Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Midweek Linkages

Some of the great and good information wafting through the Tubes of the Internets midway through a gorgeous week-long PureMichigan weather orgy.

Bill Would Require Insurers to Offer "Rape Insurance"
One of the most disgusting laws jammed through our tea-party-run Legislature was the Right to Life petition to prohibit insurers from including any form of abortion coverage as a standard coverage. The ban applied to all health insurance, not just insurance subsidized through the Affordable Care Act.
It would require women to take out an added-cost rider to protect them in the event they became pregnant due to rape or incest. Democrats immediately labeled the extremist position "Rape Insurance."
The problem: insurers don't offer the rider on any individual plans, and only seven of 42 insurers offer the coverage in group plans. As a result most women can't make the decision to protect themselves.
Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and Representative Pam Faris (D-Clio) have introduced a bill requiring health insurance companies to offer the extra coverage. You can bet Right to Life will order its stooges in the Legislature to ignore the bill
.
It's Now Illegal to Kill Wolves in Wyoming
While the Michigan Legislature is hell-bent on killing wolves back down to endangered-species-eligible numbers, the very conservative state of Wyoming is going in the other direction. A judge Tuesday ruled against efforts to make it possible to shoot at many wolves as you wanted, for any reason you wanted.
The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of groups
in 2012 including Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity.

Decades of Budget Cuts Are Hurting Michiganders
Michigan's never-ending reductions in public investments are killing our state. Priorities Michigan held a news conference yesterday to provide examples of the state's "penny wise, pound foolish" exercises in parsimonious budgeting is destroying what used to be a great state.
"Over a decade of disinvestment and budget cuts made by legislators are clearly hurting Michiganders, from increased class sizes in schools making it harder to learn to crumbling roads and bridges that are dangerous to drive on," said Nathan Triplett, the non-profit organization's project director.
Triplett was joined by Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann, who had to deal with our crumbling system of sewers and storm drains on a daily basis; Shannon Nobles of the Michigan League for Public Policy, which focuses on the human toll resulting from budget cuts; and Dearborn school teacher Jane Mazza, who noted the lack of even basic supplies in many schools.
Two examples of how we are pinching too many pennies: Michigan ranks dead last in per capita spending on roads, and tuition at our state's universities rank among the highest in the nation.
In the interests of full disclosure, The Curmudgeon's three-year-old, 43,000-mile car needs $800 in front-end repairs thanks to Michigan potholes. Mrs. Curmudgeon is not amused.

Cadillac Move Demonstrates Futility of Tax-Cutting Strategy
At the heart of the Republican economic dogma is that cutting business taxes and other costs is the key to economic growth.
That dogma is disproven by Michigan's top private-sector employer with a single announcement.
General Motors is moving the headquarters of Cadillac to one of the highest-cost cities in the world: New York City. Cadillac is moving to a city which has

  • higher taxes
  • higher levels of government regulation
  • higher labor costs, and 
  • higher rents 

than just about anywhere you can find.
If you accept the GOP dogma of cost-cutting your way to prosperity, the decision is incomprehensible.
The reality is that business costs are just one factor in business location decisions. GM is setting up shop in the SoHo section of Manhattan, "the heart of a city renowned for establishing trends and setting standards for the global luxury market," according to a GM statement.
For a more effective economic development strategy, re-read the item just above this one.

Marijuana Tax Revenue May Top $3-Billion a Year with Legalization
The estimate comes from the wonky personal finance site NerdWallet, which projects Michigan's tax haul in excess of $100-million annually. The figure does not take into account any savings from reductions in public safety budgets. A 2010 study by Harvard economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron estimated savings somewhere north of $8-billion annually, with Michigan saving about $400-million on prisons, police and courts.

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