Midwest Memo: Still No Deal In Detroit, Indiana’s Welfare Woes And Ohio Gas Stats

Still no deal Partner station Michigan Radio reports the Detroit City Council decided not to vote last night on a proposed consent agreement with the state to resolve the city’s financial crisis. A judge has blocked any agreement from going forward. Michigan governor Rick Snyder is appealing that decision. If no deal is reached by the end of the day tomorrow, Detroit will likely face a takeover by an emergency manager.

Indiana in court The state of Indiana is facing off in court with IBM over who was at fault when a $1.4 billion deal to handle the state’s welfare caseload went bad. IBM says the state broke off the deal because of budget problems. A lawyer for the state says IBM failed to meet its obligations, according to the Associated Press. The Department of Labor lists Indiana as the worst state in the nation when it comes to improper payments for welfare assistance. The DoL says Indiana has a 44% improper payment rate. The state disputes that number.

Groupon’s bad week It’s been a rough couple of days for Chicago-based Groupon. The coupon website was forced to revise its previous financial statements, and admit it has “material weakness” in its accounting practices. The SEC is reportedly looking into the problems. And now, the Chicago Tribune says a shareholder has filed a class action lawsuit.

A big fat check Whirlpool will write the state of Indiana an $800,000 check, after deciding to move jobs out of the state.

2.6 billion cubic feet That’s how much natural gas Chesapeake Energy pumped from Ohio shale formations last year, according to BusinessWeek.

The Saudi Arabia of the Midwest? Ohio Prepares for Natural Gas Future

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Natural gas extracted from shale rock, some say, is the most positive development in the nation’s energy outlook in 50 years.  Ohio sits atop some of the largest deposits.

Big name oil and gas companies are flocking to the Buckeye State in a frenzy of preparation for “fracking” – that’s the innovative and controversial technology used to drill through and “fracture” the shale.  It un-traps natural gas that lies within large layers of rock.

Ohio John Kasich is one of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders, saying it could be a real “game changer” for the state’s economy.  This week he also said tough, new regulations are needed to make sure “fracking” doesn’t harm the environment.  From our Changing Gears project, Mhari Saito and Dan Bobkoff have this overview on the new “natural gas economy.”