You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

Cuts to jobless benefits reveal just what may be in store with Gov. Rick Snyder's 'reinvention'

By Rick Haglund

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill cutting the number of weeks that laid-off workers are eligible to receive unemployment checks from 26 weeks to 20 weeks — the shortest benefit period in the country.

A conservative friend of mine, commenting on a front-page New York Times story about the measure, which I posted on my Facebook news feed, suggested we go further and end employer financing of the unemployment insurance system.

His solution? Since employees are the ones who receive jobless benefits, make them finance the system through payroll deductions.

Employee contributions to support the state’s unemployment insurance system could cost Michigan workers as much as $900 a year each under the current structure.

Initially, this idea struck me as too far removed from mainstream thought of how economic safety nets should work to ever be considered by policymakers.

But maybe it’s not so unimaginable. Already three states — Alaska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — require small contributions from employees to their unemployment insurance systems.

And business lobbying groups in Michigan say Snyder’s historic shrinking of benefit weeks doesn’t go far enough to cut the cost of Michigan’s system, which pays a maximum of $362 a week to eligible laid-off workers.

Cutting six weeks of benefit payments is expected to save businesses nearly $1 billion over the next three years, according to the politically powerful Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which pushed for the change.

“It marks one of the biggest UI (unemployment insurance) reforms Michigan has seen in decades,” the chamber said about the measure in a news release.

But chamber officials say more must be done to cut the cost of Michigan’s system, which owes more than $3.9 billion to the federal government.

That’s the amount Michigan had to borrow from the feds to keep paying benefits when the state’s trust fund went broke during the Great Recession.

Businesses will pay as much as $240 million more in unemployment insurance assessments this year to begin repaying the debt, according to the chamber. Those payments are scheduled to progressively increase over the next decade.

The chamber will issue a series of proposed unemployment insurance reforms in the next several weeks, said Wendy Block, the chamber’s director of health policy and human resources.

Among reforms likely to be proposed are speeding up the appeals process for disputed claims, strengthening requirements that require those receiving unemployment benefits to search for work, and implementing a waiting week for benefits.

Forty other states require waiting weeks, which can save employers money, Block said. Michigan eliminated its waiting-week requirement in 1974.

“Unemployment taxes vary from state to state and are an area of business competitiveness,” Block told me. “We have to make sure our tax system is balanced and competitive with other states.”

The chamber won’t be proposing that the burden of financing the state’s unemployment insurance system be shifted to workers.

But don’t be surprised if ideas for reducing costs that may have seemed unthinkable a short time ago appear on the table.

In less than three months, Snyder has enacted several sweeping government reforms, including broad new powers for emergency financial managers, and proposed a budget that represents a massive shift in the tax burden from businesses to individuals.

Very little appears to be sacred in our new governor’s push to “reinvent” Michigan.

Email Rick Haglund at



Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

I just had a friend get a job after looking for almost 2 years. If he and his family had not been getting the unemployment insurance extensions, he probably would have left the state. This person earns 6 figures and Michigan is far better off with him working here than in some other state. Only 20 weeks of unemployment is a joke, especially when the economy tanks as bad as it has. All of Snyders policies are slanted at running a whole bunch of people out of this state for one reason or another. It is a proven fact that businesses look more at a healthy work force when they want to move operations to a state, than anything else. If Ricky gets his way, Dandy Don will be heard singing, "Turn out the light, the partys is over", very soon. I am getting ready to retire and Canada is looking pretty good to me.


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

The extensions are a Federal program and kick in when the State program ends. They are not always available.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

This is why we need to hurry up and institute corporate slavery. If the corporations could be the masters and we could all be the slaves there would be zero unemployment and the corporations would be much more profitable. You would be so happy with the crumbs they gave you. Best of all, there would be no debt for your children or grand-children to repay! Plus, they would always have a job.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

Ok, here's the deal: most economists would tell you that workers already are paying for their UI benefits in the form of lower wages than they would otherwise be getting. This is another situation that reminds me of that line in "Cool Hand Luke" where Paul Newman's character said (in a sarcastic tone), "Yep, Bosses need all they help they can get!" The truth is that wages are flat after adjusting for inflation when productivity is up about 5% in the last 18 months. There need to be higher taxes on business to recapture the lost revenue from all of the unemployed workers out there. One way to start would be to raise UI benefits to the inflation adjusted maximum value they were in 1989 (about $300/week then ) to $535/week today and to extend benefits to up to 52 weeks. Why not? If the corporate flaks pushing the current proposal can ignore economic science (in other words, the Earth really is flat), the rest of us have nothing to lose by going for broke.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

