Rick Snyder

Opinion
8:40 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Why you don't hear about some presidential candidates

Lessenberry commentary for 1/8/14

Two years ago, there were three truly national presidential candidates on the November ballot. Two were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But who was the third? Give up? It was Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.

Like Obama and Romney, he was on almost every state ballot, except Oklahoma and, ironically, Michigan, where more than 7,000 people did write in his name. Part of the reason most of us don’t remember Johnson is because, in the end, President Obama got about 66 million votes. Romney got about 61 million. Gary Johnson got a little over a million and a quarter, or just under one percent.

Why did he do so poorly? Were his ideas that repellent? My guess is, not really.

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Politics & Government
7:53 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Budget experts predict an extra $1.1 billion in state government revenues over 3 years

State capitol building, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan legislative budget experts say state government is taking in hundreds of millions of dollars more than expected eight months ago.

A report released Tuesday from the House Fiscal Agency in Lansing estimates Michigan collected $433 million more than projected in the last budget year and will collect about $327 million more this year.

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Politics & Government
7:36 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Governor: State stepping up, people should stay in

Yeah, that's a lot of snow
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan has put out every available road crew and has increased state police patrols in response to the heavy snowfall and the deep freeze forecast to follow it.

Snyder says Michigan residents can help, too, by looking in on friends and neighbors while staying off roads as much as possible.

A foot of snow was on the ground already by Sunday evening in parts of the Lower Peninsula, with more on the way.

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Politics & Government
2:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

PAC spending is expected to be a big part of the 2014 election year in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

2014 will be a big election year in Michigan and spending by Political Action Committees is expected to be just as big.

Rich Robinson is the director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

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It's Just Politics
1:35 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Michigan’s budget surplus: More money, more problems? Sure, but it beats the alternative

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Lansing these days could be renamed Surplus City, where we’re just looking for ways to spend the money that Michigan is expected to rake in this year. It appears our deficit days are behind us; we are now looking at a tidy little budget surplus. Early estimates put the number in the hundreds of millions of dollars range but we’ll get an official projection a week from today when the state holds the next revenue estimating conference.

People come to the Capitol and watch as economists talk about, ya know, economic things and come up with an official budget number. And one thing is certain: No matter how big the surplus is, there will be more ideas on how to spend it than actual money to spend. And, there’s already a list including road funding and more money for schools and universities.

Democrats also say they want to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Property Tax Credit. And, there will likely be talk about more money for local governments. These are things that Democrats, as the minority party in the Capitol, would typically have little influence over. But they have a little more to work with right now. That’s because, for one thing, it’s an election year, if -- as expected -- Republicans put more money into schools and universities -- it becomes harder for Democrats to use those as campaign issues. There’s also controversial questions like road funding and auto insurance, issues that aren’t likely to get resolved without some measure of Democratic cooperation.

So, we are faced here, with a fiscal philosophical question: What is a budget surplus?

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Transportation
9:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Expect to see driverless cars test-driving on Michigan roads soon

A Toyota Prius, modified by Google to function as a driverless car
Credit Wikipedia

Governor Snyder has signed a law that opens up Michigan’s roads as testing grounds for driverless cars.

More and more, it seems that these autonomous vehicles — “intelligent” cars that can drive themselves and even communicate with each other — will be a big part of our transportation future.

At least, that’s what Gov. Snyder and the state’s carmakers are banking on. And they want to stay ahead of the curve in research and design.

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Politics & Government
8:54 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Snyder signs bill to allow bigger political donations; preempt issue ad disclosure

sushi ina flickr

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that outlaws efforts to require disclosure of the donors behind so-called “issue ads.” It appears to be a reversal of one of his campaign pledges.  

The governor came out against anonymous issue ads in a 2010 campaign white paper. Issue ads tell people to “call” or “contact” a politician without expressly advocating for how they should vote.

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Politics & Government
9:18 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Michigan Gov. Snyder proud of health laws, realistic about 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is proud of the substantial changes he and lawmakers made to Michigan's health care landscape in 2013.

Almost a half-million low-income adults will qualify for government health insurance through an expansion of Medicaid. An overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield is creating a nearly $1.6 billion health endowment fund.

