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Michigan’s economy improves, but at a slower pace

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

The long, harsh winter slowed the state’s economic recovery. And it took a bite out of tax revenues, leaving Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature with less money to work with as they put the finishing touches on a new state budget.

A budget conference today looked at all kinds of factors affecting the state’s economy, to come up with a new revenue forecast for lawmakers to use.

There are still a few variables that could affect the state’s short and long-term economic future. New home building is one. The auto industry is another.

George Fulton is a University of Michigan economist. He says a lot also depends on how the Detroit bankruptcy plays 

“It’s still the major city in Michigan and in states, major cities and how they go is important to how the economy as a whole goes,” said Fulton.

Money for Detroit and for roads are among the Snyder administration’s top priorities for the upcoming budget. An election-year tax cut, on the other hand, is looking less likely.

“I think you’ve heard from a lot of people that they have other priorities in the Legislature,” said state budget director John Roberts. “Our priorities right now are definitely transportation and Detroit in the budget.”   

Roberts said the Snyder administration and the Legislature are still on track to wrap up next year’s budget by early June.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.