Rick Snyder

State budget
11:58 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Governor's budget: small increases for schools, roads, cities; more for police

Screen shot from Michigan State Senate TV Live.

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.

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State Budget
6:49 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Snyder to present budget for 2013 this morning

Governor Snyder will deliver his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 this morning at the state Capitol.
Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration

Governor Snyder will present his budget proposal for the next fiscal year this morning at the state Capitol.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley told Michigan Public Radio Network’s Laura Weber that he expects budget negotiations will go more smoothly this year than in recent years. ‘The reason why last year’s budget was difficult is because it actually did fix the structural problems that had plagued us for so long. And because we did all the hard work last year, it makes movement in a more positive direction where we can all grow and invest together,” Calley explained.

Details of the Governor's budget have started to leak out and here's what we know so far:

From the Detroit News:

Gov. Rick Snyder will propose investing an additional $45 million in public safety as part of his 2013 budget proposal... Snyder noted in his State of the State address in January that Michigan has four cities — Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw — that regularly turn up on the nation's Top 10 list of most violent cities. The governor has promised to roll out a detailed crime-fighting strategy in a Special Message to the Legislature on Public Safety in March.

From the Associated Press:

A projected budget surplus means an estimated 37,000 state of Michigan workers represented by unions won't have to take furlough days this fiscal year. The unionized workers had been expected to take up to four furlough days each in the fiscal year that ends September 30th. The furlough days were announced last fall because unions did not reach an agreement on concessions with Governor Rick Snyder's administration.

Later in the day, the Governor will hold a virtual town hall meeting to discuss his budget. The AP reports:

Snyder was so happy with how his town hall meeting on Facebook went after last month's State of the State address that he's holding another one. This time the governor will take residents' questions just after he presents his 2012-13 budget proposal to lawmakers on Thursday. Viewers can watch the hour-long town hall meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Rick Snyder for Michigan Facebook page.

You can submit questions at online at www.michigan.gov/townhall. Or, post questions on the Governor’s facebook page.

Flint
10:17 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Flint's emergency manager meets with city residents for the first time

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown listens as he's asked about decisions he's made, or will soon make, during a community forum last night.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A capacity crowd filled a community center auditorium in Flint last night to hear from the city’s emergency manager.    

Michael Brown has been running Flint city hall for two months, since Gov. Snyder appointed him to address the city's 'financial crisis'.   

Last night's meeting teetered between calls for action to questions about the legality of Michigan’s emergency manager law.   Several speakers complained about why and how the emergency manager is running the city of Flint.

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Politics
1:32 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Clarification: Judge indicates no closed meetings for EMs and financial reviews

Update 1:32 p.m.

Another update from MPRN's Rick Pluta. In this morning's status conference, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette told the attorney for State Treasurer Andy Dillon that he would rather the state not hold any financial review meetings until he rules whether these meetings have to adhere to the state's Open Meetings Act.

The judge said he's inclined to rule that closed door state financial review meetings violate the Open Meetings Act, but he's waiting to hear the state's argument. State attorneys have not filed their paperwork yet.

The state agreed to the judge's wishes saying they weren't planning to hold any financial review meetings prior to next week's hearing anyway.

11:49 a.m.

MPRN's Rick Pluta followed up on this story for more clarification.

He spoke with Judge William Collette's assistant this morning, and with Andrew Patterson, the lawyer representing the plaintiff.

There was no official ruling from Judge Collette, as WXYZ in Detroit had reported.

Judge Collette only held an informal meeting with the two sides arguing the case this morning (Andrew Patterson and a lawyer representing State Treasurer Andy Dillon).

The plaintiff is Robert Davis, the board secretary of the Highland Park School District.

Davis said the state's financial review team violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act by holding private meetings, failing to post public notices for the meetings, and for failing to keep minutes of the meetings.

Davis wants the judge to void the recommendations of the state's financial review team that led to the appointment of an emergency manager for Highland Park schools.

The state maintains that closed door meetings are allowable for the financial review teams and for emergency managers.

Judge Colette informed the parties this morning of his inclination in the case.

He said, in his initial judgement, it appears the Michigan Open Meetings Act applies to emergency manager meetings and meetings held by the state's financial review teams.

Judge Colette directed those arguing the case to prepare their arguments for a hearing he is expected to hold next Wednesday morning. It's also possible that the parties will reach an agreement prior to a hearing.

