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In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Brother O'Mara
Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Presidential Candidates Turn Focus on Michigan

After Rick Santorum’s sweep of last night’s primary and caucuses in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, the candidates running to become the next Republican presidential nominee are setting their sights on Michigan. The state holds the nation’s next primary, along with Arizona, on February 28th (Maine holds its caucus this Saturday). Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced that the former Massachusetts Governor will speak at Ford Field in Detroit four days before the primary and Santorum told a cable TV news program this morning that his campaign will “plant our flag” in the mitten-state. Meanwhile, President Obama was in Michigan on January 27th speaking about college affordability on the University of Michigan campus.

Foreclosure Settlement

Michigan is expected to reap a half billion dollars from a settlement between 40 states and five of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, Steve Carmody reports. From Carmody:

Michigan has been among the hardest hit states in the foreclosure crisis. The settlement will help homeowners who were in foreclosure between 2008 and 2011. Bank of America, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup are the banks in the settlement. The deal will settle complaints the mortgage lenders wrongly foreclosed on borrowers and forged documents. Part of the deal involves helping homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth, to refinance their mortgages. The exact size of the national settlement is unclear.

Increased Sales Tax?

Michigan voters may soon decide whether the state should scrap the nineteen-cents-per-gallon tax on gas at the pump in favor of a sales tax increase of 1 percent. “The change would help generate more money for transportation funding. A proposal to put the question to voters is gaining momentum with some legislative leaders. That change would require a constitutional amendment and put the question to voters on the ballot. Republican state Senator Howard Walker sponsored the measure. He said if taxpayers are asked to pay more to fix the state’s roads, they should have a voice,” Laura Weber reports. Governor Snyder says the state needs more than one billion dollars in additional transportation funding to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.