Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Update

Jobs and Wall Street reform on your President's mind:

Some other stuff to ponder:

  • Michigan revenues for November showed the first increase since January - another hopeful sign that we are starting to see some recovery. Gongwer via MI-Tech has the breakdown on tax collections here, the sales tax taking a healthy jump, maybe showing consumer confidence on the upswing. Caveat to that good news though: We are still below the May revenue estimating conference figures. Pray for a good December.

  • While the usual Granholm bashers are slamming the governor for restoring the $127 per pupil cut, one who never misses a chance to twist the knife opts for honesty on the subject...

    On this one she deserves the benefit of the doubt, Mr. Elsenheimer's opinion not withstanding. It's highly unlikely that her state treasurer and state budget director would be co-conspirators in cooking-up money they didn't know would be there.

    Bob Kleine and Bob Emerson were as surprised as anyone to see the windfall, but they and the governor were up front with the school community noting that come January the $127 cut may stand or it could be reduced.

    Dearborn Public Schools will hold off on teacher layoffs for now - and that is far more important than political calculations, or worrying about how this would appear to right wing editorialists who don't give a damn about anything but cheering on the destruction of the state in an attempt to return the Republicans to power. Bishop's comment? "That revenue was never going to come. She finally gave in to that." You see, for Bishop and his fans, tearing down the governor is far more important than our children. So cold. Repeat after me: "Republicans refuse to fund our schools." And don't stop saying it.

  • More Gongwer love via Dome - reports of crankiness at the Capitol make for an entertaining column. My favorite part was the thought of Cameron Brown and Michelle McManus trying to out wingnut each other over ACORN bills moving through the Senate. Just imagine if they were actually working on something important...

  • After President Obama's trip to Asia where he called for the US to increase exports to the region as a way to create and retain jobs in America, we really do need to start to address trade issues that are preventing that from happening. After Japanese automakers sold half the cars in the U.S. "Cash For Clunkers" plan, it turns out that Japan has excluded foreign automakers from their clunkers program. Few North American-built vehicles appeal to Japanese customers or meet their fuel economy rules, but that's not the point, claim the Big Three. The WH agrees.

  • And more on trade, or the lack thereof - my favorite Congresscritter Mark Schauer joined John Dingell for a resolution on the U.S./Korean Free Trade Agreement that would help open that market for US automakers. Korea imposes an 8 percent tariff on US cars, and the agreement calls for the elimination of "a number of non-tariff barriers to trade" as well. Read more from The Hill. The deal is the biggest trade agreement since NAFTA, so we better get this right the first time.

  • A bunch of green jobs news this week in Michigan. If you missed the blast over on the right, GM announced that they are investing another $336 million in the making of the Volt, retooling the Hamtramck plant right now to begin prototype production in March and regular production in November. Ford is looking for tax credits to bring their battery production to Michigan from Mexico, with the potential of creating 1,000 new jobs. And Recovery Act grants to five Michigan small manufacturers who are making the transition to renewable energy production such as solar and wind turbine parts will bring 713 jobs over the next two years. Clean tech jobs are here - with more certainly to follow. We are gonna own the battery market.

  • A sad fare-thee-well goes out to Sven Gustafson of Mlive's Michigan Job Search blog. Gustafson was one of my main sources for reporting on renewable energy developments and economic stories happening in Michigan - dude, I am going to miss you so much. And Rick Haglund, longtime automotive and business reporter, has left Booth Newspapers - but it looks like he may still blog on Mlive. Hope so.