Midwest Memo: Fracking In Michigan, Walker’s Jobs Problem And Water Rules In Ohio

Emergency Managers on watch A group opposed to Michigan’s emergency manager law appears to have gotten enough signatures to put the law to a voter referendum.

Jobs, jobs, jobs The Christian Science Monitor looks at one major obstacle for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in his recall election: Over the last 12 months, Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the country.

Border war A Chicago-based furniture maker is moving to northern Indiana, according to the Chicago Tribune. The paper says Selected Furniture will get a $425,000 tax credit from Indiana to make the move.

Water rules Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports the Ohio House has approved new legislation to limit the amount of water companies can take out of Lake Erie. It’s Ohio’s second attempt at such legislation. Other Great Lakes states have approved similar rules.

Fracking in MIchigan Partner station Michigan Radio reports that the debate over “fracking” has arrived in Lansing.

Midwest Memo: Rahm’s In Charge, Ohio Steel Bounces Back And We’re Hosting A Call-In Show

Tune in Today at 3 p.m. ET/2p.m CT, Changing Gears is hosting a live call in show on “Hidden Assets” of the Midwest economy. Michigan governor Rick Snyder will be joining us for the show, and we’ll have a live chat here at changinggears.info.

Rahm in charge Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel won approval from City Council yesterday to move ahead with his $7.2 billion infrastructure plan. The vote wasn’t even close, which prompted the Chicago Tribune to say the mayor is “firmly in control.”

Mo’ money, mo’ physics Officials at Michigan State University are getting some good news. The state’s Senate delegation says MSU’s planned Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will get an extra $8 million in federal funds. The facility is expected to be a leader in the study of particle physics. The extra $8 million still puts the facility $25 million below what MSU leaders had hoped for from the government.

Real steel The New York Times reports on $1.5 billion worth of investment in Ohio’s steel industry. After a painful recession, the Times says Ohio’s still industry is bouncing back, thanks to the state’s booming natural gas market and increased demand for new vehicles.

Midwest Memo: GE Jobs, Nobel Laureates, Obama Campaign, CG Events

GE Adds Jobs, Faces Protestors: General Electric said Tuesday it is adding 300 jobs in Van Buren Township, Mich., at an advanced engineering center that it announced in 2009. That’s on top of 850 jobs for which the company is still hiring. But GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt faced protests at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in Detroit. Members of the 99% Spring movement are planning to protest Immelt’s pay and other issues at GE’s annual shareholders meeting, which will be held in Detroit on Wednesday. Read our coverage of the 99% Spring here

Nobel Laureates In Chicago: Former presidents, activists and actors are in Chicago for a three day meeting of the world’s Nobel Laureates. It’s one of the high-profile efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to stake Chicago’s claim as a world-class city. On Monday, students in a Chicago classroom got a visit from former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, one of many visits paid by the laureates to Chicago schools.

Obama Campaign Blankets Ohio: The president was just at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio last week, talking about job retraining. Now, Barack Obama’s campaign plans to blanket the state in coming weeks, with the auto bailout as a main topic. Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers, says the number of auto workers in Ohio has increased from 105,000 to 120,000 since the administration rescued General Motors and Chrysler. However, Ohio’s biggest automotive employer is Honda, which has announced a series of new investments in the state.

Changing Gears Live Tomorrow: Make sure to mark your calendars tomorrow for a Changing Gears live call-in show and chat. It’s at 3 pm ET/2 pm CT. Read more here.

Midwest Memo: Mining Marijuana, A Gubernatorial Spat And To Export, Or Not To Export?

Underground marijuana farm The Detroit Free Press was granted “exclusive access” to a former mine in the Upper Peninsula where one company wants to grow enough medical marijuana to serve 131,000 Michigan residents. The marijuana would be grown a mile underground.

Whose economy is better? The Chicago Sun-Times tries to settle a debate between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The two governors traded insults last week over which state is doing a better job of attracting businesses. The Sun-Times says Illinois is the winner on most points.

Peaceful place Nine Nobel Peace Prize winners will be in Chicago this week for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Natural gas Crain’s Cleveland Business considers the possibilities for exporting liquid natural gas made in Ohio. Exporting the fuel could lead to higher prices in the U.S., but those prices would help Ohio’s booming natural gas industry.

The Palisades problem NPR looks at the spotty safety record at the Palisades nuclear plant in Southwest Michigan. The story is reported by Lindsey Smith, of partner station Michigan Radio.

 

Midwest Memo: Medicaid Cuts In Illinois, Job Losses In Wisconsin And Ohio Sues BP

A plan for Medicaid Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has a $2.7 billion plan to keep the state’s Medicaid program solvent. According to partner station WBEZ, the plan makes deep cuts in coverage and eligibility, and raises revenue by increasing the state’s cigarette tax.

Losing jobs Wisconsin lost 4,300 jobs in March. That could have an effect one other important job: Scott Walker’s. The Governor is facing a tough recall campaign, and the state is nowhere near reaching the 250,000 new jobs he promised by the end of his term.

Gaining jobs Illinois added 9,100 jobs in March, and the state unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

BP lawsuit Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing BP for $100 million, according to partner station WCPN Ideastream. DeWine says BP is responsible for a drop in its stock price after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Ohio pension system was an investor in BP at the time.

Starting over WCPN Ideastream also talks to people in their 50s, who are starting a career all over again.

Brain gain The University of Michigan will spend $163 million to build the state’s first hospital focused on neuroscience, according to the Detroit News.

Midwest Memo: Obama Stumps, Emanuel Delays And Michigan Teaches Online

Stumping President Obama was in the Midwest yesterday. He talked about job training in Ohio, according to partner station WCPN Ideastream. At a stop in Dearborn, Mich., the president emphasized the importance of “making things,” according to Michigan Radio.

