”. 


There have been suggestions that lawmakers will allow the “fiscal cliff” to go ahead and leave the job of picking up the pieces to the next Congress that will be sworn in next month.


Mid-Michigan congressman Tim Walberg doesn’t want to see that happen.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Many Michiganders may face a double dose of economic reality come January 1st, as credit card bills start arriving and their federal taxes may increase.

Dorothy Barrick is a group manager with Greenpath, a not-for- profit credit counseling agency. 

She says Michiganders have been spending more and saving less during 2012.  

Barrick says if congress and the president fail to avoid the fiscal cliff, many Michiganders may be surprised at the size of increased federal taxes beginning next month.

Michigan’s casino industry could face some problems if the nation falls off the ‘fiscal cliff’ at the end of the year.

The president and Congressional leaders have not reached a compromise to avoid the combination of spending cuts and tax increases, commonly known as the ‘fiscal cliff’.

It’s estimated the average household’s disposable income could lose a thousand dollars next year, if the ‘fiscal cliff’ is not avoided. 

Moody’s, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies, predicts casinos will be among those hardest hit.

Bytemarks / flickr

Negotiations to prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff seem to be slowly progressing. Also under discussion is whether to continue the extension of federal unemployment benefits. An extension would be good news for the thousands of Michiganders currently receiving unemployment benefits. Without an extension, those benefits could end for those Michiganders at the end of the month. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talked with Steve Gray. He's the director of the Ann Arbor office of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project. It's a non-profit law firm that provides free unemployment insurance advocacy and assistance to Michigan workers.

Stateside: Where Michigan stands in the fiscal cliff

Dec 13, 2012
wikimedia commons

With the approaching "fiscal cliff" comes the concern of protecting Michigan’s businesses.  

We spoke today with Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press about the fiscal cliff.

Tompor noted that many companies are not laying off their workers.

“Back in November we had Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. state that it was vitally important that they work on this bipartisan agreement for the economy. When you’re selling big-ticket items, it’s a key issue. Will consumers need to cut back if we got over the fiscal cliff? Right now, according to Mark Zandi [Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics], he doesn’t see that companies are cutting back. The reason is that it would be costly to lay off workers now to prepare for what might be a temporary problem. Instead Zandi said that, overall, businesses are more likely to cut back on investing in heavy equipment as a stop-gap measure,” said Tompor.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

State House and Senate likely to vote on "right to work" Tuesday

"It’s likely that the state House and Senate will take up their final votes on so-called “right to work” legislation tomorrow. But, first, protests and legal actions are expected today and tomorrow. Republican majorities in the Michigan House and Senate have already voted once to adopt a “right-to-work” law. Democrats and labor unions plan more protests over the bills that were placed on a very fast track last week. If enacted, Michigan would become the 24th state to adopt a “right-to-work” law," Rick Pluta reports.

President Obama to speak about "fiscal cliff" at suburban Detroit auto plant today

"President Obama will visit a Redford Township factory today - as part of his effort to galvanize support for his plan to avert the fiscal cliff.  The President's visit also comes at a high stakes time for the United Auto Workers, since state Republicans could vote to make Michigan a so-called "right to work" state this week," Tracy Samilton reports.

Detroit could get an emergency financial manager

"A committee overseeing Detroit's finances could recommend an emergency financial manager for the state's largest city. The committee meets today to begin a 30-to-40 day review. Detroit mayor, Dave Bing will ask City Council tomorrow to approve audits, including an audit of disability fraud. And he wants the council to approve another 400 to 500 job cuts, along with furloughs, as the city faces the prospect of running out of cash," Tracy Samilton reports.

White House

President Obama will visit a Redford Township factory today - as part of his effort to galvanize support for his plan to avert the fiscal cliff.

The President's visit also comes at a high stakes time for the United Auto Workers.

The Republican-controlled state legislature is poised to vote tomorrow on bills to make Michigan, the birthplace of the UAW,  a so called right to work state.   That would mean workers in unionized facilities like Detroit Diesel in Redford could opt out of paying union dues.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Concerns about the nation’s fiscal cliff crisis have reached the streets of Lansing.

A small band of protesters stood outside of Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers’ local office today to call for the rich to pay higher taxes.

Passing motorists responded to signs asking them to HONK for the end of the Bush tax cuts.

Not all the tax breaks that are scheduled to end at the end of the year.  Just those for the richest two percent of American income earners.

Stephen Wooden is a Michigan State University student.  He thinks it’s about balance.

YouTube

President Obama will be making his first trip to Michigan in nearly eight months.

The last time he was in Michigan, Mr. Obama stopped at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn for a campaign event.

This time around he's expected to deliver a major speech on the economy and middle class families in Detroit, according to David Shepardson of the Detroit News.

The address will come just three weeks before tax cuts are set to expire on nearly all Americans and $1.2 trillion in mandatory domestic and defense spending cuts over 10 years are to take effect — unless Congress acts.

"I believe America only thrives when we have a strong and growing middle class. And I believe we're at our best when everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That's what I believe," Obama said. "I believe both parties can — and will — work together in the coming weeks to get that done. We know how that gets done. We're going to have to raise a little more revenue. We've got to cut out spending we don't need."

Shepardson points out that without a tax deal, taxes will increase for a majority of Americans, and unemployment benefits will expire. 

About 93,000 people in Michigan will lose unemployment benefits by the end of this month unless Congress acts.

No details of the visit have been publicly announced yet. Those details are expected in the coming days from the White House.

Rep. Justin Amash ousted from House Budget Committee

Dec 4, 2012
Courtesy photo / facebook.com

U.S. Representative Justin Amash of Cascade Township was one of four Republican congressman removed from prominent committees Monday by House Speaker John Boehner.

This “purge” of rebellious lawmakers is part of Boehner’s attempts to close ranks before looming negotiations on the fiscal cliff, Roll Call reports.

Colin Chauret grew up in Bay City during World War II, fascinated by the Battle of Britain and dreaming of becoming a Spitfire pilot. When he graduated, he joined the service.

They taught him to fly, but instead of sending him to battle, they used him to train other pilots. The war ended before he could see combat. But Chauret stayed in, and eventually flew a hundred combat missions in Korea. He later was a staff officer in Vietnam.

He spent more than 30 years in what became the U.S. Air Force, rising to full colonel before he retired. He turns 90 in January, and is still military to the core. Two of his sons and one grandson are Air Force lieutenant colonels. He’s deeply religious, and credits God for saving him from one crash that killed a close friend.

Most afternoons, he walks for exercise in a shopping mall near where they now live in San Antonio, and shakes the hands of every wounded veteran he sees. These days, however, he is more interested in government.

He is worried about the fiscal cliff, the health of his native Michigan and the national debt most of all. But his views are not what you might think. “I am a liberal and damn proud of it,“ he told me, adding, that “after all, Jesus was the greatest liberal of all time.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A coalition of Michigan business and political leaders is calling on Congress to deal with the nation’s financial problems now and not put off making difficult decisions.

The group is called Fix the Debt.    It's urging federal elected officials to reach a deal to avoid triggering automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the ‘Fiscal Cliff’.

The group also says now is the time to make difficult decisions to reduce the national debt.

Congress is expected to tackle the ‘fiscal cliff’ after next month’s election.

The “fiscal cliff’s” combination of programmed tax increases and spending cuts have many people concerned, including officials at Michigan State University.

The federal government is supposed to pick up most of the cost of MSU’s new nuclear physics research lab known as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. FRIB is expected to cost more than 600 million dollars.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A Comerica Bank economist says Michigan's economy is making a comeback.   But clouds could be on the horizon.