Stateside: Strike economics; history of Michigan cougars; new Baldwin prison; drink your apple pie

Sep 27, 2019


Today on Stateside, how the United Auto Worker's strike of General Motors is hitting workers' household budgets and the broader economy. Plus, the deadline for a state budget is October 1. Will Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the GOP-led state legislature be able to strike a deal before then and avoid a partial government shutdown? 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

The economic impact of UAW strike against GM is beginning to show

  • It is now day 12 of the UAW strike on General Motors. For workers on the picket line, the strike means a huge reduction in income. And that also means that spending is down in communities, and income tax revenue is down for the state. So what does this mean for the state's broader economy? 
  • To understand how the strike is affecting the budgets of rank and file members, we talk to Sean Crawford, an employee at the Flint Truck Assembly plant. And Patrick Anderson of Anderson Economic Group joins us to discuss how and when the strike will start affecting a larger swath of the state. 

Conservation watchdog group mostly satisfied with DNR budget, but some “creative accounting” causes concern

  • The Department of Natural Resources budget has a proposed cut of 9% this fiscal year. Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Representative Shane Hernandez said it was because the department received some one-time funding in the last budget. Do conservation organizations agree with that assessment? 
  • Amy Trotter is the executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. The organization represents some 200 hunting and fishing groups. Trotter discusses what she thinks of the DNR's budget this year, and the challenges hunters face as Chronic Wasting Disease spreads among Michigan deer. 

As cougar sightings increase, a history of the big cat’s presence in Michigan 

  • This summer, the 40th sighting of a cougar in Michigan was confirmed. Until just a few years ago, the Department of Natural Resources was pretty skeptical about cougar sightings. Cody Norton is a DNR Large Carnivore Specialist in the Bear and Wolf program. He talks to us about the cougar's history in Michigan and the increased number of sightings.  

Cheers! It tastes like drinking an apple pie

  • Every year, it seems as though there are more apple, cinnamon apple, and apple pie spirits on the grocer and liquor store shelves. It's starting to be as ubiquitous as pumpkin spice everything come fall. Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tasting used an apple pie flavored moonshine to mix up a drink based on a whiskey sour that she says is like drinking America's favorite desert. 

Private prison for immigrants will soon open in Northern Michigan

  • Next week, a private prison will open in northern Michigan to house immigrants convicted of crimes. Critics say these privately-run prisons are harmful to inmates. And they claim prison operator GEO Group is taking advantage of a desperate community. But IPR’s Taylor Wizner reports that many residents do support the correctional facility.


Lake County business leader says most in region are hopeful new private prison brings an economic boost 


  • A private prison in Baldwin that was closed in 2017 is expected to reopen next week. The private prison, funded by GEO Group, will house immigrants convicted of crimes. The contract lasts for 10 years. 
  • LeeAnn Russell is the president of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce. She talks with us about the economic benefits the prison will bring to the community, and how they will handle potential backlash from those opposed to current immigration policies. 
  • We reached out to GEO Group to join us to discuss the new prison. They declined our request.

Roundup: With a budget deadline just days away, Whitmer and GOP leaders might be at an impasse 

  • The State of Michigan is days away from its budget deadline. If it’s not approved, Michigan could move into a partial government shutdown. Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the budget bills she’s been sent by the legislature are a mess. So how likely is a deal before Tuesday? We discuss with our Friday political commentators.
  • TJ Bucholz is president of Vanguard Public Affairs, a progressive political strategy firm. Ken Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants, and former Republican Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate.

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