Some really, really do not get it. (maybe if Snyder was not cutting education, more people would get it) cj, That $1 for food stamps is spent right away, which creates an almost instant economic stimulus. The person getting the $1 also spends it quickly too, which generates more economic activity...and so, so and so. The food stamp recipients unlike the rich do not have an excess, so give the rich $1 and they sit on it or better yet, they loan it back to us by buying fed/state bonds. So every dollar to the rich with tax breaks loses money. See this chart <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Every $1 in tax breaks for corporations gets back about $.30 in economic stimulus and that is Snyder's big plan. A study into the Film credit showed for every $1 spent on the film credit provided $6. Those numbers are incredible. So what does the genius nerd do? He dumps the film credit, and takes from the poor, seniors, or K-12 and college kids education. So which would you prefer on your investment, .30 for your $1 or $6? At this point, I'll take even money.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

&quot;Moody's looked at the effectiveness of different economic policies in terms of likely impact they would have on the economy as a whole. They found that for every dollar spent on extending unemployment benefits, we get $1.61 back in economic growth&quot; Makes perfect sense give somebody a dollar so they can buy groceries or pay the rent and that dollar magically turns into $1.67. Sound like the same mumbo jumbo economics they said about the movie cash giveaway here in Michigan!


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

Same mmumbo jumbo that says it is fine to take in $1 in taxes and spend $1.41. The whole government system is badly out of whack.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and economist Dean Baker (former A2 resident) quickly and effectively cut through the flagrant b.s. being peddled by Michigan's Gov. Antoinette (&quot;Let them eat corporate tax cuts!&quot;) and the corporate stooges (apologies to Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp and Iggy) who now run our state legislature. One video link can be found here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Full program transcript: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (click on &quot;show more text&quot; and then go about half-way down) Maddow: &quot;...when they [the unemployed] get money in the form of, say, unemployment benefits, they tend to spend that money right away. When they get a dollar, they do not file it away for a rainy day, it is raining already for them. And so, if they get a dollar, they spend it on something they really need to spend it on, say food, really efficiently. Money spent on unemployment gets pumped back into the economy because of the nature of what it means to be unemployed. &quot;Moody's looked at the effectiveness of different economic policies in terms of likely impact they would have on the economy as a whole. They found that for every dollar spent on extending unemployment benefits, we get $1.61 back in economic growth. So, Michigan Republicans' idea of dealing with high unemployment in their state by making life harder for the unemployed, that isn't just mean, it's bad for Michigan's economy.&quot;

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Oh neat, Maddow using the Reagan trickle-down playbook. But the fact remains that the MBT punished small businesses, and that kept jobs out of our state. It needs to disappear.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

I saw that &quot;episode&quot; of Ms. Maddow. By the genius logic espoused we should all go on unemployment because for every dollar spent we generate $1.61, right? For someone so educated on Michigan, she has no clue about what reform of the MBT actually does and she can't pronounce &quot;Mackinac&quot; to save her life.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

I have read many comments to the effect &quot;at least Synder is doing something.&quot; So what is he &quot;doing?&quot; He is a republicain who is raising taxing on seniors, the poor and cutting education. And what do we get from this tax raising republican (which seems like a controdiction...any tea partiers out there listening)? We get a tax break for corporation, which is Snyder's magic wand for job creation. The hope is that said corporations will give us back our tax money and spend it in Michigan to create some jobs. We are talking about a state budget, which has to be balanced. That means any money given to say corporations in tax breaks has to come from some where else like um...poor people, funding for colleges, from teachers, seniors and infastructure, where all the money is spent back in the state. So this tax break will provide zero extra dollars into our economy. It is only a shift by definition. But Corps will spend the money we gave them in Michigan to create jobs right? 1) They can use the money to provide dividends to share holders, who are from everywhere and will spend their money in their home state/foreign country. 2) If a corp is head quartered in another state, the moeny will go to that state and be spent expanding their operations there. 3) Corps get to right off state taxes, so no/less state taxes means less federal tax right offs, which means they will have show the state tax savings as income on their federal taxes, which means some of the tax break will go to the feds and not instate. And lastly, people create economic growth and Michigan has been losing people for years. Snyders cuts for higher ed will not make out of state families excited about moving to our state and forget seniors. And this goes double for CEOs. They do not like moving to a states with declining education and infastructure investment either.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Wow! I have really mixed feelings about this. As someone who is currently receiving the whopping maximum of $362 per week for the last 3 months I'm glad I just received a job offer. My COBRA alone is $500/month. However, I feel compelled to note that I've had to go on unemployment twice in the last 5 years after losing a job due to poor managment decisions and weak leadership in both instances. It wasn't me who didn't want to work. Yes, there are some people to milk the system and would rather collect unemployment than work. There are always going to be scammers. Seems like they often become &quot;disabled&quot;, too. But I am not one of them, and I don't think think most unemployed are either. Seems to me this would have a detrimental affect for many people, but hey, what do I know! Just glad I'll be working soon.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

