Monday, April 13, 2009

Six O'Clock News - Get Your Earned Income Tax Credit Edition

  • Do your taxes yet? For those who have procrastinated, here is a reminder about filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit. See if you qualify; it might just put hundreds to thousands of $$ in your hand so you can put it back into the economy. Or, whatever else you might want to use it for. The Lt. Gov. takes the case to the Detroit News -

    The earned income credit is aimed at single people who make less than $12,880 and families with at least two kids earning less than $41,646. But many Michigan residents miss out on the credit, to the tune of more than $300 million a year. That's money that could help not only individuals and families, but also the state economy.

    "We leave plenty of federal dollars on the table," said Lt. Gov. John Cherry, at a recent event highlighting the earned income credit. "We need to think of this as our own economic stimulus. It won't go to Wall Street bankers, it will go right to your neighbor here in Michigan."

    600,000 Michigan residents miss out on this each year. $1.4 billion came to the Michigan economy in '07 from this credit, and that's no chump change. Check at the IRS site to see if you qualify, and don't forget the state credit as well. Happy returns!

  • The ban on tobacco in prisons has gone down without any major complications, and with an estimated 40 to 50 percent of inmates who smoke (well over the general average), if there were going to be problems, that was the place they were going to be. My local ballpark just banned it within the stadium gates, and that wasn't an issue, either. So, what's the holdup with the legislature?

  • More state quarters! A new series that "will mark a national park or other significant historic or geographic location in each state" as well as the territories starts in 2010. Michigan has selected the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as our first choice, with three others listed as backups. Tim Geithner makes the final determination, so perhaps they will all feature major state banks by the time he is done. (joking! sort of.)

  • The turkeys have staged a rebellion in Grand Haven, ganging up on mail carriers and attacking as they leave their trucks. "Aggressive" feral swine are still a growing problem as well. You won't see that in any Pure Michigan commercial.

  • The 2000th federal transportation stimulus project was right here on I-94 in Portage, so we got some WH props today on that. Officials say competition is so heavy for these projects that it is driving down costs by 15% to 20% nationwide, so most are coming in under budget and on time.

  • Wind energy makes the news again in Michigan; one company starts hiring, and more are on the way. Global Wind Systems in Novi will hire 250 people for Michigan's "first manufacturer of delivery-ready, large-scale wind turbines". These are the big boys, 74 tons, for the commercial wind farms. Global does the final assembly. As far as future considerations, Dan Radomski of Detroit's NextEnergy is lining up suppliers with manufacturers to meet the growing demand; in the past 30 months, NextEnergy has landed $370 million in contracts for Michigan manufacturers, with $3 billion more up for bid shortly.

  • And finally, a follow-up on the plea for the Obama administration to put some heat on the bankers when it comes to automaker debt. According to the WSJ, it is happening.

    The federal government is taking an increasingly hard line with the creditors of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, trying to squeeze billions of dollars in concessions out of banks, bondholders and others.

    In both cases, the U.S. is directly and not-so-directly managing negotiations for the car companies as they prepare for what could be Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings.

    Read the whole thing for details. Word comes today that the Treasury is telling GM to prepare for bankruptcy. The governor called this a "game of chicken" on CNBC this afternoon... stay tuned. Looks like this will go down to the wire.