Michigan Policast for March 25, 2019

Walt gets us rolling with a conversation on the Democratic primaries.  We have soundbites, we have questions, we have theories.  Here are the links:

Presidential Approval Ratings — Donald Trump



Segment two is a look at the 2019 ALICE in Michigan.  This is an economic study by the Michigan Association of United Ways.  Was the “Michigan Comeback” really a comeback?  Was Governor Snyder really the “Comeback Kid?”  Decide for yourself by downloading the report.


Download the 2019 ALICE in Michigan report here for information on unemployment, underemployment, demographics, regional data, and more.


Study: More Michiganders struggle to afford basic needs

Our #FTDR report is the subject of segment three.


This week Walt talks to Dr. Charles Ballard, Professor of economics and director of State of the State Survey at MSU.

Michigan Policast for March 18, 2019

Amy kicks off our show this week with the latest on impeachment, Christine gives the rundown on AG Nessel, and Walt gets into campaign finance with Elissa Slotkin and Craig Mauger, of
Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Segment 1:  Amy offers the pros and cons of impeachment

Is Speaker Nancy Pelosi playing the long game on Trump and #impeachment? Click To Tweet

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Michigan Policast for March 11, 2019

Walt and Christine welcome Amy back to the show.

  • The show kicks off with a conversation around the cost to #FTDR.  How much do we really need?  What does the business community think?
  • Amy takes on the latest public approval ratings in Michigan, for President Trump, Governor Whitmer, and the state of things in general.
  • Walt runs through HR-1.  What’s in it and why should the House pass a bill that’s DOA in the Senate?
  • Hank Mayers from Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections joins the show
'HR-1 shows the country what the Democrats are willing to fight for: fair and accessible elections where every vote counts.' ~@christinebarryClick To Tweet


Segment 1 – FTDR

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Michigan Policast special edition on Governor Whitmer’s budget proposal.  March 6, 2019

In this special edition of the Michigan Policast, Walt talks to former Lieutenant Governor John D Cherry.

'In her budget presentation, @govwhitmer was laying down her markers. This is her opening bid, the start of negotiations.' ~ Former LG John D Cherry Click To Tweet

Listen to this episode to hear:

  • Why it matters that Governor Whitmer is still new to the office
  • How the budget demonstrates the changing priorities between Governor Whitmer and her predecessor Rick Snyder
  • Why this opening bid is important and why the Republican response is encouraging
  • Why the gas tax is a clean, simple solution.  A revenue mix is the product of negotiations
  • What really concerns the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Association
  • Why some new taxes are just previous taxes being put back into place in order to pay for earlier cuts
  • How too many compromises keeps the job from getting done
  • What the lottery really means to Michigan state revenue
  • What the public really wants from the state government regarding #FTDR
'We have a $2 billion problem. Make no mistake, the problem is that big. We wanted a clean, simple suggestion that the legislature can work with.' Fmr LG John D Cherry, Michigan Consensus Policy ProjectClick To Tweet



Michigan Policast for Monday, March 4, 2019

Walt and Christine kick off the podcast with a conversation on the #FTDR principles from Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

It will take a lot of money and hard work to #FTDR. In this episode we talk about 5 FTDR principles put out by Mackinac Center a few years ago. Some are bad, some are just unrealistic. Click To Tweet

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Michigan Policast for Monday, February 25, 2019

Governor Whitmer signs a new executive order to move forward on clean water, the Senate and SCOTUS are stupidly skewed toward the conservative minority in this country, and Eric Freedman discusses the future of reporting on Michigan policy and government.

  • Christine and Walt start with the new EO that remakes the DEQ into EGLE.  Will the GOP kill this one too, or can we please get to work now?
  • There are some big themes in the Democratic Presidential primary.  How will the winner get anything done?  We discuss the Senate imbalance, the filibuster, and expanding the SCOTUS.
  • The @MIGOP convention sounds like a giant obstruction-fest.
'It doesn't bother me that journalism will be different in the future, but it bothers me that hedge funds with no interest in journalism come in and take over the press.' ~Eric Freedman, MSU Journalism Dept.Click To Tweet


Eric Freedman

Our guest is Michigan State University journalism professor Eric Freedman. As a reporter at the Detroit News, Freedman won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting which uncovered a huge embezzlement scandal at the state House of Representatives Fiscal Agency.