The employee already covers the cost of unemployment insurance. When a person is hired, every company I have ever been involved with considers the cost of unemployment insurance, health insurance and all other costs when determining the wage. If the fools in government shift the payment from the employer to the employee than means less disposable income for people and less spending means less jobs. Is anyone foolish enough to think employers are going to give their employees raises or hire more people because they have more money or lower the cost of their products and services? It will not happen! This will mean every current employee will be paying the cost of unemployment twice, once when their pay was calculated and now directly from their check. One bad idea after another...


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

This strikes me as one of those things that needs a longer-term solution. We're supposed to build up the trust fund during good times so that we don't have to cut benefits when we need them the most. The State Fiscal Agency has a report from 2009 on the trust fund on the State House website (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Page 19 has a nice graph of the trust fund balance, with fund contributions and benefits, from 1979 to 2000. That shows that most of what we need is perspective. Our peak debt in the 80s recession (1983) was $2.9 billion, about $4.1 billion in today's dollars. So our debt of $3.9 billion is actually smaller than it was at the worst of that recession. The 80s recession was a Depression for Michigan, and a bad recession for the rest of the country. This recession is also a Depression for Michigan, and a near-Depression for the rest of the country. The current debt isn't out of line for what we experienced 30 years ago, and we had that paid off and back in surplus about 5 years later.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

But, we did not have quickly increasing medicaid requirement from the Federal Government in the 1980s. This year the Health Care Reform Bill only added $700 million dollars in unfunded mandate to the state budget.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

I wish some of you would quit calling the governor's proposal for taxing pensions, like the rest of our income, a tax on the &quot;elderly&quot;. Many of these &quot;elderly&quot; are in their 50's and have retired from good jobs and are now working other good jobs. These pensions were NOT taxed before so why should the rest of us give them this break? Listen up you unemployed scammers. There are plenty of jobs out there but you won't work a job if it doesn't pay as much as your former employer will pay you NOT to work. Contrary to what most of you have learned living in a big union state and sitting in a classroom taught by union led teachers, businesses do not owe you a living just because you used to work for them. Take a minimum wage job or two or three. Opportunities will arise from that and soon enough you will be back on your feet.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

According to the US Census Bureau more than $7,000,000,000.00 is paid by pension programs to &quot;retirees&quot; between the ages of 50 and 65 in Michigan. Many of the folks I know who have &quot;retired&quot; from one job, and under 65 are indeed working a new job, some for government agencies in other states. They will be able to work long enough to set a second pension in some cases.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Steve You might want to read the post a couple times before commenting! &quot;Many of these &quot;elderly&quot; are in their 50's and have retired from good jobs and are now working other good jobs Does not say all it says &quot;Many of these &quot;elderly&quot; are in their 50's&quot; And this is true as I am one of them. I don't agree with all that was said but I think McGiver was saying that just because you are a person drawing a pension does not mean you are old enough to draw SS.

Steve in MI

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Tell that to my 95-year-old grandmother whose pension hasn't kept up with the ever-increasing cost of health care. I can't wait to explain to her that she should just count on the income from her &quot;other good job&quot;!


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

The employeed always talk of how many 'jobs' there are out there... until they're unemployeed.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

&quot;Many of these &quot;elderly&quot; are in their 50's and have retired from good jobs and are now working other good jobs&quot; Agreed. &quot;There are plenty of jobs out there&quot; What planet are you on?


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:18 a.m.

