There is a lot I could cover today. I mean, there is a race for the governor’s mansion that could shape the state for the next four years. There is a battle for the United States Senate seat currently held by the retiring Carl Levin that could influence the entire nation. Or I could talk about sports – specifically the debacle in Ann Arbor on Saturday and the victories of the Tigers and Lions on Sunday. So, maybe I will talk about them all while not going to in-depth on any of them. Continue reading
I remember an old joke from when I was growing up in Michigan – “How can you tell that winter is over…the orange starts blooming on the roads.” I am sure that a lot of Midwestern states have similar sayings, but it seemed especially true in the Great Lakes State. It seemed that massive stretches of major roadways were always being worked on (sometimes the same stretches over repeated years for who knows what reasons). As much as the work lags, the funding has lagged even more. That may be about to change though.
Recycling makes cents…err sense
Michigan has national notoriety for its ten-cent return on bottles and cans, yet its statewide recycling lags behind the national average. The national average for household recycling is estimated at 35 percent but Michigan is a full 20 points lower at around 15 percent. Gov. Rick Snyder is hoping to change that with a new program though.
The 2016 Presidential election is still two-plus years away but the talk over who will be the next person to occupy the oval office basically started they day after President Obama won re-election in 2012. The upcoming 2014 mid-term elections will, of course, play a big role in who will be the most active in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Now that 2014 – and its delightful weather – is upon us, Michigan Monday has returned. The new year means that Michigan is squarely in the cross-hairs of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. With all of the state’s U.S. House seats up for grabs (it is an even-numbered year), the Governor’s mansion’s lease up for renewal, and the U.S. Senate spot held by Carl Levin interviewing interested applicants, A LOT of party money will be spent throughout Michigan in 2014.
Michigan Monday is yet another new series we will be running at The MidWest Wing. It may focus on one topic or several, but the common theme will be always be the Great Lakes State.
Last week Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was in Washington to talk with Congress about cyber-security (he was a top executive at Gateway Computers in a previous life). While there, he commented extensively on the DC dysfunction we are seeing from both parties on Capitol Hill and the White House.
“The best answer isn’t to do it through press releases [and] press conferences,” he said. “Shouldn’t people just go two miles one way or another or meet in between and sit in a room and talk about it? …. And keep talking till you get an answer.”
“It would clearly require more than one meeting,” he added. “How have we solved other problems in the world or business problems or family problems? That’s how you do it: you talk to people.”
Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder stated that he supported a measure for the State of Michigan to collect sales tax from online purchases. While citizens are supposed to pay this sales tax anyway, there usually is not a mechanism built into the site for them to do so, as such, they must self-report this. As you can imagine, this frequently goes unreported. While some on the right would try to use this as ammunition against a moderate politician, this policy is especially sound for a state still trying to recover from a decade of mismanagement and budgetary issues. Michigan is hardly alone in this measure, Indiana also considered a similar measure this year (they have an agree with Amazon.com to start collecting taxes in 2014).
It came out yesterday that Michigan had a significant surplus in their budget. In fact, the number is quite astonishing – $687 Million. For a state that has endured tougher economic times than any other member of the Union, this is very welcome news. Critics seem to be pointing out the costs of creating this surplus rather than rejoicing in what could be an important forward step for the state’s economy. Of course the surplus came at a cost – money does not magically appear (unless that state put about a billion teeth under its pillow over the past year). However, some of those cuts can now be partially restored. Every agency will be clamoring for money now that they know there is some to spread around. The temptation must be resisted to give in to everyone though or Michigan will undoubtedly return to the days of red ink. Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd on Twitter) will need to make calculated decisions as to where the least amount of money can make the biggest impact.