More low-income children are eligible for dental coverage.

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Politics & Government
11:26 am
Sun December 22, 2013

New Michigan laws of 2013 led by Medicaid expansion

State capitol building, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators have enacted more than 200 new laws in 2013, with roughly 70 more awaiting the governor's signature after a final burst of voting.

The year's top laws include a landmark expansion of government-funded medical coverage to hundreds of thousands more low-income adults and restrictions on insurance coverage of abortions.

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It's Just Politics
2:09 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Republican angst over gay rights in Michigan continues

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The Republican angst over gay rights continues this week.

Driven and riven by the continuing commentary on the topic by Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, in this case on AIDS and partner benefits. “Folks they want free medical because they’re dying between the ages of 30 and 44 years old… For me it’s a moral issue. It’s a biblical issue,” Agema told a local Republican holiday gathering last week in West Michigan (thanks to the Herald Palladium for audio of remarks).

And, as they often do, Agema’s comments have already gotten a lot of attention; inciting what has become a now-predictable ritual of condemnation from Democrats and Republicans. However, Republicans are complaining not so much about what Agema said but, instead, how he said it.

This is not the first time that Dave Agema has made comments like this. There is a history here. Agema has always made it plain he considers homosexuality to be nothing but a deviant lifestyle. His detractors say he’s a bigot. His supporters - and he certainly has them within the state Republican Party - say he’s a truth-teller. In fact, former state Representative Jack Hoogendyk, a prominent Tea Party leader, recently called him “a prophet.”

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Politics & Government
9:50 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Awkward: UAW official praises Democratic candidate for governor while the GOP incumbent listens

UAW Regional Director Norwood Jewell praises Democratic gubenatorial candidate Mark Schauer while Republican incumbent Rick Snyder listens
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Today’s announcement that General Motors will spend $1.3 billion upgrading plants in Michigan proved to be a little awkward for one of the dignitaries on the dais.

It’s probably not a surprise that Governor Snyder got a few boos from union members in the audience, given that the first anniversary of the governor signing Right to Work into law was just last week.

Perhaps less expected, the Republican governor had to sit and listen as UAW regional director Norwood Jewell praised Snyder’s Democratic opponent in next year’s election.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Lessenberry talks Rand Paul's ideas for Detroit, Snyder's approval rating and student loans

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Rand Paul thinks Detroit should lower it's tax rate in order to stabilize, what's behind Governor Rick Snyder's 36 percent approval rating, and how the average Michigan graduate has $29,000 in student loans.

Click here to listen to the interview

It's Just Politics
1:44 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

'Blue State' project targets Snyder, other GOP governors in states Obama won

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

We’re into the 2013 winter holiday season, which means we’re just a few weeks away from 2014 and a new round of big statewide elections.

That includes Governor Rick Snyder’s reelection bid -- which isn’t quite “official” yet, despite an active campaign committee, ads, and political consultants.

Still, it’s good to be a Republican governor these days. The presidential race is in the rearview mirror, the economy’s ticking up slowly, and people are looking at Washington and seeing nothing but gridlock and dysfunction.

But Democrats still see opportunity for putting one of their own into the governor’s office in Michigan, as well as eight other states that President Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. Politico says the Democratic Governors Association has secured a commitment from President Obama to fundraise, campaign, and provide material support to help pick up those states.

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Politics & Government
2:11 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Poll shows Governor Snyder may face problems in next year's election

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder may be facing a tough re-election battle next year. A new poll shows the governor’s approval rating is holding in the mid-30s.

Michigan State University’s "State of the State" survey polled Michiganders earlier this fall. The pollsters found only about 36% of Michiganders approved of the job Snyder is doing in office. That’s actually an improvement.  Last spring, after the Right to Work battle, Snyder’s approval rating dropped below 30% in the survey.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Snyder approval rating, student debt, lawmaker budget bump

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Sndyer's approval rating is up

Governor Snyder's approval rating is at it's highest since the summer of 2012. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval rating has ticked up to 35.6% according to a new State of the State Survey from Michigan State University to be released today."

