john nixon

Politics & Government
8:42 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Lessenberry talks money, politics and potholes

Michigan State Capitol Building
User: mattileo/flickr

This Week in Review, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller talk about potholes in Michigan, the departure of the state budget director, and cuts to employees in Wayne County.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview

Politics & Government
7:59 am
Thu November 21, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Budget director's brother, Detroit bankruptcy, Heidelberg burns

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Budget director's brother proposes $5 million state project

"A company run by the brother of Michigan’s budget director proposed a $5 million project that is part of the state budget. The company is now bidding to win the contract," Rick Pluta reports.

Report blames Wall Street for Detroit bankruptcy filing

"A new report says declining revenues and bad Wall Street deals contributed the most to Detroit’s bankruptcy. The report from the think tank Demos argues that Detroit IS bankrupt — but that’s because of the city’s cash flow problems, not its debt," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Another Heidelberg house up in flames

"Fire has destroyed another house that makes up the Heidelberg Project outdoor art installation in Detroit. The fire burned early this morning at the structure known as the Penny House on the city's east side. A building known as the "House of Soul" was destroyed by fire earlier this month," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
7:38 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Budget director’s brother’s company proposed $5 million state project

SpecialKRB / flickr

A company run by the brother of Michigan’s budget director proposed $5 million dollar project that is now part of the state budget. And his company is now bidding to win the contract.

The contract is to run pilot projects to test privately managing public schools technology. The idea came from iSchool Campus, which is run by Budget Director John Nixon’s brother.

John Nixon says he told the governor’s office, the Legislature, and his staff that he would not and could not play a role in deciding which company gets the contract. And he says he’s made sure there is no conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict.

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Politics & Government
6:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Michigan's credit rating getting better

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

National credit rating agencies are warming to the state of Michigan.

Today, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s joined Moody’s in upgrading the state’s credit rating.

An improved credit rating may help the state get more favorable rates when it needs to borrow money.

John Nixon is the state budget director. He says the state has cut its long-term liabilities and taken other steps to get its ‘house in order.’

“We’ll continue that….it’s a slow process…we didn’t get to where we were overnight….we got downgraded over a series of years,” says Nixon.

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Newsmaker Interviews
1:26 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Budget director John Nixon on impact of sequester on Michigan

Michigan Budget Director John Nixon

Originally aired on March 5th, 2013.

With President Obama and Congress failing to come to a budget deal, automatic spending cuts have gone into effect. There have been dire warnings about the impact of those cuts though the effects won’t be felt immediately. But Michigan gets over half its budget from the federal government which means the state will have to face the impact of the cuts if impasse isn't resolved soon. We speak with Budget Director John Nixon.

Election 2012
4:26 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

State budget director says ballot proposals lead to uncertain credit rating

Michigan's state budget director John Nixon

The state budget director says credit agencies won’t upgrade Michigan’s rating because of proposals on the November ballot.

John Nixon today spoke alongside opponents of Proposal Five. It would require a statewide vote or two-thirds majorities of the Legislature to approve a tax increase.

But Nixon said all the initiatives cast doubt about the state’s economic future.

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State Budget
7:06 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Snyder budget focuses on student performance

Governor Rick Snyder
Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration

Governor Rick Snyder calls for a slight boost in spending in his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year – with more money for police, schools, and universities. The governor says this year’s spending plan is built on tough decisions made last year.

Snyder was flanked by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Budget Director John Nixon as he took a seat in front of a packed house. He presented his budget plans to a joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees. The governor started out with a short history lesson, reminding lawmakers of how things have changed since his budget presentation from a year ago. “It was a mess,” Calley said.

In 2011, the governor called for taxing pensions; taking $400 million dollars from the School Aid Fund to help pay for universities –  which still saw a cut in funding – and concessions from public employees. “We had to address a billion and a half dollar deficit. We addressed that. We had to ask for shared sacrifice from many people, a lot of difficult decisions and I appreciate a lot of understanding by a lot of people,” Snyder said.

