Tony Saunders

Politics & Government
6:20 am
Wed February 5, 2014

With $2.3 million state loan, Benton Harbor emergency manager prepares an exit

Benton Harbor City Hall pictured in the summer of 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor’s emergency manager is planning his exit. That’s after the state agreed to loan the city more than $2 million.

When Benton Harbor officially began its financial emergency, Jennifer Granholm was the governor. During the last four years, the city has operated under three different versions of Michigan’s emergency manager law. That’s how long it’s been.

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Politics & Government
2:57 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Benton Harbor emergency manager asks state for loan; city commissioners reject the plan

Benton Harbor City Hall pictured in the summer of 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Elected leaders in Benton Harbor are rejecting the emergency manager’s plan to take on debt to pay down the city’s deficit.

Benton Harbor has been under state control for three years. It's cut its deficit by a third; from $3.4 million in 2010 to $1.2 million, according to the latest audit.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Benton Harbor leaders at odds over proposed income tax; voters decide Tuesday

The City of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since March 2010.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A southwest Michigan city under state control will decide whether to impose a new city income tax in Tuesday's election. An emergency manager has been running Benton Harbor since March 2010.

If the proposal passes, people who live or work in Benton Harbor will pay a small percentage of their income to the city government. More than 20 other Michigan cities have an income tax.

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Fri October 18, 2013

If Benton Harbor voters approve income tax, manager would pay down pension liabilities

The City of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since March 2010.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Tony Saunders is breaking months of silence on a proposed city income tax. Saunders says he has some concerns about the proposal.

“I want to make sure we have a strong climate for business investment here. Also, you know this is one of the poorest cities in Michigan, so the last thing I want to see is our citizens being taxed once again when they’re already struggling to make ends meet,” Saunders said.

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Politics & Government
7:35 am
Tue May 28, 2013

In this morning's news: Diane Hathaway in court, Benton Harbor on the rebound, Farm Bill rally

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State Supreme Court Justice faces sentencing

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is due in court today to be sentenced for fraud. Hathaway was forced to resign in January when she pleaded guilty to a scheme to cheat the bank by hiding assets.  Hathaway’s attorney is asking that she be allowed to perform community service and pay thousands of dollars in fines; however, federal prosecutors have asked for prison time of 12 to 18 months. Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta has more.

Benton Harbor EM believes deficit will be eliminated in one year

Tony Saunders, the emergency manager of Benton Harbor, says elected leaders are likely to regain control within a year when the city's structural deficit will be eliminated. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says he’s cut more than a million dollars from the budget in just three months.

Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill is headed to the senate

Senator Debbie Stabenow will rally in West Michigan this week. She's trying to get farmers to pressure lawmakers to pass her new farm bill to funds crop insurance programs and research to help fight invasive insects. Last year the Senate passed the farm bill but it died in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on the farm bill early next month.

Politics & Government
9:53 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Benton Harbor emergency manager predicting budget surplus on the horizon

Benton Harbor City Hall
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says the city is on track to eliminate its structural deficit within a year. The city's finances have been under state control for more than three years.

Emergency Manager Tony Saunders started in February after the state ended the previous manager's contract at the city commission’s request.

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Politics & Government
9:06 am
Wed January 23, 2013

The week in Michigan politics

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In this week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the likelihood of Michigan having a part time legislature, what will happen to former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway and who is likely to replace her. Lessenberry and Shockley also talk about the 26-year-old who will soon be the emergency manager for Benton Harbor.

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Politics & Government
7:05 am
Mon January 21, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Governor Snyder to listen for finance issues in Presidential inauguration

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll be listening for plans to fix the nation’s finances in President Obama’s second inaugural address today. He says bickering in Washington about the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling are delaying a more-robust economic recovery," Rick Pluta reports.

Changes in Michigan income taxes

"Michigan income tax returns for 20-12 will look a lot different than last year. That's because a slew of deductions and credits have disappeared. Many retirees will have to pay taxes on their pensions. The state's homestead property tax credit will go away for many people. And there won't be a credit for college and tuition fees anymore," Rina Miller reports.

A 26-year-old to replace Benton Harbor emergency manager

"The incoming emergency financial manager for the City of Benton Harbor doesn’t start until February First, but he’s already working hard to create new relationships and get a complete picture of the city’s finances.  Tony Saunders is 26. But he says people should consider his experience working in Detroit and Highland Park, not his age. Saunders replaces outgoing emergency manager Joe Harris," Lindsey Smith reports.

Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager will work in “dog years” to hand over local control

Benton Harbor’s incoming emergency financial manager says he’ll work quickly on a plan to put the city in the black.

Tony Saunders II says no kid aspires to grow up to be an emergency financial manager, but he’s excited about the opportunity. He’s 26-years old, expecting his first child in April. But he says people should consider his experience working in Detroit and Highland Park, not his age.

“I’m not worried about my age and I don’t think others will once they have a chance to meet me and see the pace that I’m willing to work at,” Saunders said.

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Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

State appoints young, fresh face to run Benton Harbor beginning next month

Joe Harris is on his way out of office as Benton Harbor's emergency manager.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

As expected, the state has replaced Benton Harbor’s emergency manager. Joe Harris has served as Benton Harbor’s emergency manager since former Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed him in March 2010. His contract expires January 31st.

Harris made progress in cutting the city’s deficit, but has been blamed for keeping the community in the dark about his decisions recently. Some of the city’s elected officials asked the state to replace Harris last month. Although state officials are not acknowledging that’s the reason, a letter from Deputy Treasurer Roger Fraser explains the state would work to fulfill the request.

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