Rick Snyder

Stateside
5:08 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

With spring break approaching, what have Michigan lawmakers accomplished?

Governor Rick Snyder
Tiberius Images / Flickr

State lawmakers are beginning to wrap up their work for this session before they head out for their Spring recess.

It seems it’s as good a time as any to review what they have (and haven’t) accomplished since the beginning of the New Year.

Governor Snyder  has not been getting a whole lot of love from fellow Republicans. He announced he will take federal money to expand Medicaid rolls in the state.

But Republicans aren’t happy with this. They say they want Medicaid “reform” in exchange for their support.  Is Snyder going to be willing to make this type of deal? After all, he likes to say he doesn’t engage in ‘horse-trading.’

Meanwhile, Governor Snyder signed the Blue Cross/Blue Shield bills into law on Monday. He vetoed the law originally, last year, after it was passed in the lame-duck session of the legislature with measures having to do with abortions that he didn’t like.

And, something we’ve talked a lot about here on Stateside: the creation of a health care exchange mandated under the Affordable Health Care Act.

Michigan will be a hybrid, run between the state and federal government. At first, it was the state House that was dragging its feet. Now, Republican state Senators are stalling on the creation.

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Health
12:38 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Gov. Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

Mikerussell wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
2:36 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

The bill changing Blue Cross Blue Shield to be signed into law Monday

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder is scheduled to sign a law tomorrow that will transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a customer-owned non-profit insurance company.

Supporters say the change will make Michigan’s health insurance market more competitive.

But the AARP and other opponents complain the change will eventually cost nearly 200 thousand Michigan senior citizens the Medi-gap coverage they need.

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It's Just Politics
4:22 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Political futures can be as hard to manage as Detroit under Emergency Management

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The path of emergency management in Detroit is packed with political peril and promise (we decided to be quite alliterative this week). As Joe Biden once said, “This is a big deal.”

An Emergency Manager for the state’s largest city: It’s big. It’s complicated. Success would be sweet, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

You could say Governor Rick Snyder now owns the city of Detroit, or at least its problems. And yet, his fate -  his political fate, the fate of his aspiration to be the governor who finally fixes Detroit - is now in the hands of someone else: Kevyn Orr. Orr was named Emergency Manager yesterday afternoon in Detroit. Orr’s success or failure will be Rick Snyder’s success or failure.

There’s already been a lot of talk about what this means for Rick Snyder’s future as he gets ready to run for reelection next year. And opinions are mixed. One take: The governor looks assertive and he’s taking action, which helps him regardless of the result. The other side: He’s taking a big risk and can be tagged as a failure if Detroit isn’t showing some real improvement by next spring or summer.

Here’s what’s difficult about any analysis of this situation: Ceteris paribus. It’s a common Latin phrase that economists use. It means “all things being equal.” And any analysis of any individual situation has to assume there’s some stability in the circumstances surrounding it. And in politics that’s not the case. Ever. There are always moving parts that are forcing other moving parts into new directions.

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Politics & Government
10:31 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Detroit's new emergency manager and Michigan governor make the talk show rounds

Gov. Snyder and Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr appear on MSNBC this morning.
YouTube

Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit's new emergency manager Kevyn Orr made the talk show rounds this morning.

Gov. Snyder went toe to toe with Rev. Al Sharpton who challenged him that appointing an emergency manager in Detroit is undemocratic.

Sharpton said the appointment of Orr as emergency manager of Detroit "undermines people's right to vote, because the only one who voted for Kevyn was you."

Watch Snyder's response here:

Snyder said the mayor and city council will still have input in the process.

Orr mentioned the turnarounds of Baltimore and Pittsburgh as models for how the city of Detroit can get back on a solid financial footing.

Orr and Snyder also appeared on WWJ this morning and I'm looking for that audio. If I find it, I'll post a link to it here.

Stateside
5:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Reaction to Detroit's new emergency manager

Sarah Cwiek reported from Detroit
Flikr

Today's biggest headline comes from Detroit as Governor Rick Snyder appointed the city's emergency manager. 

Earlier, Michigan Radio closely followed the day's events with updates leading up to Snyder's announcement.

At 2 p.m., the announcement was made. Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton spoke with Cynthia Canty live as history was made.

Cyndy also spoke with Tom Barrow. Barrow twice ran for Mayor of Detroit in the 1980s against Coleman Young, and in 2009 against Dave Bing.

He has been a leading opponent of the appointment of an emergency manager for the City of Detroit.

He joined us from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today marks a historic decision.

Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

On today's show, we looked at the many things that will change in the city once it's under state control.

We also talked with the emergency manager of Pontiac to get his view of what needs to be done in the state's largest city.

We also spoke with Columnist Daniel Howes who says don't take bankruptcy out of the equation.

But first, we were joined  with Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton to talk about this afternoon's announcement in Detroit. They told us a little bit more about what the Governor had to say.

Politics & Government
3:23 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Detroit is "the Olympics of restructuring" says city's new emergency manager

Protestors gathering outside of Cadillac Place in Detroit ahead of the emergency manager announcement.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

It's the largest state takeover of a city in U.S. history.

The city of Detroit will have a state-appointed emergency manager running things.

Kevyn Orr, a Washington D.C. lawyer and restructuring expert, will start his job on March 25th.

With $14.9 billion in long-term liabilities and a $327 million near term deficit, Orr will have his work cut out for him.

We updated this post as the news broke today.

Scroll down and read up for a look at how things unfolded.

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Politics & Government
9:10 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Michigan's governor may announce the appointment of a Detroit emergency financial manager Thursday

Spirit of Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder will announce his final determination Thursday on a review of Detroit's finances - a move that could include the appointment of an emergency manager for the city.

That announcement is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Detroit, an hour before a state board responsible for hiring emergency managers for distressed Michigan cities and public school districts is to hold a special meeting in Lansing.

Snyder has said an emergency manager selection for Detroit has to go before the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board.

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Stateside
5:17 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Michigan's 'Rainy Day Fund' may get a boost

The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Budget Stabilization Fund – more commonly known as the “Rainy Day Fund” is getting a lot of attention in Lansing.

The Budget Stabilization Fund is more simply known as the state’s savings account.  

When Governor Rick Snyder took office, Michigan's savings account was nearly empty and only held about $2 million.

Now, there’s about half a billion dollars in the fund, and Snyder wants to add $75 million more this year.

While Snyder has been in office, he has been trying to build up the fund, which he says would help improve the state’s credit rating and allow Michigan to get better interest rates. Additionally, there would be money available to protect against huge budget cuts in emergency situations.

What's the significance of Snyder’s efforts, and how might the sequester affect the Budget Stabilization Fund?

Listen to the audio above to hear the story.

Politics & Government
1:14 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Emergency manager protestors block traffic along I-94

WXYZ-TV reports two vehicles blocked traffic on eastbound I-94 this morning near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit.

Michigan State Police say the vehicles stopped traffic as a protest against the impending emergency manager appointment in Detroit.

More from WXYZ-TV

Two vehicles involved in what Michigan State Police are calling a protest brought traffic to a halt on EB I-94 near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit Monday morning.

Police were able to pull the protestors over and write them citations.

The vehicles had signs on them, one reading "Democracy" and another reading "Detroit emergency manager."

They are upset over Governor Rick Snyder declaring the city of Detroit is in the midst of a financial emergency and the search for an emergency financial manager.

They report this isn't the first time protestors have backed up traffic.

On Wednesday, a handful of protestors slowed traffic on southbound Interstate 75 near Interstate 94 in Detroit. Traffic also was backed up on northbound I-75.

The city is appealing the state's decision that the city is in a 'financial emergency' and that city leaders have no plan to address the problem.

A hearing over the matter is scheduled for tomorrow.

The Environment Report
11:31 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Battle over public land passed down to local governments

Friends of the Porkies

Some state lawmakers think there’s too much public land in Michigan.

They don’t like how conservation decisions are made and think the state favors environmental goals over uses like logging and ORV trails.

In November, Governor Snyder announced townships and counties would need to approve projects before the state could buy land with the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The trust fund has been used to preserve beaches and forests all over the state.

But townships in particular have complained about property being taken off the tax rolls, and the state has not always made the payments it promises in place of some tax revenue.

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Education
6:12 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Lawmakers have tough questions for Governor Snyder's plan to increase preschool funding

Credit Matthileo / Flickr

Battle lines are beginning to emerge in the fight to increase preschool funding in Michigan.

State lawmakers held their first committee hearings this week on a proposal to increase funding for the state's preschool program by $65 million in next year's budget. Governor Snyder wants another increase the following year, which would more than double the state's current investment in preschool. 

During a joint House committee hearing today in Lansing, there was plenty of skepticism of the plan coming from members of Snyder's own party. 

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Politics & Government
10:04 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Battle lines drawn in Lansing over dredging

How should Michigan pay for dredging?
Andrew McFarlane Flickr

A battle over how to pay for emergency harbor dredging is brewing in Lansing. State Senator John Moolenaar (R-Midland) is sponsoring a bill that would explicitly identify harbor dredging as a proper use of  funding from the state's National Resources Trust Fund.

