Snyder and Duggan look at the bright side

Feb 14, 2015

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered a rousing State of the City address this week. Are things really looking up for Detroit?
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan felt a bit like a Monty-Python sketch this week as the Snyder administration looked on the bright side of a gaping budget hole and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City oozed optimism. Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clarke discuss whether things really are as bright as they say or if dark clouds are looming.

Snyder’s budget address

Governor Snyder unveiled the state budget proposal this week, and it looks likes Michigan is facing an $800 million shortfall over the next two years.

That’s due in large part to automakers cashing in on state tax credits they received during the Great Recession.

Snyder’s administration said the deficit is actually a positive sign that the economy is recovering, but Lessenberry wonders why they didn’t see it coming.

“The auto recovery has been building for some years now,” he said. “You could at least make the argument that the administration and Legislature are guilty of poor planning."

Democrat response

Michigan Democrats were quick to respond to the governor’s budget proposal, saying it doesn’t put enough money into education.

Still, there were things for Democrats to like. Snyder emphasized pre-K education as well as improving access to pediatric dental care.

Lessenberry thinks Democratic State Senator Coleman Young best summed up the party’s perspective on the budget as “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

“The ugly part for Democrats is they have no power,” Lessenberry said. “Especially in the Senate.”

Warm fuzzies in Detroit

In his State of the City address this week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city’s first balanced budget in over a decade, earning one of the evening’s many rounds of applause.

In an earlier essay, Lessenberry wrote that the mayor “riveted his town for nearly an hour…glowing with infectious, can-do optimism.”

After everything Detroit’s been through, are things really that good? Lessenberry thinks there’s reason for cautious optimism.

“People see more street lights going in, they see more demolitions happening, and they see a mayor who is very devoted to the city and having a good time doing it,” he said.

-Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom