Higher rents squeeze low income workers

Capital News Service

LANSING – Real estate experts across the state say the cost of renting a home is rising and the trend toward higher rent will only continue.

Recent economic turmoil has raised barriers when it comes to owning a home, sparking a surge in the rental market across the country. But what happens when wages and income level don’t line up with the rising cost of rent?

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition in Washington, D.C., one in four renters pays half of his or her income in rent.
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Grants boost hunter access in northern Lower Peninsula

Capital News Service

LANSING — In portions of the northern Lower Peninsula next year, farmers in need of relief from hungry deer and hunters in search of turf might mutually benefit from an expanded state land-access initiative.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiative, called the Hunting Access Program, would open more private land to hunters in the northern Lower Peninsula with a new federal grant of nearly $1 million.


Counties: Mason, Lake, Manistee, Wexford, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, Charlevoix, Otsego, Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Ogemaw and Iosco.
Map courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources

Among the counties included are Alcona, Montmorency, Emmet, Cheboygan, Antrim, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Manistee, Mason, Lake and Wexford.
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Community colleges push job training for new workers

Capital News Service

LANSING—Michigan employers can get free job training for their new workers from local community colleges.

While Michigan companies are expanding and hiring more workers, many need training for skills.

Where can employers find an organization to provide that training? The Michigan Community College Association says: their local community college.
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More young entrepreneurs starting Michigan businesses


Capital News Service

LANSING — In a state that has a reputation as an economic sinkhole, revived cities, growing local economies and the idealistic attitude of students are starting to keep young entrepreneurs in Michigan.

Small Business Association of Michigan Director of Government Relations Michael Marzano said that it is time for the state to relabel itself and its vibrant cities to attract businesses. He used the introduction of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids as an example of a new idea that stimulates the local economy and draws in young people.

Marzano said, “Think about what ArtPrize does for the economy of a downtown area like that. It’s just built it up so much.
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Michigan aims to capture Chinese tourist market


Capital News Service

LANSING — The number of Chinese travelers and the amount of money spent per visitor are the highest among all groups of international visitors, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

This potential tourism market is capturing the attention of Michigan’s government.

For the first time, Gov. Rick Snyder included tourism in the agenda of his recent investment mission to China and touted Michigan’s potential as a destination for international travelers.
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Michigan faces ecological debt

Capital News Service

LANSING — The nation hit Ecological Deficit Day recently, thanks in part to states like Michigan that use more resources than they can regenerate.

A report by the California-based Global Footprint Network and the Tacoma, Washington, nonprofit group Earth Economics details resource availability and the environmental footprint of all 50 states. That footprint includes the unsustainable practices that broke Michigan’s ecological budget.

It’s not just the fault of the Great Lakes State. In fact, only 16 states can boast that they use fewer resources than they renew each year.
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Detroit’s comeback might leave some residents behind

Capital News Service

LANSING – Persistent poverty and a focus on commercial developments in Detroit are raising concerns that efforts to revitalize the city are ignoring its low-income population.

“We don’t talk enough about how Detroiters who grew up in the city and are now in their 20s and 30s are concerned they won’t be able to participate in the revival of the city that made them,” said Aaron Foley, a Detroit writer whose book, “How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass,” published by Rust Belt Chic, is due out this fall.

Detroit’s economic and cultural health are tied directly to Michigan’s overall fortunes. Gov. Rick Snyder has said a strong Detroit is central to revitalizing the state. Millions of dollars have been invested in moving the city through bankruptcy and rebuilding parts of the city, such as refurbishing the David Whitney Building into luxury apartments and office space.
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Dems propose tax breaks for mid-, low-income families

Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan is still catching up after the Great Recession crashed the economy — and for most residents, the 2011 rewrite of the state tax code made things worse, Democratic legislators say.

Lawmakers recently took aim at tax changes approved by Gov. Rick Snyder that they said shifted the burden from businesses to individuals and harmed mid and low-wage workers.

“Most families in our state continue to struggle economically, and the income and equality and disparity between the wealthy and everyone else continues to get ever bigger,” Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel of Oakland County said. “A big part of that is related to the massive tax shift that Republicans in state government orchestrated in 2011.”
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Will Proposal 1 fix roads? Only the voters know

Capital News Service

LANSING — By now you’ve seen the ads on TV, heard them on the radio or read the op-eds in your local paper: Proposal 1 is either a devastating tax increase on all hardworking Michiganders or a crucial investment in our crumbling infrastructure.

So what exactly does Proposal 1 do?

One of the common criticisms of the Proposal is that it’s too complicated. It does more than just fix roads. Here’s what the proposal would do if approved by voters, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency, a nonpartisan government agency that provides analysis of legislation:
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Deaf community lacks interpreters, support, advocates say

Capital News Service

LANSING — Continued shortages of qualified interpreters and funding mean Michigan’s deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing residents lack access to proper communication and education, and many are unclear of their rights under state law, advocates say.

Michigan has a shortage of accessible mental health services, education, employment and legal services for these residents, said Todd Morrison, director of the Michigan Deaf Association.

About a million Michigan residents experience hearing loss, and about 90,000 identify as deaf. The majority consider themselves hard of hearing or later-deafened — meaning they were deafened after adolescence, having grown up as part of the hearing population, Morrison said.
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