College grads in Michigan have an average of $29,000 in debt

A new report finds the average Michigan college graduate in 2012 has nearly $29,000 in student loans. Ferris State and Lawrence Technological University graduates have the highest debt in the state.

Lawmakers get bigger budgets

"Lawmakers in the Michigan House will see their office budgets rise 5 percent in 2014. Lawmakers took a 10 percent pay cut in 2011," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Casino gambling won't stop this weekend, despite the expiration of some tribal gaming compacts

Know when to hold them, know when to fold them
beautifulhustle.com

Casinos operated by six Native American tribes in Michigan will continue to operate even though the gaming compacts that allow them expire this weekend.    That will gives the state and the tribes more time to negotiate new compacts.

The agreements were originally made 20 years ago.

John Wernet is the legal counsel for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.   He says casinos are a critical source of revenue for the tribes.

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It's Just Politics
11:08 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Dems cry foul over pay raises for state's investment managers

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

This week, on our tryptophan recovery edition of It’s Just Politics, we’re talking money: salaries, wages, and how they’re becoming an issue in the campaign for governor.

Last week, gubernatorial-hopeful and former Democratic Congressman Mark Schauer, called for an increase in the state minimum wage. Schauer wants to increase the rate to $9.25 an hour over three years.

And, like we talked about last week - this is a subtle twist, not just hammering Governor Rick Snyder over his support for a pension tax, and school funding, but trying to give voters something to support, not just be against.

But giving voters things to be against is still an important part of any campaign narrative, and this week, for Democrats and Mark Schauer it was all about serendipity; a nexus of timing and opportunity.

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Economy
10:24 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Warren Buffett in Michigan: Praises Detroit, announces investment in local businesses

Warren Buffett says Detroit has a “huge potential” for economic growth.
Jake Neher/ MPRN

Warren Buffett was in Michigan Tuesday to help launch a program that will invest $20 million in small businesses in and around Detroit.

Buffett is an advisor to Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which is committing $15 million of capital to support small businesses in and around the city. Another $5 million will go to business training for Detroit entrepreneurs.

Despite Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing, Buffett says the city has a “huge potential” for economic growth.

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It's Just Politics
6:32 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Dems try to leverage minimum wage for maximum political benefit

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Putative Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer rolled out his proposal this week to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $9.25 over three years; which, as of right now, would make it one of the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the nation.

That’s sparked a debate over the efficacy of the minimum wage – does it encourage prosperity by pushing more money into the economy? Or does it stifle hiring and job creation?

But we’re here to discuss the red meat politics of the minimum wage. Mark Schauer’s announcement sets the stage for a classic class warfare throw down. So, instead of diving too deep into the policy side, let’s take on the political calculation that’s part of choosing that number of $9.25.

Polling shows big support nationally for a minimum wage of $9 an hour. There is some Michigan public opinion research that’s not quite as reliable, but still suggests it’s about the same - about 70 percent favor it.

But that support plummets as the suggested minimum wage goes up, especially above $10 dollars an hour. This shows the risk in using the minimum wage as a political wedge. To a point, it has populist appeal, but people still fear the consequences of setting wage floors. So the key is to find the sweet spot, and Mark Schauer seems to have settled on $9.25. (He says the policy-side reason is that number will make up for the erosion of its buying power over the last four decades.)

Which brings us to the next question: why now? Why not keep beating the Democratic drums - pension tax, school cuts, with a little right-to-work thrown in just to fire up the base.

The answer: Because the base isn’t fired up. And the most recent polling shows Rick Snyder expanding his lead over Schauer. No matter how much Democrats may dislike what they’re seeing in Lansing, a lot of them are still not warming up to Mark Schauer, who is low-key, to say the least.

The minimum wage is supposed to be a jolt to try to put some electricity into his campaign.

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Stateside
4:35 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Will Detroit's new mayor work well with the emergency manager and governor?

Center, Detroit's Mayor-elect Mike Duggan
Duggan for Detroit

In the weeks after the Detroit’s mayoral election, a top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder recently quipped that “adults” are now running Detroit’s city hall.

Does that point to a better working relationship between the governor, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and the city’s Mayor-elect Mike Duggan?

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes is taking a look at the relations between Detroit’s leadership and the governor’s office.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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