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Maybe another right-to-work state, Detroit's new budget and more money for skills training

The realities of a world economy aren't just being felt at big companies like General Motors or Ford. Small businesses are feeling the strain of foreign competition.
Author Joel Kotkin says Michigan needs more mid-level workers, like welders, plumbers, machinists and office workers.

This week, Jack and Emily talk about another state considering a right-to-work law, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s budget proposal and a new grant to boost skills training in Michigan.


State lawmakers say Michigan’s right-to-work laws have set the stage for another state to follow suit.

Protestors gathered at Wisconsin’s state capitol Tuesday, as lawmakers there held a public hearing on a right-to-work bill in that state.

Lessenberry said Michigan may have inspired some of those legislators, but he’s skeptical of just how much.

“These people in Wisconsin want to do it for their own Wisconsin reasons,” he said.

The Wisconsin Senate will take up its own right-to-work bill Wednesday afternoon.

Budget address

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan yesterday delivered a “conservative” $1.1 billion budget proposal, his first since the city’s exit from bankruptcy.

Duggan said current revenues are actually higher than forecasted in the budget, but the city can’t assume that trend will continue.

Lessenberry said budgeting for Detroit is like “threading a needle.”

“To stay solvent, to stay under the plan of adjustment, it’s a very delicate balance that any economic downturn could threaten,” Lessenberry said.

Skills training

Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday announced $50 million in funding for qualifying community colleges to put toward new technology and equipment.

It’s all part of the governor’s push to make Michigan a leader when it comes to career and technical training. The new grant will come from bond sales.

Lessenberry said he doesn’t see a lot of controversy when it comes to this movement.

“There’s a pretty broad consensus that support for [technical training] programs is a good thing,” he said. “It’s a bi-partisan consensus to the extent we have one,” he said.

-Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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