He says, “when it comes to recreational access to use our tremendous assets that we have in Michigan, we believe this is consistent, but we wanted to spell it out in state law.”

Environmental groups are criticizing the plan.  They say it would threaten the state’s ability to buy and improve parks and public land.

Hugh McDiarmid of the Michigan Environmental Council admits record-low water levels in the Great Lakes mean emergency dredging is necessary. But he says there are better ways to pay for it than raiding the Natural Resources Trust Fund. 

“Diverting money to dredge harbors,” he says, “would hurt communities around the state who wouldn’t have that money available for their parks and their recreational facilities.”

McDiarmid adds long-term harbor maintenance costs could drain the fund completely.  “Maybe purchasing land to create a new harbor would be a more appropriate use of the trust fund”, he says. “You know, some big investment like that rather than routine maintenance that would bleed the trust fund every year, and really should come from another source.”

Governor Rick Snyder is asking for more than $20 million for emergency harbor dredging in his proposed budget. That money would not come out of the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Politics & Government
3:26 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Business group raises $6.4M for Detroit lighting

Credit Flickr user Molly Des Jardin

A private business group has stepped up with $6.4 million to do what struggling Detroit couldn't - restore working street lights along a 2.3 mile thoroughfare on the city's southwest side.

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Politics & Government
5:31 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Announcement on Detroit financial crisis coming tomorrow at noon

Bing talking to the Detroit City Council last year about budget cuts. The city has not been able to find a solution to its debt problem yet.
City of Detroit

Gov. Rick Snyder's office just put out a news release saying the Governor will hold a "forum with invited Detroiters to discuss Detroit's financial situation."

It will be held at tomorrow at noon at the Detroit Public Television studios, 5057 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

A live stream will be available as well.

It's widely expected that Gov. Snyder will appoint an emergency manager for the city.

Earlier today, the Detroit Free Press reported that Mayor Dave Bing said he doesn't expect Snyder to offer a name tomorrow:

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Stateside
3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The latest on a potential emergency manager for Detroit

The future of Detroit's Emergency Manager
Zoe Clark Michigan Radio

Last week, Governor Snyder  received the results of a state-appointed financial review of Detroit.

According to the review, Detroit is in a 'financial emergency' and that the city's current leaders "lack a plan."

This week, Michigan is waiting to see whether or not Gov. Snyder will appoint an emergency manager for the city. The Detroit City Council still seems unsure about how to respond to the review team's assessment. 

To discuss the options in front of Gov. Snyder and in front of the city, Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes.

To hear the full interview, click on the listen link above.

Transportation
6:54 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Stateside: An alternative solution to fixing Michigan roads

The freeze-thaw cycle brings potholes to Michigan roadways.
Michael Gil Flickr

Governor Snyder was crystal-clear in his State of the State address. Michigan’s roads are creaky, old and need to be fixed.

Just about everyone agrees with that. The big question is how to pay for those badly-needed repairs.

Governor Snyder wants to spend $1.2 billion each year for these road repairs. He’s proposed raising our gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

These proposals are not getting a lot of love, especially among Republicans who are not fans of anything that looks, smells, or sounds like a tax increase.

Which leads us to another idea afoot in Lansing. An idea that proposes that we can find the money from our existing budget, rather than increase revenue.

We welcomed the Capitol Correspondent at Crain’s Detroit Business Chris Gautz and Lansing reporter for the Detroit News Chad Livengood to discuss these ideas.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

Politics & Government
3:17 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Is Detroit gearing up for a "managed bankruptcy?" And what does that even mean?

It appears that officials might be laying the groundwork for a so-called “managed bankruptcy” in Detroit—though it’s something they hope won’t actually happen.

A process for going through Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy is laid out in the state’s new emergency manager law that kicks in next month. And it could happen even if Governor Snyder appoints an emergency manager for Detroit.

Both state and city officials used to say that bankruptcy was completely off the table for Detroit.

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Politics & Government
3:07 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Governor faces lower approval numbers and a billboard

Michigan Democrats new billboard.
Courtesy: Michigan Democrats

Yesterday afternoon, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer announced a new billboard which they're hoping may capitalize on lower approval numbers for Governor Rick Snyder.

The strategically placed billboard is on I-96 – between Lansing and Brighton. Brewer estimates 160,000 commuters every week will see the billboard including (if he’s looking) the governor himself.

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