Delayed, not defeated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed to a six day delay on a vote for his $7.2 billion infrastructure plan, after getting more pushback than expected from City Council. The Chicago Tribune says the Mayor will probably still get approval, and “the brief nature of the pause suggested the maneuver was primarily tactical and designed to project the appearance of compromise.”

Fewer teachers  The number of school teachers in Wisconsin dropped 2.3 percent last year, according to the AP. Despite the cuts, Gov. Scotte Walker’s spokesperson says his education reforms are working.

Internet instruction The University of Michigan is one of only three universities in the country that will try out a new, more interactive online learning program, according to Michigan Radio. The program was developed at Stanford.

Paying for pensions Chicago teachers are pushing to get support from the state to fund their pension plan. Partner station WBEZ reports that many public employee pension accounts in Illinois are underfunded.

Midwest Memo: A Vote On Chicago’s Infrastructure Plan And Moviemakers Flock To Ohio But Avoid Michigan

Up for a vote Today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces “his biggest City Council meeting to date,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The Council is scheduled to vote on Emanuel’s $7.2 infrastructure plan. A committee narrowly recommended approval at a meeting on Monday.

Tax bump Illinois income tax collections jumped almost 32 percent last year, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The paper reports it was the second-highest jump in income tax collections in the country.

Making movies in Ohio Ohio legislators are considering a plan to double the cap on film industry tax incentives, from a $10 million cap on incentives to $20 million. A new study says for every dollar spent on Ohio’s incentives, $1.20 comes back to the state, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Meanwhile in Michigan … The Detroit Free Press reports Michigan’s scaled back film tax incentives plan is attracting far fewer projects. Just nine films applied for the new grants in the first quarter of the year. Those numbers are behind the pace set by 69 applications in the first half of last year.

Getting rid of a tax Partner station Michigan Radio reports Republican lawmakers are looking to phase out the state’s tax on industrial property. People behind the push say the tax drives away investment. Local leaders say the plan won’t fully replace the revenue that’s lost of the taxes go away.

Midwest Memo: Recall Race Ramps Up, Wage Gap Persists And Michigan Considers Less Oversight

Recall fight The Wall Street Journal reports that what started out as a fight over collective bargaining has grown into a “high-stakes, high-dollar referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker and central elements of his party’s fiscal agenda.” And a new poll shows Walker has a slim lead in the June recall race.

Wage gap MLive reports on a new report that finds a persistent wage gap between men and women in America. Michigan has the 10th highest gap of all states, with women there making only 74 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Indiana has the 6th highest gap. There, women make 28 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Not ready for college About 30 percent of Indiana students who enter college have to take “remedial” classes once they get there, according to a new report.

Rail expansion Norfolk Southern is planning a $160 million expansion of its rail yards in Bellevue, Ohio. The expansion is expected to create 275 jobs according to the AP.

Lower taxes The Dayton Daily News examines Ohio income taxes and finds that rates are at their lowest level in 30 years.

You’re on your own Michigan’s Office of Regulatory Reinvention is recommending that the state end oversight for 18 occupations and 9 boards. Partner station Michigan Radio has a full list of the recommendations.

Midwest Memo: No Oversight In Infrastructure Plan, Stimulus Funds To Closed Schools And Casino Competition

Infrastructure plan, examined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $7.2 billion infrastructure plan gets a hearing today at the City Council. The Chicago Tribune reports the plan would give a board of financiers the ability to approve multi-million dollar deals with almost no oversight. Some aren’t happy with the idea.

Stimulating failure The Dayton Daily News reports that nearly $5 million in federal stimulus funding went to charter schools in Ohio that have since closed their doors. Millions more went to schools that were accused of mishandling funds in the past, according to the paper.

Casino competition Indiana is expecting to lose $100 million in state revenue as new casinos open in Ohio. The new Ohio casinos are expected to take away customers from Indiana’s casinos according to the Herald Bulletin.

Empty buildings, full of danger The Detroit Free Press looks at the harrowing walk to school for many of Detroit’s children. The Freep has a twopart series at the dangers children face from the 33,000 vacant buildings near Detroit schools.

Parking lawsuit A deal to privatize four city-owned parking garages in downtown Chicago has led to a $200 million lawsuit, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Banking on land banks Partner station WCPN Ideastream says more Ohio counties are setting up land banks to deal with the problem of vacant property.

Midwest Memo: Tracking Tax Incentives, Rebounding RVs And Foreclosure Numbers

Not tracking incentives Few states are doing a good job tracking their business tax incentives. That’s according to a new report from the Pew Center on the States. The AP has a writeup. Among Midwest states, Pew says Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri are “leading the way.” Michigan and Ohio have “mixed results.” And Illinois and Indiana “trail behind.” The full report is here.

Revved up for RVs PBS Newshour reports on the rebounding RV industry in Indiana. The town of Elkhart was struggling just a few years ago because of a downturn in RV sales. Elkhart turned to electric vehicle maker Think to help boost jobs. Now, Think is in bankruptcy, and the RV companies are hiring again.

Now, on to the budget Detroit mayor Dave Bing will present his budget plan to city council this morning. It will be the last budget proposal from the mayor before a new financial advisory team takes over the city’s finances.

In full bloom A report from Michigan State University says the state’s agricultural sector grew dramatically during the recession. Partner station Michigan Radio has the details of the report, which claims agriculture now contributes $91.4 billion to the state economy.

Foreclosures New foreclosure numbers are out from RealtyTrac. The Midwest still has 7 states in the top 20 for highest foreclosure rate.