LANSING — As lawmakers wrangle over how to fix the state’s crumbling road system, one group is increasingly volunteering to foot the bill: Local taxpayers.
More than a third of counties now have local property tax increases in place to help fund road maintenance.
In 2006, voters in 12 counties had approved local road maintenance levies. That number has now risen to 28 as of this year, when eight passed new increases in the August primary and November general elections.
Source: County Road Association of Michigan.
Although the taxes are expected to bring in millions of dollars in additional road funds each year, local leaders say it will barely make a dent, even if the House passes a bill in December to double the gasoline tax. Continue reading →
LANSING — Golf courses in Michigan have reopened after a prolonged winter freeze that caused damage and set revenue behind for the season.
The damage could be costly, said John Pohl, assistant shop manager at the Royal Scot Golf Course in Lansing. The season started three weeks later than usual, which also cost the course money, he said. Royal Scot reopened in early April last year.
“People don’t want to go out golfing when it’s cold out,” he said.
LANSING — Michigan’s economy is on the rise, according to a recent survey.
In many areas of the state more people are reporting they are in excellent or good economic shape. The exceptions are the Upper Peninsula, rural areas and Detroit.
The latest State of the State survey out of Michigan State University indicates that many Michigan residents are doing better financially than they were a year ago. And they expect to be doing better still this time next year.
An average of 54 percent of residents think they are in “excellent” or “good” financial position this year. This percentage has steadily increased after the numbers bottomed out in late 2009 and early 2010, said Charles Ballard, director of the survey and professor of economics at MSU.
LANSING — The explosion of craft beer in Michigan has the Legislature hoping the industry could benefit from relaxed regulation.
Numerous bills related to the beer and wine industries were passed in the House recently, many of them designed to encourage the industry to expand.
The legislation would raise the limit of barrels produced by a microbrewery from 30,000 to 60,000. As of now, a brewer that produces more than 30,000 barrels can no longer be considered a microbrewery. Microbrewers are given some tax breaks and have some flexibility in the rules of the industry, such as the ability to sell growlers, or containers that can be filled to go.
LANSING — The seemingly everlasting winter chill might cost Michigan dairy farmers whose cows are trying to stay warm.
Farmers are treating cows with more than the usual number of pneumonia cases, chapped teats and udders, disturbed calving cycles and injuries from slipping on ice. And some of them might receive a lower paycheck from lackluster milk production thanks to the long, cold winter.
Although cows prefer cooler temperatures, the animals need far more energy to survive during harsh winter weather, said Ron Erskine, Michigan State University professor of veterinary medicine.