salary

If you love the Detroit Institute of Arts, and supported the “Grand Bargain” to save it, then you should be grateful that what surfaced this week wasn’t known a few months ago.

Specifically, the whopping raises and bonuses paid to Graham Beal, the director of the DIA, and Annmarie Erickson, the museum’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Two years ago, Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Erickson, who got a promotion and new responsibilities, got a 36% raise.

If I could have dinner with any corporate executive, I’d choose Mary Barra, who I think is fascinating.

She rose through the ranks of the highly macho culture at General Motors to become its first female CEO. And she didn’t do it as a transplanted financial expert, but as the first honest-to-goodness automotive engineer to lead the company in more than 20 years.

Were she male, she’d be called a “car guy” by the press.

EPI

That's the estimate for a family made up of two parents and two kids.

The numbers are calculated by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

You can look up your specific living situation with their updated "Family Budget Calculator."

EPI says the calculator estimates the annual income a family needs for a "secure yet modest living standard."

It estimates expenses related to housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. And by their calculations, families at the poverty level set by the federal government are nowhere near the EPI's "getting by" threshold.

The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children)...EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by.

Of the 20 areas the EPI examined in Michigan, the Ann Arbor area came out on top as the most expensive place to live.  Rural Michigan was the least expensive.

Here's a look at the Michigan areas EPI put into their calculator, from most expensive to least expensive (for two-parent, two-child families):

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Detroit Democrats propose auto insurance reform

Democratic state lawmakers from Detroit are proposing their own strategy to overhaul auto insurance in Michigan.

“The Democrats oppose Governor Snyder’s plan to cap insurance payouts for catastrophic injuries sustained in car accidents...Detroit caucus members say they’ll propose other measures, like requiring insurance companies to justify rate increases,” Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports.

Flint’s EM recommends income tax increase

Flint’s emergency manager says his budget plan for the next year is balanced, but he warns that without new tax revenue sources, the city will again fall into debt.

“[Emergency Manager Ed] Kurtz says the loss of grant funding and declining property tax revenues will leave the city millions of dollars in the hole each year through 2018. Kurtz says Flint needs to raise its city income tax rate. Otherwise, Kurtz says Flint will face another round of budget cuts, including to police and fire,” according to Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody.

Salaries for state officials expected to stay the same

“A state salary commission is expected to recommend no salary hikes for the governor or legislators. Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders sent word they’re not seeking bigger paychecks. There could be a battle over judges’ salaries, though, when the State Officers Compensation Commission meets today. Some judges have asked for a bump after a 10-year salary freeze,” Rick Pluta reports.

There are many fewer state employees now than there were thirty years ago, but the total is still nearly fifty thousand. Most of them are union members, and contract talks are now underway between their unions and the Snyder administration.

Negotiations aren’t likely to be easy. The governor wants a new contract that will save $265 million dollars, or about six thousand dollars per worker. The administration says we can’t afford to maintain the level of benefits they’ve been getting.

The unions sharply disagree. So -- who is right?

For many years, the great bargain has been that public sector workers traded high salaries for secure jobs with good benefits.  A few years ago, a former student of mine talked to me about her husband, who just then was getting an advanced degree in economics. He was a very intelligent and capable man.

Governor Rick Snyder
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

There aren't too many jobs out there where you go to work on your first day unsure of how much money you'll make. But, apparently, that's the case with one pretty important job in the state: Governor of Michigan.

The Associated Press reports that Governor Rick Snyder still hasn't decided how much money he'll take as the state's Chief Executive.

Cover of the report Executive Excess 2010: CEO Pay and the Great Recession
IPS

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies looked at CEO compensation from the 50 companies that layed off more workers during the recession. They found the CEOs at these companies are paid more, on average, than the average pay for the CEOs running to top 500 companies in the U.S. (S&P 500).

Sarah Anderson is the lead author of the report.  She says,

"CEOs are squeezing workers to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks."