The New York Times reports that in the midst of the darkest economic times Michigan has seen in decades, the University of Michigan is spending billions to grow with nearly three million square feet new buildings for science, medicine, health, art, business, sports, food service and student housing under construction and five others in the design stage.
wizardkitten at Blogging for Michigan packed a lot of positive economic stories for Michigan into a post about how Obama’s “Green New Deal” can create jobs, ease global warming and lessen our dependence on foreign oil all at the same time. She links to a nice article about Michigan-based Hemlock Semiconductor and also to related stories in the Freep and LA Times and notes that when added to our burgeoning movie industry, those folks out on the west coast might start to think that we are OK after all. Especially if – as she reports elsewhere – Gov. Granholm is tapped for the post of Queen of England.
Unfortunately, it’s not all (or even mostly) good news. Comerica Bank’s preliminary November Michigan Business Activity Index (28k PDF) fell 4 points to 79 – the lowest level in 16 years. The November reading was down 13 points from November 2007 and 27% from its October 2003 peak of 108. That decline rivals the largest previous peak- to-trough decline of 33% between September 1978 and June 1980.
Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry notes that while Washington doesn’t have to live within its means and can borrow and borrow and borrow – hello $11,000,000,000,000 national debt – state governments are not so lucky (also check out his interview with Chris Christoff, the Freep’s Lansing Bureau chief). Jack notes that every few months, Michigan has a “revenue estimating conference” wherein budget controllers assess expected revenues as compared to budgeted expenditures. When revenues fall short, it’s time for cuts. A round of cuts is expected this month, and it likely won’t be the last. He says that our elected officials can go to their usual strategy of blaming each other (and solving nothing) or steal a page from the past:
Back in the 1970s, Governor Milliken used to convene regular weekly meetings of what he called the â€œquadrant,â€ the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate. They would get together and discuss how best to solve state problems.
Governor Jennifer Granholm should try that. She is in a position to serve as an honest broker. She can’t run again. These are desperate times, and saving the state needs to take top priority.
In a move that seems oddly desperate, General Motors is selling about 200 vehicles from its collection of 1000 vintage GM cars & trucks. They will be sold at Barrett-Jackson’s 2009 Scottsdale Auction and could raise as little as $5 million.
And speaking of roller coasters…
Reports suggest that the Tigers are no closer to filling the roll of closer. Rollercoaster Jones, where are you?