Governor Whitmer executive order

Senate, filibuster, and SCOTUS

Michigan GOP Convention:

Republicans need to come to terms with Climate Change or the next generation will leave them behind.Click To Tweet
The action of the Michigan Legislature in overturning @GretchenWhitmer EO is virtually unprecedented, and it was done by the @mi_republicans and the @MISenate to preserve polluter panels Click To Tweet

Michigan Policast for Monday, February 18, 2019

Governor Whitmer’s first State of the State focused on bipartisanship and opportunity, but it was met with a lukewarm response by the Republicans.

  • The Republicans don’t have to like everything, but why no love for the women?
  • Governor established her credibility with this State of the State.  Can reasonable people agree that she knows the lawmakers’ jobs better than many of the lawmakers do?
  • No more half-baked solutions, we just can’t afford it.
  • Would Mike Shirkey have looked better in a different color suit?  We think he should smile more.



Christine cusses at 13:38.  It’s this word that starts with a B.  We promise that it has educational value in this context.

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Michigan Policast for Monday, February 11, 2019

Republicans push back on Governor Whitmer’s environmental protection initiatives, the clock is ticking on the 2020 ballot initiatives, and Bob Emerson talks about how to fund our road repairs.

  • Walt and Christine kick off the show with some background on Governor Whitmer’s environmental protection initiative and why the Republicans are trying to kill it.
  • Walt was one of the early participants in the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative to eliminate gerrymandering in Michigan.  He runs through the 2020 ballot initiatives and the challenges facing these grassroots efforts.
Remember those polluter panels in charge of Michigan's DEQ permit approvals? @GretchenWhitmer gets rid of them, but @mi_republicans demands they be restored. Click To Tweet

Fix the Damn Roads report: a bipartisan group of government elders comes up with a plan to pay for Michigan’s road repairs.  The group consists of former House Speaker Raul Hillegonds (R), former Senate Republican Leader Ken Sikkema, former Democratic Lt Governor John Cherry, and former House Democratic Leader Bob Emerson, who also served as State Budget Director.  Walt talks to Emerson about the group’s efforts and recommendations.

Our hearts are heavy for John Dingell.

Resources for this week:

We will never forget @JohnDingell 's many contributions to our quality of life in Michigan and throughout the US. July 8, 1926 - February 7, 2019Click To Tweet


Michigan Policast for Monday, February 4 2019

Former MDP chair Brandon Dillon says the lessons learned in 2016 and 2018 will shape the party’s gameplay for 2020, and also says Gretchen Whitmer may have to go around the Legislature to “fix the damn roads”

And a whole lot more …

  • Walt and Christine talk about Governor Whitmer’s first big test:  the dangerous polar vortex that brought freezing temps to the state.  What did it mean, how did she do, and how did it compare to Governor Snyder’s leadership during times of emergency?
  • A lot of folks thought we were going to see a settlement in the federal lawsuit over Michigan’s gerrymandered districts, but instead, we’re going to court.
  • Lavora Barnes takes over as the Chair of the MDP.

Fix the Damn Roads report: Just how bad are Michigan roads, and why?

Congratulations to @LavoraBarnes on being elected to MDP party chair! @michigandems Click To Tweet

Resources for this week:

Former @MichiganDems Chair @BrandonDillon75 thinks @gretchenwhitmer may have to go around the Michigan legislature to Fix the Damn Roads. Find out why on this week's @MiPolicast Click To Tweet


This show covers big money, income equality, and the bliss of ignorance.

I start with data from a report called Income Inequality by State, and it ain’t pretty.  Some startling facts about Michigan:

  • We’re the 15th most unequal state when it comes to income
  • The top 1 percent in Michigan took home 25 times more than the bottom 99 percent in 2012
  • 1% took 82% of income growth in MIchigan since 2009 (recovery from great recession)
  • In four states (Nevada, Wyoming, Michigan, and Alaska), only the top 1 percent experienced rising incomes between 1979 and 2007, and the average income of the bottom 99 percent fell.

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