This year, the economy has improved, and so has revenue. The governor called for modest increases to money for schools and universities – much of it linked to improving student performance. Local governments could also see more if they find ways to become more efficient.

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Politics
5:15 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Michigan Budget Director, John Nixon on state finances

Michigan State Budget Director, John Nixon.

We are now just a few days into the state’s new fiscal year. State Budget Director, John Nixon gives us an update on the state of Michigan’s finances.

Nixon says many states relied on federal stimulus money, and now it's time to look at other options.

“We had a huge infusion of stimulus money and then there was a big cliff because once that stimulus money went away all the states are scrambling saying, “oh my gosh how do we keep our programs whole?” Well that’s what we’ve done. We cut a billion and a half dollars of spending out the budget and we balanced the budget.”

Education
6:22 am
Fri August 5, 2011

NMU will not face sanctions related to tuition increase

Photo courtesy of Northern Michigan University

Governor Rick Snyder’s budget director has given his OK to Northern Michigan University’s tuition increase for the fall term. The decision means the public university in Marquette will not face sanctions for exceeding the state’s tuition increase cap of 7 percent. NMU said the university’s rate increase should not be measured against the fall 2010 rate after students got a discount. The university reduced student costs last year based on a windfall of federal stimulus dollars.

A spokesman for Budget Director John Nixon says he does not put Northern’s tuition hike in the same category as fall increases at Wayne State and Michigan State universities. He says MSU and Wayne State technically complied with the law, but violated the intent of efforts by Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature to hold down tuition increases despite budget cuts to higher education.

Education Funding
7:29 am
Mon August 1, 2011

State budget director questions school aid earmarks

Woodley Wonderworks Flickr

The amount of money Michigan has to spend in its general fund for everything from prisons to health care dropped by nearly 25 percent over the past four fiscal years amid the recession and shrinking tax revenues. Yet the state's school aid fund remained relatively healthy, protected by earmarks for public schools.

State budget director John Nixon thinks those earmarks merit another look.

"It's not that I'm saying we need to cut the school aid fund ... (but) a lot of this stuff was put in place 15, 20 years ago when Michigan looked totally different," he said during a recent interview with The Associated Press. "We just need to strip things down and say, `This is the money we're bringing in, this is where it's going. Is it lining up appropriately?"'

Nearly three-quarters of the sales tax collected annually goes to the $13.3 billion school aid fund, as well as nearly a fourth of the income tax revenue, 42 percent of cigarette tax revenue and a third of the money raised by the use tax and the Michigan Business Tax. The school aid fund also receives all of the money raised through a statewide 6-mill education property tax, the real estate transfer tax, the state casino wagering tax and the net proceeds from lottery sales.

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Debt Ceiling Debate
7:09 am
Fri July 29, 2011

State budget director cautious as debt deadline nears

Congressional Republicans and Democrats still have not come up with a way to stop a possible August 2nd national debt default

State Budget Director John Nixon says he’s unsure how Michigan will make payments to food stamp and welfare recipients and Medicaid providers if the federal government defaults, the Associated Press reports.

“Michigan draws about $400 million a week from federal funds that could suddenly dry up next week if the nation hits its debt limit and cannot pay its bills… Forty-four percent of Michigan's $45 billion budget is supported by federal funds, as are 25 percent of state workers.” the AP notes.

In an interview with the AP, Nixon says the state will do what it can to, “keep things moving.”

Meanwhile, Governor Snyder said yesterday that a possible default has him concerned:

“One of the challenges is (the federal government) haven’t told us exactly what it’ll mean. So we’re prepared for a number of scenarios.”

Lindsey Smith reports, "Snyder says Michigan could move money around to cover things like Medicaid payments until the federal government reimburses the state." Snyder said:

“I think we’re going to be in reasonably good shape, as long as it doesn’t go for an extended period of time.”

Economy
5:28 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Snyder meets with Wall Street to reduce cost of borrowing

Governor Rick Snyder and members of his budget team visited New York to meet with the agencies that set the state’s credit rating.

The state’s rating suffered due to the effects of the decade-long recession.

It's bond ratings are not that bad, but they could be better.

Governor Snyder traveled to Wall Street with state Treasurer Andy Dillon and Budget Director John Nixon. They made the case that Michigan deserves an upgrade because it’s overhauled its business tax and wrapped up its budget months ahead of schedule without resorting to accounting gimmicks and one-time fixes.

Sara Wurfel, the governor’s press secretary, said “one change in a state’s bond rating can actually mean millions of dollars in lower payments.”

The governor’s itinerary included meetings with Moody's, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's. The meetings only opened the discussions with Wall Street, and Wurfel says there will be further negotiations as the governor tries to reduce the cost to taxpayers when Michigan borrows money.

Politics
4:02 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

State Budget Director says he hears complaints about pension tax plan

A protester holds a sign outside the state capitol during a March 15th demonstration against the governor's pension tax plan
(photo by Laura Weber/MPRN)

The state’s budget director says Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to tax pensions is necessary to keep young people in the state.   Budget Director John Nixon says the proposed tax will move Michigan into a sustainable future economy. 

“We’re the only state in the country to lose population in the last decade. And when you look at Michigan’s growth projections going forward, by 2030, 20 percent of our population’s going to be retired. And what that means long term for the state is you’re going to be pushing more of the burden on your working segment of the population.”

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Offbeat
7:04 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Fake Twitter account for Michigan budget director

A fake Twitter account has been made for Michigan Budget Director John Nixon. The FakeJohnNixon account started last week and has already posted almost 150 tweets. The Associated Press reports:

The fake account notes that Nixon is Michigan's highest-paid state employee and is consuming Michigan's economy "one big gargantuan bite at a time." It adds, "Just call me Budget Crunch."

A spokesman for Nixon says the budget director "has a great sense of humor" and realizes the tweets aren't to be taken seriously.

There's also a FakeRickSnyder Twitter account on Gov. Rick Snyder with fewer posts.

Politics
2:00 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

This week in Michigan politics with Jack Lessenberry

The Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Each Wednesday, Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley sits down with Michigan Radio’s Senior Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry to get an update on state politics. This week, the focus is on Governor Snyder’s budget proposal and what cuts he might suggest.  

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Political Analysis
1:37 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Lessenberry: Snyder is willing to go outside of the box

Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry

Governor-elect Rick Snyder named John Nixon as his new administration's budget director on Monday.  Nixon currently holds that position in Utah.

In an interview this morning on Michigan Radio, political analyst Jack Lessenberry said he thinks the pick shows that Snyder is willing to look outside of the box. Lessenberry said:

It shows that [Snyder] is certainly willing to... go outside the box and outside the state to find someone with a fresh approach to look at the all-important state budget problem. This is something that people had urged Governor Granholm to do when she first came in and which didn't happen.

Lessenberry went on to say that highly-regarded economist Charles Ballard often references Utah when discussing how Michigan could turn around its budget problems. Now, with the former head of Utah's Office of Planning and Budget becoming Snyder's budget director, Lessenberry said he is curious to see what lessons Michigan can learn. "Utah managed to balance its budget with a higher income tax," said Lessenberry, "It'll be interesting to see if that's part of the mix."

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Governor-elect Snyder
6:53 am
Tue November 30, 2010

Snyder picks budget director

John Nixon
Photo courtesy of www.Utah.gov

Governor-elect Rick Snyder is going out of state for his choice of Michigan’s next budget director.

Snyder is naming John Nixon, Utah’s top budget officer, to become his administration’s budget director.

Nixon will take over the job from Robert Emerson.

In a release yesterday, Snyder said:

John is considered one of the best in the business and is widely respected inside and outside of state government. As I traveled the state during the campaign and met with the hardworking men and women of Michigan, I said it was time for the citizens to take back control of Michigan’s broken budget process and to deliver real value for money.  John will work with us to bring fiscal responsibility, stability, transparency and the citizens’ priorities to state government.

Michigan faces a projected $1.7 billion shortfall in the budget that begins next October.

Snyder takes the oath of office on January 1st, 2011.