10:10 a.m. 

The Chief Judge of Ingham Circuit Court has ruled indicated that Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon cannot hold closed meetings with regard to emergency mangers and financial review teams, according to WXYZ in Detroit:

Treasurer Dillon had previously announced that the Emergency Manager process was not subject to the state's "Open Meetings Act."

The ruling means that the state financial team can no longer meet in private. The public must be allowed to be a part of these meetings.

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

*Correction - an earlier version of this story stated that Chief Judge Collette issued a ruling. He only held an informal meeting with the parties this morning. We put strike-throughs on the incorrect text above. A ruling, or an agreement is expected sometime next week.

Commentary
10:49 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Endorsements: A Political Paradox

Now that the Florida primary is over, we’re bound to see increasing media attention on Michigan. We’re the next big state to hold a primary election, though not till the end of the month.

Native son Mitt Romney is heavily favored, but the fact that Newt Gingrich badly needs a win somewhere means we may see a fair amount of campaigning here.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Snyder questions approach of fellow Republican governors

Rick Snyder says pushing divisive legislation like "right-to-work" makes governing more difficult.
Facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is questioning the approach of his fellow Republican governors in the upper Midwest.

He said in an interview with The Associated Press that their efforts to push through divisive legislation may make governing more difficult in the long run.

Snyder says he sees large protests in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana about anti-union laws as unfortunate. He says pushing the contentious legislation means those states will have overcome
divisiveness and hard feelings in the future.

Snyder spoke to the AP on Wednesday, while in Washington to a congressional committee about job creation.

Snyder says he prefers a consensus approach to governing. He says government should do what it can, find areas of agreement and get that done rather than focus on potentially divisive legislation.

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Politics
11:50 am
Wed February 1, 2012

WATCH: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder testify before Congress on job creation

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce on job creation.
U.S. Congress

Update 11:50 a.m.

Snyder's portion of the hearing has ended. The committee now moves on to Panel 2 of the hearing.

In his final statement to the committee, Governor Snyder urged members of Congress to work with the Obama administration to come up with solutions for the country.

Earlier, Snyder commented on education, Snyder said only 17 percent of students in Michigan are college ready, "that's a travesty," he said.

Snyder said most students only think of traditional career paths while they're in school - doctors, lawyers, etc. - more students, he said, need to aspire to careers that are needed in the workforce, such as computer programming.

"Cyber schooling is a huge opportunity in the state," said Snyder.

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Politics
6:40 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Governor Snyder to testify before Congress on job creation efforts

Governor Rick Snyder will be in Washington D.C. this morning to testify before Congress on job creation efforts in Michigan.
Photo courtesy of the Snyder Administration

Gov. Rick Snyder is heading to Washington to talk about jobs. He's scheduled to testify Wednesday morning before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce on ways to promote job creation.

Snyder and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy have been invited to talk about what's happening in their states and offer policy recommendations.

In December, Snyder unveiled a new state website aimed at matching residents with jobs by offering workers and employers one-stop shopping for career planning, job openings and education and training.

He's expected to recommend Wednesday that the federal government allow more foreign students to remain in the country after they obtain degrees from American universities. President Barack Obama also wants to lift some visa caps so more high-skilled foreign workers can stay and work.

Politics
9:13 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Michigan movie studio defaults on bond payment, state pension funds to cover costs

user mconnors morgueFile

A Michigan movie studio that opened just ten months ago is in default on an $18 million state-issued bond.           

Raleigh  Studios made a big splash when it opened in Pontiac last March, with its seven sound stages and state of the art facilities. But now the movie studio can no longer meet its debt obligations, and will not make a $420,000 payment due Feb. 1.

"The movie studio is in default of that payment," explains Terry Stanton, communications director for the Michigan Department of Treasury. "But the bonds will not be in default, since the State of Michigan Retirement Systems is obligated to make those payments."

The money will come out of the retirement funds of public school and state employees, police and judges. 

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Politics
6:23 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Another Michigan school district moves a step closer to an emergency manager

Governor Snyder has appointed a team to review the Muskegon Heights School District's financial records. That puts the west Michigan school district a step closer to getting an emergency manager.

The Muskegon Heights school district asked for a state review of its finances back in December.

The preliminary review found the school district was in ‘probable financial stress’, due to the district’s $8.5 million deficit.

