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: Gas Fuels Manufacturing Jobs, Preschool Gets Cut And Blagojevich’s Fiscal Legacy

Gassed up The New York Times reports that the boom in natural gas in the United States could lead to a ‘Manufacturing Renaissance’ in the country. The natural gas expansion is due mainly to the new, controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “tracking.”

Preschool not a priority Ohio saw a big drop in public preschool enrollment over the past decade, and no other state cut more money from its preschool program during that time, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The numbers come from a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The report also has some negative news for Indiana and Illinois.

Still feeling it Forbes takes a look at the Rod Blagojevich legacy on fiscal issues in Ilinois, and tells the story of how the former governor could be to blame for a proposed rate hike from the Chicago Transit Authority.

Arsenal of research The U.S. Army is opening a new $60 million lab in the Detroit suburb of Warren. WDIV TV takes a tour of the new facility.

Nom nom nom Wisconsin will get three new cheese plants.

Midwest Memo: Ohio Loses Out, Big Money For The Recall And Indiana Makes A Whoopsie

Wah Wah Shell has chosen Pittsburg for a new $2 billion plant to process natural gas. The Wall Street Journal says the plant is expected to create thousands of jobs. Ohio leaders were hoping the plant would be built in their state.

Whoopsie Two weeks ago, a state press release in Indiana promoted the MBC Group as an example how the state’s new Right to Work law is creating jobs. One problem: the president of the MBC Group says Right to Work played no role in his company’s decision to expand.

Big money The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the “staggering” amount of money being spent on the Scott Walker recall campaign. The amount is more than double the amount previously spent on any statewide campaign in Wisconsin.

Calling all angels The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that angel investing in Wisconsin reached over $61 million last year.

Immigrant entrepreneurs Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a series of workshops to help immigrants launch small businesses.

Primed for the primary Partner station WBEZ reports that Newt Gingrich was in Illinois yesterday. Other candidates will be in the state today, as the Illinois primary race gets going.

Damage done It’s only property A tornado ripped through the small Southeast Michigan village of Dexter yesterday. No one was hurt.

A Republican Governor’s Robin Hood Proposal: Take From Oil Companies, Give To Taxpayers

A hydraulic fracturing operation near Malvern, Ohio. Credit: flickr user Chiot's Run.

A “Mid-biennium Review” sounds like just about the least exciting thing in the world.

But Ohio governor John Kasich used his “Mid-biennium” budget talk yesterday for a ground-shaking announcement. Among a number of proposals unveiled, the governor announced new taxes for the many companies that are trying to extract natural gas and oil from Ohio shale.

If you haven’t heard by now, Ohio is sitting on an oil and gas bonanza. Up until a few years ago, no one could get at it, because it’s locked away in Ohio’s shale formations. But because of a new drilling procedure you’ve probably heard of called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” all that gas and oil is now available.

As our own Dan Bobkoff reported in December, there is no shortage of hype about the possibilites for fracking in Ohio. The industry says it will create, or sustain 200,000 jobs. $200 billion could be invested over the next twenty years.

Continue reading “A Republican Governor’s Robin Hood Proposal: Take From Oil Companies, Give To Taxpayers”

Midwest Memo: Tax, Baby Tax, Lollapalooza And A “War Of Words” In Detroit

Fracking taxes Ohio governor John Kasich unveiled a plan yesterday that would increase taxes, and regulations, on the growing number of oil and gas drilling projects in the state. BusinessWeek says the higher taxes would raise $1 billion in revenue by 2016. Partner station WCPN Ideastream says the new revenue will offset an income tax cut for Ohioans.

Lot o’ Lollapaloozas The Chicago Park District signed a new nine-year agreement with organizers of the Lollapalooza music festival, according to the Chicago Tribune. One park official says the deal will give the city a $1 billion boost over the next decade. But ticket prices for music fans will probably be going up.

No consent Tuesday, the State of Michigan offered leaders in Detroit a consent agreement to allow a new panel to solve the city’s budget crisis. Now, the Detroit Free Press reports the city is working on a counter-proposal, while the Associated Press says a “war of words” has broken out between the mayor and the governor.

Starting up startups The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Chicago’s growing scene for startups. But the paper finds Chicago still has a long way to go to compete with New York or Silicon Valley for startup money.

Keeping up with foreclosures Chicago foreclosure filings spiked upward in February, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Columbus Dispatch says filings were also up in Ohio, though they’re down quite a bit compared to a year ago. And partner station Michigan Radio reports foreclosure filings were down in Michigan for the month.

Prison time Rod Blagojevich reports to prison today. Partner station WBEZ has the story.

Midwest Memo: Ohio’s $900 Million Gas Plant, Ill. Primary And A Mining Bill That Won’t Quit

Gassed up Ohio will get a new $900 million natural gas processing plant, as the state’s boom in shale-gas drilling continues.

You’re next, Illinois Mitt Romney’s poor showing in Alabama and Missisippi seems to have heightened the importance of next week’s primary in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports the Romney campaign just bought another $1.35 million in ads in the Chicago market.

Politics behind consent Yesterday was a big day in the city of Detroit, as Michigan governor Rick Snyder released a proposed consent agreement to handle the city’s budget crisis. Partner station Michigan Radio takes a look at the politics behind the proposal.

Mining a new strategy Even though a controversial piece of legislation to allow mining in northern Wisconsin failed to get enough votes, and the company that wanted the mine has pulled out, some state Republicans are still fighting for the cause.

Ohio gets the bronze The Labor Department reports that Ohio had the third-largest increase in jobs in January. Only New York and Texas saw more jobs created in the first month of the year.

Camera-ready Partner station WBEZ looks into Chicago’s volatile, but growing film industry.

Midwest Memo: Michigan Pays Up For Movie Studio, Fracking With Indiana’s Plans And Chicago Corruption

On the hook The State of Michigan paid $420,000 to the bondholders of a Pontiac movie studio, according to The Detroit News. The studio couldn’t make the payment on its own, and, under an agreement with Governor Jennifer Granholm, the bonds are guaranteed by the state. But with the cutback in state incentives for filmmaking, no projects have filmed at the studio since December.

Santorum’s surge Rick Santorum is not only leading Mitt Romney in Romney’s home statea new poll shows Santorum is ahead in Ohio as well.

The Fracking Factor A plan to use coal to make natural gas in Indiana may be a bust, according to the Indianapolis Star. A utility executive in Indiana says the boom in shale-gas production, or “fracking” has brought down the cost of natural gas, and the coal-to-gas plan no longer makes sense. Governor Mitch Daniels had touted the coal-to-gas plant as a way to help consumers and boost the economy in Southern Indiana.

Boeing’s big order Chicago-based Boeing has finalized the details of the largest order in its history.

Kohl’s says no to downtown The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that retailer Kohl’s has decided against building a new company headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

Cincinnati jobs Ohio Governor John Kasich announced yesterday that two new companies are moving to the Cincinnati area.

We’re shocked – shocked! A former city alderman, turned political science professor says he’s done the calculations and Chicago is, in fact, the most corrupt city in the country.

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

[display_podcast]

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.”