By CHEYNA ROTH
Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has a track record of trying to run Michigan like a business with a focus on jobs and the economy, but when it comes to tackling cultural or social justice issues, Snyder has a self-acknowledged history of staying away. “I don’t spend much time on social issues,” Snyder said in an interview with Capital News Service correspondents. “I spend the vast bulk of my time on economic development, making Michigan better, public safety, all the other issues, because I think that’s typically what our citizens are most concerned with.”
Social issues, particularly same-sex marriage and the question of whether business owners can deny service to people with whom they have religious differences, have been in the spotlight recently. Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. And the legislature is considering a bill to let businesses turn away customers for religious reasons that is similar to a recent law causing a backlash in Indiana.
LANSING-As news of Wayne County’s financial trouble spreads across Michigan and Detroit continues to pick up the pieces from its historic bankruptcy case, one would be fair in believing that the spirit of travel had fallen in recent years. Looking at basic economic figures, the future for Michigan’s vast tourism industry looked dire even before the recession or the bankruptcy hit. “Things started to bottom out near the end of [Former Governor Jennifer] Granholm’s term,” said David Lorenz, Manager of Industry Relations and International Marketing for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The economic draw-down overall hit Michigan harder than most, since much of the state’s finances derives from manufacturing, specifically cars. “We weren’t diversified well enough, so under our philosophy under the Granholm administration we really started taking this diversification thing seriously,” said Lorenz.
By COLLIN KRIZMANICH
Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s move to increase higher education funding separates him from a number of gubernatorial peers in Republican-run states who are proposing dramatic cuts to public universities. “We have a governor who is keeping higher education as a priority as he starts his second term,” said Mike Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, which represents Michigan’s 15 public universities. Under Snyder’s budget proposal, Michigan’s universities would receive an additional $28 million, or 2 percent, to go toward university operations. Community colleges would receive an additional $4.3 million, or 1.4 percent, in state funding. In order to receive the additional funding, universities must limit tuition increases to 2.8 percent or less.
Gov. Rick Snyder made multiple changes to individuals’ tax forms. Most were eliminations of certain exemptions, deductions, non-refundable and refundable credits. “It is going to affect the people and the credits that they would normally qualify for,” said Pamela Robedeau, previously a tax accountant and now a receptionist at Liberty Tax Services in Lansing Township. Claiming Children
Among the changes are how much of a credit is given for having children. Snyder has eliminated the $600 credit for children under 18. He has also eliminated the credit to families who paid for adoptions.
Michigan State University’s Residence, Education and Housing Services will be providing free laundry for students living in the dorms for the Fall 2013 school year. Students give their thoughts and Assistant Director Ashley Chaney gives us details on the new perk.
By BRIAN BIENKOWSKI
Capital News Service
LANSING — Proposed changes to Michigan’s environmental rules would eliminate red tape and redundancy, the Snyder administration says, but environmental groups say air, water, soil and health protections would be weakened. “The real meaningful changes are more process-related than actual requirements,” said Skiles Boyd, vice president of environmental management and resources at DTE Energy and a member of an advisory committee that recommended he changes. “Some of the processes we go through are too burdensome to get the result that we already know we’re going to get,” Boyd said. But James Clift, policy director at the Michigan Environmental Council, said, “I dissented on changes that I thought reduced the state’s role of protecting public health.”
In January, a committee assigned to make the state more business-friendly proposed 77 recommendations to Gov. Rick Snyder to overhaul environmental regulations. Snyder rejected three of them.
Michigan’s small businesses rely on recent changes in legislative measures and consumer trends to survive. The state government’s new focus on growing businesses from within is key to the success of local businesses in Michigan. Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) President and CEO Rob Fowler said that the state government administration’s move toward economic gardening or, growing businesses within Michigan instead of looking for business elsewhere, is key to job creation in Michigan. “People tend to think that job creation only happens when there’s a big company in town,” he said. After SBAM promoted economic gardening to Gov. Rick Snyder, it was included in his state of the state address in January as part of his plan to improve Michigan.