That set the stage for the governor to appoint a state review team to scour the school district’s books. 

If an emergency manager is eventually appointed in Muskegon Heights schools, it will join school districts in Detroit and Highland Park. Emergency managers are also running things in four Michigan cities.

Politics
3:05 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Governor Snyder pays himself back

Rick Pluta Michigan Radio

An end-of-the-year campaign finance statement shows Governor Rick Snyder took more than $800,000 from his campaign account last year. He used the money to partially repay himself for cash he lent the campaign while running for office.

Governor Snyder worked for just one dollar last year. But he did take $825,000 from his campaign account to partially pay himself back for $6 million in loans from his personal fortune to his campaign. Seven payments last year were a start toward reimbursing the retired tech executive and venture capitalist.

The numbers are unusually large, but it is a common practice for politicians to lend their campaigns money and then re-pay themselves after the election.

The Snyder campaign money came primarily from individual contributions of up to $3,400. The governor does not accept PAC donations.

At the December 31st book-closing, the Rick Snyder for Michigan Fund had $534,000.

The governor has indicated he intends to seek reelection in 2014.

Politics
2:33 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Inkster financial review team gets more time to look at city's books

The team appointed by Governor Snyder to examine the city of Inkster’s financial records is getting a little more time to finish its work.   

A preliminary state review of Inkster’s books found the city was in ‘probably financial stress’.     The review found city officials proposed unrealistic budgets and failed to make budget revisions in a timely manner.    The result:  a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

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Politics
6:24 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Governor Snyder preparing Michigan budget proposal

Governor Rick Snyder says he has heard many opinions about how projected surplus tax revenue in the state budget should be spent. But, the governor appears to have his own ideas as he prepares to present his budget proposal next week.

Governor Snyder says he agrees with the many Democratic lawmakers who want more money to be spent on education. “I’ve also been fairly clear, though, it shouldn’t just be about writing checks. It should be about making sure we’re setting some standards to see real performance and encouraging student growth in particular," Snyder said.

Governor Snyder says he is not ready to reveal his plans for K-12 or higher education in the budget. However, Snyder does appear cool to a proposal to spend surplus money in the budget to hire a thousand new police officers, or another to decrease the state’s income tax rate. He says the state needs to make sure it’s paying down long-term liabilities and approving adequate funding for existing programs.

Politics
3:54 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Michigan will get another emergency manager, Snyder names EM for Highland Park schools

Jack Martin when he was the CFO for the U.S. Department of Education. He will officially be the emergency manager of Highland Park public schools on Monday, January 30.
U.S. Dept. of Ed.

Governor Snyder named an emergency manager, Jack Marin, for the Highland Park public schools. today. His appointment will be effective on Monday, January 30.

Update 4:00 p.m.

Governor Rick Snyder says it’s "unacceptable" that that Highland Park School District may not have enough money to finish the school year. Snyder made the comments following a tour of a factory in West Michigan Friday afternoon.

Highland Park Schools has already borrowed money from the state to make payroll. The district will need more money in order to pay teachers and other employees next month. But Snyder says it’s unclear where that money will come from.

“I can’t give you the answer other than to say I want to make sure these kids finish the school year and we’re going to work with the legislature or other places to see if we can really make that happen as quickly as possible," Snyder said, following the tour. 

Update 3:54 p.m.

The Highland Park school district is the sixth public entity in Michigan to be placed under the control of a state-appointed Emergency Manager.

That’s after Governor Rick Snyder concurred with the findings of a review team that the school district is deep in debt with no credible plan to fix its finances.

Jack Martin will assume the role of Highland Park public schools emergency manager on Monday. Miller is a certified public accountant and the former chief financial officer for the U.S. Department of Education.

Martin said his first task will be to determine how quickly Highland Park is losing students, and how that will affect the district’s finances in the coming school year.

"We want to get an accurate forecast, as best we can, of what the student population’s going to be; try to match the expenditures to what the revenues will be; and we’ll make adjustments to expenditures as we feel are necessary to sustain the district and manage the deficit," said Martin.

Martin will have 45 days to submit a preliminary plan for addressing the deficit to the state treasurer.

3:03 p.m.

