Michigan experts say businesses, farmers harmed in China trade wars

By CRYSTAL CHEN

LANSING — The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has lasted for nearly one year and has already affected U.S industries and consumers, especially buyers and sellers of two items important in Michigan — soybeans and auto parts. Economists have long argued that tariffs come with real income losses. A newly published research article from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a research network based in London, found that by the end of 2018, import tariffs were costing U.S. consumers and companies that import goods an extra $3 billion per month in added tax costs and an additional $1.4 billion per month in reduction in real income. “Everything affects everything, and everything is related to everything,” said Erkan Kocas, an international trade specialist at the Michigan State University International Business Center. Kocas said that an individual’s income and needs don’t change in spite of tariffs.

Michigan food assistance program threatened by Trump’s budget proposal

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Federal officials are proposing a budget cut to food assistance that would add restrictions to 1.2 million Michigan families receiving benefits, according to Michigan advocates for low-income residents. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the farm bill that would expand the food assistance program and double the funding in Michigan, but the president‘s budget proposal would undermine that agreement. It must be approved by Congress before taking effect. “Months after Congress and the Trump Administration debated and renewed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the farm bill, the administration is proposing to take away food assistance from struggling workers and families through these harsh cuts and changes to SNAP, ” said Alex Rossman, communications director for the Michigan League for Public Policy. The Michigan Center for Civil Justice, a nonprofit legal firm that advocates for low-income people, objects to proposed federal rules that would give able-bodied adults without disability more work requirements, much like what Michigan legislators have proposed for Medicaid recipients.

New tax system affects tax preparers

In January of 2018, the Trump administration new tax system went into affect. It changed the amount of taxes people pay throughout the year by changing the tax bracket people fall into. With taxes due April 15th here in Michigan, tax preparer Milton Price, owner of MJP Tax Services, has a lot of returns to finish up. And he’s not too fond of the new tax system. “A lot more paperwork… I’m going through more paper than I did before,” he said.

In modern America, women still aren’t required to register for the draft

Since 1940, men have been required to register in the selective service. For women, it’s different. Back in 2016, the Senate approved a bill that would require women to register for the draft if they turned 18 on or after January 1st, 2018. The final version of that bill, signed by President Obama, did not include that amendment. Captain Stephen Yaffe is the executive officer at the Lansing Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and said women play an important role in the military.

SPARTAN NEWS UPDATE

 

ON THIS EDITION OF THE SPARTAN NEWS UPDATE:

United States grounds all 737 MAX jets

MSU’s Women’s basketball coach gets another big title

And, the latest on the college admissions scandal

Cuts to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative proposed again in federal budget

By MAXWELL EVANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — President Donald Trump’s proposed gutting of Great Lakes protection and cleanup funds for a third straight year has drawn frustration and eye-rolling from Michigan environmentalists. Trump proposed a $270 million cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative on March 11 for the 2020 fiscal year, a 90 percent decrease over current levels. That’s a little better than his 2018 budget proposal to eliminate it completely before proposing an identical 90 percent cut the following year. Organizations relying on that funding take the continued threats seriously, said Sean Hammond, the deputy policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. But after two years of congressional pushback and a failure to make the cuts, the attacks on the initiative are getting old.

Big or little, governments must manage public records requests

By ANDREW BLOK, KALEA HALL AND KURT WILLIAMS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Ramona Smith was a trustee for Greenbush Township in rural Clinton County when she became concerned by a lack of transparency. So she decided to run for clerk. In 2016, Smith and four other township candidates won office on a shared platform of transparency. “Our residents would know when we were spending their money and how we were spending their money,” she said. “Anything they wanted to know, we were open to that.”

That’s the guiding principle behind the 1976 Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act that provides public access to records.