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Politics & Government

The week in review: Michigan's budget, Medicaid expansion, and selling the DIA's artwork

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio file photo
The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives in Lansing. Leaders in the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm are close to an agreement on the budget.

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the highlights of the Michigan’s budget, whether Michigan’s Medicaid program will be getting an expansion, and whether the Detroit Institute of Arts will be forced to sell some of its collection in order to pay off the city’s debts.

Michigan’s budget

The state budget is on time for the third year in a row, but it is not finished.

The new budget is balanced and includes more money for education; however it does not address Medicaid or road repairs, two areas that Governor really wants to see resolved.

“The Democrats are saying this is a bad budget,” Lessenberry says. “The Governor is saying that while it’s technically done, it’s not complete.”

Michigan’s Medicaid expansion

There has been progress in the struggle over whether to expand Michigan’s Medicaid program, but as Lessenberry explains, not all the kinks have been ironed out.

“Instead of having a 48 month cap, which the federal government wouldn’t go for, after 48 months recipients would have to pay some sort of co-pay, allegedly 7%, and nobody knows how this would actually be collected.”

This plan was approved by the House, as almost all the Democrats voted for it. Now it will go out to the state Senate, which is more than a 2-to-1 Republican majority, so it is still facing significant opposition.

The Detroit Institute of Arts

There have been several concerns over whether Detroit would be forced to sell some of its art to help pay for its debts, and recently the state’s attorney general voiced his opinion on the matter.

“He actually had sort of a long opinion, quite a long opinion about why you can’t do this,” explains Lessenberry. “They had a number of interesting arguments, including the fact that the DIA is now funded by all three counties, and so it’s not solely a Detroit asset. And of course, some of this art was donated with the stipulation that it never be sold.”

However, this is only an opinion, and it could be overruled by a court. People seem to be backing away from the idea of selling the art, but Detroit’s deficit will have to be solved one way or another.

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