Here's more about Jack Martin from a Department of Treasury press release:

Martin is founder and chairman of Martin, Arrington, Desai & Meyers, P.C. and has 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Martin was chief financial officer for the U.S. Department of Education after serving as CEO and managing director of Jack Martin & Co. Certified Public Accountants and Consultants and acting CEO of Home Federal Savings Bank of Detroit.

2:03 p.m.

Michigan will have six emergency managers operating in the state.

Governor Snyder has just named an emergency manager for Highland Park public schools.

More from MPRN's Capital Bureau Chief Rick Pluta:

Governor Rick Snyder has affirmed a state of financial emergency exists in the Highland Park public schools and named an emergency manager to run the district.

The governor has named Jackie Martin to be the emergency manager.

The neighboring Detroit public school district is also being run by an emergency manager, as are the cities of Pontiac, Benton Harbor, Flint, and Ecorse.

Politics
4:34 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Decision on emergency manager for Highland Park schools expected soon

Governor Rick Snyder says he will decide no later than tomorrow whether to place an emergency manager in charge of the Highland Park public schools.

Snyder says he understands that parents are concerned about what could happen to the school district if it is taken over. But he says it’s important the school district is able to stay open to students for the rest of the year.

"Well the main answer on all of this is let’s make sure that kids can finish the school year because Highland Park got themselves in a situation where they couldn’t meet their payroll," Snyder said.

 Snyder’s office has received phone calls from about 100 concerned parents in Highland Park since a financial review panel determined there is a financial emergency in the district.

Detroit Public Schools is the only school district in the state currently run by an emergency manager.

The governor says he wants families to be assured that Highland Park students will be able to finish the school year.

State Legislature
7:03 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Health advocates say state should go beyond “personal responsibility”

Some health advocates say Governor Rick Snyder was not bold enough in his State of the State speech on fighting childhood obesity. Governor Snyder mentioned a program in his speech last week that would teach parents about proper nutrition for young children to help combat childhood obesity.

Katherine Knoll is with the Midwest chapter of the American Heart Association. She says kids need direct instruction on how to control their weight, and that should take place in school.

“Just as we don’t expect them to know how to read when they enter school, we don’t expect them to know how to balance that calories-in-calories-out equation, and we need to work with them on that," Knoll says.

Knoll says she hopes the state Legislature will approve a measure that would require all kids in elementary and middle school to have physical education twice a week.

A spokeswoman for Governor Snyder says the governor wants to take a comprehensive approach toward tackling obesity. She says the administration expects to hear soon from the Department of Community Health on details of an obesity-fighting plan.

Politics
4:34 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

State of the State in an election year

Michigan Legislature.
Michigan Municipal League

Gov. Rick Snyder gave his second state of the address this week.

To take a closer look at how Gov. Snyder and the legislature might move forward this election year is 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.

 

Politics
3:27 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Grilling the governor: Snyder faces tough questions during online town hall

Screen cap from online town hall meeting

Wednesday evening, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder hosted an online town hall meeting, soliciting questions via email and social networking sites while responding through a streaming video feed on his Facebook profile.

Just prior to the event, there were over 3,500 questions submitted, including:

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Politics
12:20 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Highland Park School officials want to stop emergency manager takeover

Highland Park school district financial director Randy Lane (left) listens as district counsel George Butler makes his arguments to a hearing officer in Lansing
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Highland Park school district officials are trying to convince the state not to appoint an emergency manager to run the district. A hearing today in Lansing may be their last chance.   

A state review panel says the Highland Park School District is in a ‘Financial Crisis’.   The district is $11 million in debt.   It’s student population has plunged from more than 3000 students in 2006 to less than a thousand today.    

A review panel member says the school board’s efforts at reducing their budget deficit have been “going in the wrong direction”.    

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Politics
10:44 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Governor Snyder gives State of the State, business edition

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Rick Snyder for Michigan Facebook

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is offering a business-focused version of his State of the State address to a commerce-friendly crowd.

The Republican told business leaders Friday at a Detroit Regional Chamber-hosted event that the state made great progress last year. He says more must be done to fix transportation and more should be invested in fixing roads and bridges.

His remarks come two days after his State of the State speech.

The former businessman has praised business for helping improve Michigan's economy last year by adding 80,000 jobs. That helped push the unemployment rate to about 2 percentage points lower than when he took office last year.

He says the cost of doing business has been lowered, encouraging businesses. Democratic lawmakers say businesses have been helped at the workers' expense.

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