Take $25 a week and if you don't collect any unemployment during the calender year you get 50% back in the form of a refund. What da ya think?


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

&quot;His solution? Since employees are the ones who receive jobless benefits, make them finance the system through payroll deductions.&quot; This is done in some of Europe. As it stands, a private sector company can be hit with up to a 10% payroll tax (plus the federal surcharge). All the nonprofits and govt. units are exempt from this tax: only the private sector pays, and pays and pays (it may be over a decade to clean up Granholm's &quot;debt&quot; to the federal government). Few companies can hire if faced with these &quot;extras.&quot; Sorry Michigan - no more private sector jobs for you.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

My wife works for a non-profit and says they pay the payroll tax and get hit for unemployment just like everyone else. Are you sure when you say that?

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 10:39 a.m.

Since no one here wants to give these people jobs, they will need to move to other states. That's what people generally do when there is no work. Has anyone ever paid a mortgage on unemployment? It's not possible!

Peter Jameson

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 5:15 a.m.

I'm a union man, so naturally i don't understand how a budget works. We should just print more money.. thats how it works right?


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

Yes, turns out the banks paid the US government back more than they borrowed from the mess and will continue to do so. The US Government will probably earn about 7 or 8 percent interest on the money. It is one of the few uses of Government money that might have made money.

David Briegel

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

That's how it works for the Wall St Banksters and The Fed!

L. C. Burgundy

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 4:28 a.m.

This is an unfortunate reform that is needed. Michigan is seriously in deep with the fedgov because our unemployment insurance system is so far in the red thanks to the rudderless leadership on this issue up until recently. A safety net derived from kneecapping businesses that actually are employing residents is a safety net we just can't afford.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 3:55 a.m.

The unemployed don't want to work? Maybe that is true if the individual is living in their parents' basement. For adults with families, the maximum UI benefit will barely cover a family Cobra medical premium, never mind mortgage, utilities, auto expenses, food, and there better be no emergencies! The rainy day fund is quickly gone. Unemployed adults desperately want to work, at least every one that I have ever known. If UI is to last just 20 weeks, then be happy if you earned less than $50,000 per year. Stats show that for every $10,000 earned in the lost job, it will take one month to find a new job. With many Michigan employers hiring contract employees only and providing no benefits, even re-employment brings only partial relief. Be &quot;open&quot; to leaving the state? Many of us are praying for that opportunity, and would be across the the state line before the car doors are shut. We'll gladly take our education and experience and put it to good use elsewhere.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 3:47 a.m.

Well is there a group left that this guy hasn't got P.O'd yet ??? In his rationale for taxing pensions he pointed out that while retirees are the largest growing segment of the economy, the overall population of the state has declined less than ecxpected, but the segment losing population quickest are the young educated group !!!! Answer : Higher costs while you are working, higher costs when you stop, and old people all over the place !!!! Sounds a bit like California or Florida (except for a bit less civilized weather)..... Could we be headed for 9 1/2 % sales tax like Cal too ??? Keep us all on the edge of our seats Ricky (ready to go live somewhere else).


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

I am with you there ready to live somewhere else. Hey why don't we start with our State representatives in Lansing and Washington, cut their wages, reduce their benefits. Our unemployment wages are among the lowest in the country, if not THE lowest. Snyder is a CPA, most important is the BOTTOM LINE regardless of who he hurts in the process. I knew this was coming and folks I do the books for a retail company and they pay less in State taxes than I do.

Brian M.

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

$900 a year each to make Michigan more friendly to businesses? Hmmm... I'm not saying I'm for it. But that's not totally insane, right? $20 less a week? Am I crazy?


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

Good call Gov. Snyder, we are behind you 100%. This fiscal insanity is finally coming to an end. I for one don't want my kids and grandkids paying for our stupidity and ignorance when I am &quot;dust in the wind&quot;. Good Day


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

I work in a small company. We had a couple workers who were slackers and so we let them go. Now, because they're slackers they are going on an extended unemployment checking cashing binge while working cash jobs and taking classes. Nice. Meanwhile, my company is struggling to stay solvent with greatly increased unemployment insurance premiums. Of course the rest of the employees have no idea that this is going on and blame management for having to let go of people. Perhaps they would have a different view if they also contributed to unemployment insurance.


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

We are in year 4 of the legal mess from firing someone for cause. The person admitted to wrong doing, spent time in jail for work related conduct and the company is still knee deep in lawyers. You can fire for cause by law, in reality, even with great documentation, and clear reasons, it can be a legal mess. It would have been cheaper and easier to just lay the guy off and pay the unemployment.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 5:28 a.m.

Mike is right. There is no way to fire someone these days. You have to use layoffs, because the procedure is mostly protected from court action. Unemployment insurance is structured very poorly. It should only be paid by workers, if it's supposedly necessary. Otherwise, you're punishing the same people who provide the one thing that prevents unemployment. Right now there's money out there. But it's not being invested in labor because labor costs are too high. Lower the cost of doing business and the jobs will follow.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

If you fire them for cause it is not worth the fight, so yes, they can collect. And as Mike said you can get sued as well and it simply is not worth it.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2 a.m.

Oh hey guess what.. if you fire for cause that's an invitation to lawsuit.

Brian M.

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

You can't collect unemployment if you get fired for cause...


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

@Macabre Sunset. You are highly misinformed. Try crooked politics and soft money from corporations.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 5:32 a.m.

Crooked politics, absolutely. You have one party in bed with the unions and the other party in bed with the church. We need a party that isn't asleep. The unions give more soft money to politicians than anyone. You're supporting the biggest corporations that ever existed. Corporations that have no accountability to shareholders. So when performance drops, heads don't even roll. As a result, minimum, there are at least $3 trillion in unfunded benefit giveaways to public unions right now. And that is slowly bankrupting state after state. But keep your head in the sand. Eventually you will drown with the rest of us anyway.

True Facts

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

Keep up the GREAT work Rick.

David Briegel

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

Aw, come on Stephen, this was all supposed to be solved by Ronnie's tax cuts and then W's tax cuts. This dog won't hunt. It is pure mythology! Lowest tax rates in the modern era, biggest profits in the modern era, largest cash on hand in the modern era and all you guys can come up with is more of the same old failures! By your own claims all should be remedied by now! And Stephen, it is our money since the wealthy and Corporations will no longer be taxed fairly! When will you learn? When will we ever learn to disregard the mythology?? Oh wait, I can feel that trickle down coming. Any minute now! Oh, wait it's.............

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

&quot;. . . with people who are receiving unemployment for long periods of time and more insistent that these people take a more aggressive role in re-educating, retraining, and, if necessary, relocating.&quot; I'm curious. With the state's unemployment rate at 10.4% (and more than 20% if one counts the underemployed and those who have quit looking altogether), do you have any proof whatsoever that there are jobs for people who are on unemployment? And if the answer is &quot;relocating,&quot; what are they to do about their mortgages in the worst seller's market? Just abandon them, causing everyone's home value to decline even further? Seems to me that people are so intent on punishing those they deem &quot;the undeserving poor&quot; that they don't see that they are harming themselves, as well. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Anyone else as tired of the &quot;all of the unemployed have to do is work at McDonalds&quot; absurdity as I am? What are these people thinking? Since when is a good thing that skilled workers have to work at McDonalds while productive capital sits idle? Whether there is work at McDonalds or not, the point is that a strong middle class, as is supported by a manufacturing base, undermines the strength of the Rupert Murdoch/Forbes Top 400/Republican power base. I work in what little is left of manufacturing and there have been many times that I have seen my company, our suppliers and our customers move jobs either overseas or to right to work states to save a dollar, only to find out the move was profit negative. Nonetheless the jobs are moved.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

DonBee, Are you certain you aren't the Ghost of FDR? Yes, we need a CCC, a WPA, a NWA etc..... all of which were government programs that required people to work in order to receive what was then called &quot;relief&quot;. Sounds like a plan. It'll cost money, though, and won't be popular with the cut, cut, cut crowd. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

Finding a job and keeping it, even if you are well educated and qualified has been difficult in Michigan, no question. I have a little different idea, we need help with public services, we have people drawing unemployment from the state, why can they not put 10 hours a week in helping, even if it is picking up litter? I can bet what one group of people will answer, can you?

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

Harry Reid is a very conservative Democrat??? Now I've heard everything.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

&quot;. . . with people who are receiving unemployment for long periods of time and more insistent that these people take a more aggressive role in re-educating, retraining, and, if necessary, relocating.&quot; Where are people supposed to be re-educated? With all of Snyder's cuts in education (higher, especially schools that provide trades) where is one going to get this re-education?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 10:36 a.m.

