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Susan Demas

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As the states largest public employee union begins new contract talks with the Snyder administration, public employees are saying theyve sacrificed enough. But, Governor Rick Snyders administration is looking for more concessions. In our weekly political roundup we talk with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net...

The politics behind teacher tenure

Jul 21, 2011
Allieosmar / Flickr

This week, Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills that dramatically changes teacher tenure rules here in Michigan. To take a look at the politics behind the controversial bills, we spoke with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former state Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

This week lawmakers and business leaders from around the state are attending the annual Mackinac Policy Conference. Its touted as a time when political deals are made and politicians have a chance to set agendas. To give us the lowdown on the conference Michigan Radios Jenn White talks with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service and Ken Sikkema, former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-971673.mp3 Former Republican state Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema is familiar with what goes on at the conference. Are there really any useful conversations that come out of this event? Sikkema: I do think useful conversations are conducted up there, but thats a far cry from saying that fundamental solutions get agreed to, or that deals get made. The Mackinac Policy Conference is sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and is known to be a lavish event. Considering that businesses are paying for the event, is there a conflict of interest at play for lawmakers? Susan Demas doesnt think so. Lawmakers pay their own way. But there are some paid-for events and open bars. Demas: But in a way its not all together that different than how business is conducted in Lansing every night. The bars and the restaurants are filled with lobbyists who meet with lawmakers, this is nothing new. But I certainly dont think anybody is violating any ethics laws that we have on the books here in Michigan.

Political Roundup

May 27, 2011
Photo by: contemplative imaging

The State Legislature completed work on a $46.5 billion state budget this week. Its the quickest budget process since the 1960s. Michigan Radios Jenn White spoke with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Bill Ballenger, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. You can hear the interview here: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-970951.mp3 Ballenger says Governor Snyder had a clear plan coming into office, which helped get this budget passed so quickly. He also points to the strong Republican control. These are the biggest margins of control since the years after World War II ended. This is how strong the majority is in the House and Senate with a Republican Governor. That is incredibly important. Certain items in the tax structure and in this budget have gotten lots of attention from the public. Tax on pensions, the reduction of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the cuts to K-12 schools all have been on peoples minds.

How Governor Snyder's education plan is playing

Apr 28, 2011
Flickr

Yesterday, governor Rick Snyder presented his plan for education reform at an event in Detroit. We asked Susan Demas, a political analyst for the Michigan Information and Research Service , and Ken Sikkema, a former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants to take a look at the political implications of that plan. You can listen to my interview with them here: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-966004.mp3

A look at the week in state politics

Apr 22, 2011
Matthileo / Flickr

Michigan Radios All Things Considered host Jennifer White takes a look at state politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. On tap: Benton Harbors Emergency Financial Manger uses his new powers and the state Senate looks to cut state aid for K-12 schools and higher education.

Political Roundup

Apr 14, 2011

Were getting a roundup of this weeks state politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-963332.mp3 This week Governor Snyder and GOP leaders announced they had come up with a tax deal. Demas says the biggest part of the deal is that they modified the pension tax, which was controversial. If you are on a pension right now, if you are 67 and older you are not going to have to worry anymore, they have taken that off the table. If youre younger than 67 you will be taxed more than you would have previously. But that means that instead of the almost $1 billion that was suppose to raised it will only raise $300 million. So to make up the difference we will see more budget cuts. And the income tax will stay at the 4.35% rate. It will not drop down to 4.25%.

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