&quot;I think you need to set up unemployment so that if you have to choose between unemployed and working fast food, you choose the job. &quot; Seems like you're more intent on punishing 'em than you are on doing what makes sense. Make MacDonald's more attractive than unemployment. Great. So they won't be able to make their house payment and they won't have time to go to school to learn a new skill so they can enter a new career. So much for teaching 'em to fish, eh? Guess you really didn't mean that. Just a &quot;sound bite&quot; that sounds good. You'd much rather make it impossible for them to do that. As for Oregon, you are correct. My bad. Nevada has 2 senators, 1 D and 1R, and it has two Representatives, 1 D and 1 R. It has a Republican governor and control of the legislature is split between the two parties--a classic &quot;purple&quot; state. That Harry Reid (a very conservative D) is from Nevada does not make the state blue. And none of this changes the basic point. Anyone who thinks a simple solution (cut cut cut taxes and cut cut cut spending) or a simple aphorism (teach 'em to fish) is, at best, kidding themselves. At worst, they're doing what the governor did when he ran for office: knowingly misrepresenting the situation. Good Night and Good Luck

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 5:23 a.m.

Oregon is as reliable a blue state as any these days. Pew Research was founded by a journalist who had a significant bias. It's not the worst one out there, but this is a loaded question these days, and I wouldn't trust them completely. California is front and center on the state bankruptcy issue, and I don't think you can argue that the public unions aren't in complete control of that state. Nevada went heavily with Obama, and surprisingly Reid in 2010. So it's blue. And hurting because of an unusual over-speculation in real estate, just like Florida. Arizona is the only real outlier there, and they're the at the center of the illegal immigration argument - crossing is easiest there. Are there jobs to be had in Michigan? I think you need to set up unemployment so that if you have to choose between unemployed and working fast food, you choose the job. But I won't argue that Michigan has a lot of jobs. It seems everything Snyder is doing is designed to make life easier for employers who don't have a special relationship with the government. And that's what I want to see from him. He's putting his money where his mouth was. Michigan was in the bottom five when it came to a positive environment for small businesses. We have two of the best universities in the world within our borders. We should be thriving when it comes to small business and entrepreneurship. Snyder knows he has to fix that, first.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

@BrianM.: Note the question that started this discussion strand. But just in case you aren't inclined, why do you think, with the state's unemployment rate where it is, that there are jobs to be had, an assumption implicit in your absurd statement. Good Night and Good Luck

Brian M.

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

Which is why you are friendly to businesses to create jobs. You know, as opposed to subsidizing someone's existence when they contribute nothing for an extended period.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Correction to my last: 9 of the 14 highest state unemployment rates belong to reliably red states. Two more (Oregon and Nevada) are neither reliably red or blue. Only three are reliably blue. Same source as above. Sorry for the inaccuracy. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

Actually, Macabre, I hadn't noticed that. According to the Pew Center, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island Wisconsin and California are in deep fiscal trouble. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I'll grant you there are more blue than red states here, but not by a wide margin. It's also worth noting that 11 of the 13 worst state unemployment rates are in reliably red states. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Conclusion: factors far more complex that the political party that is in charge of an individual state shape the state's economy and, hence, its fiscal health. Good Night and Good Luck

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

No. I'm on the side of teaching everyone to fish, rather than providing a great raft of entitlements. In the long run, that attracts business rather than repelling it. Have you noticed that the states in fiscal crisis were all reliable blue states in 2008? Last year, the color changed in some of them. California will go bankrupt in the near future. The leadership there is too entrenched in the entitlement mentality. The question is, will Michigan follow? Will it continue to chase jobs out of the state, or will it try and reform and create an environment where companies want to employ our unemployed? You don't create jobs by raising business taxes.

David Briegel

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Ghost, quit picking on these TeaPublicans. They are chosen by Slick and annointed by our local media outlet! Let 'em eat cake!!

Stephen Landes

Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

If employees paid at least some of the cost of unemployment insurance they might be less happy with people who are receiving unemployment for long periods of time and more insistent that these people take a more aggressive role in re-educating, retraining, and, if necessary, relocating. Nothing like seeing your own money being spent for others unemployment for you to become more involved in the problem and in helping to find creative solutions. We have co-pays and partial premiums for health insurance and we encourage all members of a group with group insurance to be healthier, etc. Why not the same approach with unemployment insurance?


Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

Now Cash, there you have it. It wasn't pure electioneering last November allowed by the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission concoction after all. It was so clear a twelve year old apparently noticed. The people were informed by and chose an honest and trustworthy campaign by Sick and The New Gauleiters. Good luck in your &quot;yob&quot; search, Cash!


Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

Let's see $3.9 billion dollars owed to the Federal Government, money that the state needs to pay part of this year. It would seem our US Congress people (House and Senate) might be able to change the law to allow Michigan to wait a year to start the repayment. Otherwise, that money has to come from somewhere. With the $700 Million Dollar increase in Medicaid that the Health Care Reform Act saddled the state with, where do we get more money, realistically and fairly?


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 2:57 a.m.

And the delta this year is $700 million, reducing each year as the loopholes, abatements, and &quot;gifts&quot; expire. With the closing of a large number of special deductions for &quot;favored&quot; businesses, most large businesses will pay more. With more than 750,000 small businesses in the state (including most small family farms) the average reduction in taxes is $3,000 a business.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

chefbrian1 and Audion: The MBT is double taxation on small business owners. Here's how it works: Jenny Z owns a small catering business. She employs ten people and provides modest benefits for them. Those employees pay taxes. On her supplies, she pays sales taxes. On her equipment, she pays personal property taxes. After overhead, the remainder is profit and is passed to her personal taxes where she pays taxes at the Federal and State levels. The MBT then looks at her gross receipts and taxes her again! She may have even made no profit and the tax still applies. Large corporations are taxed more under Gov. Snyder's proposal not less. Those who oppose the MBT reform are partisans, demagogues or uninformed. Feel free to select to which group you belong.

Audion Man

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

chefbrian1 asks a good question. Further, I have yet to see any evidence that giving businesses all this tax relief is going to result in any improvements, other than lining the business owners pockets. Companies have learned that now that Unions have been whipped that they hold all the cards. They can layoff people and simply squeeze more productivity out of the workers they have. Cutting their taxes simply gives them more money. There is no incentive to hire anyone. This is a giveaway and class warfare.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

If we are so broke, why give back 1.8 billion to corporations? Shared sacrifice all around, ah.


Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Finally some leadership in government to bring some balance to the picture. I've had prospective employees turn down jobs because they'd rather ride their 99 weeks of unemployment and not &quot;have the hassle&quot; of a job. It's good to see someone that gets it - that you can't keep taxing small struggling businesses to build a safety net for others - only to drive them out of the state or out of business.


Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

Well no one will need unemployment benefits. Because Ricky Rich is demanding huge tax increases to the elderly and poor to pay for huge tax cuts for his corporate pals. He says this will create jobs..and some people actually believe him or even if they don't they go along with him because the Faux News talking heads tell them to. Thus, everyone will soon be employed. Just watch.


Fri, Apr 1, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Amen Cash. Slick Ricky Rich is aggresively pursuing the Republican agenda of destroying the middle class. Rupurt's Faux news is certainly a favorite tool of theirs. Slick is driving down wages by destroying unions and directly attacking the wages and benefits of public employees, implementing regressive taxation, and eliminating regulations that protect the health and welfare of citizens from the corporate profit objective. He has already done so much damage that it is going to take a really aggressive recall drive to get rid of him before all of our souls are sold to the company store.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.



Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

Now THAT is funny. I hadn't put two and two together until just now. Now I get it, Cash wants the OTHER GUYS taxes raised. Not his. Got it. Check.


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

&quot;Because Ricky Rich is demanding huge tax increases to the elderly and poor&quot; This is a ridiculous statement Cash. The increase to taxing pensions is what 4.35% ? You call that a &quot;huge tax increase&quot;, give all of us a break Cash. Everyone else pays tax on their income, so should retirees who get pensions, it is income pure and simple. You have stated you are a retiree, you just don't want your &quot;ox gored&quot;. You remind me of a scratched 78 rpm record that just keeps repeating the same inaccurate verbage over and over and over. Good Day


Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

&quot;...huge tax cuts for his corporate pals.&quot; Cash: You repeatedly make this false claim. The proposed reforms actually will cost large businesses more. Small business owners who are being doubly taxed under the MBT will be the beneficiaries. I assume you choose to remain uninformed on this as it does not suit the purposes of your argument.