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Peter Luke:
Eye on the Capitol

Insights into the inside workings of Michigan's state government from a veteran newspaper correspondent.

Archived columns

Snyder needs to tell Legislature that budget is far from finished

A governor working in a politically divided government often has no choice but to concede some measure of power to a legislative chamber controlled by the opposition party. When government is unified, a governor has two choices in pursuit of policy aims: […]

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What does Michigan have to do to get a little love?

So Michigan cuts business taxes by $2.4 billion, stages a political war (because that’s apparently what’s been lacking) that favors business over labor, more than balances the state budget and finally takes ownership of arguably its biggest challenge — which is its […]

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Pursuit of auto coverage cap insures problems for legislators

If you and your family are in a major auto accident, do you care what the hospital billed the auto insurer for your child’s neurosurgery? Didn’t think so. Are you reassured that for roughly $8 a month per family member — if […]

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Worldview embodied by Agema, Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban headed for history’s trash heap

The ravings on Dave Agema’s Facebook page only seek to justify discrimination, a losing proposition given the rapid shift in public attitudes in favor of gay rights. For the continued licensing of that discrimination in this state, however, you only have to […]

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Legislative Republicans worry more about ’14 primaries than in helping Snyder lead

When they hit the House floor for a vote this month, it appears doubtful that budget bills for the departments of Community Health and Transportation will contain new funding for expanding Medicaid or highway construction. Gov. Rick Snyder asked for both in […]

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Detroit has to diet to survive

Kevyn Orr has plenty of numbers he has to confront in his new role as emergency manager of Detroit. One of the more critical ones, though, may not have his immediate attention. As of the 2010 Census, which is already outdated given […]

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Snyder better find his deal-making hat

Worried about an increase in gas taxes or vehicle registration fees? Calm yourself. A poll last week by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed only 27 percent of those surveyed had a positive opinion of the 85 Republicans who serve in the […]

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Snyder needs to tutor legislative Republicans on the realities of math

$52 million (Estimated net fiscal year 2023 cost of expanding Medicaid in Michigan, per the federal Affordable Care Act. The expansion would, by that date, cover more than 600,000 single adults and reduce the ranks of the uninsured in Michigan by two-thirds.) […]

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Analysis: Political reality may flatten Snyder’s tires

Let’s just say that when Gov. Rick Snyder made his most robust case yet for boosting the annual budget for fixing Michigan’s highways last week, no one on the Senate or House Appropriations committees asked what might be the most appropriate question: […]

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Politicians talk about school funding, but numbers show failure of effort

Just how broken education spending in Michigan is will once again be on display when Gov. Rick Snyder next week unveils his budget for the 2014 fiscal year on Feb. 7. The school aid budget has for years now illustrated the failure […]

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Speech will give clues to the real Rick Snyder

State of the State speeches are geared to define the governor’s agenda for the coming legislative year. If the speech is a good one, seen as reasonably addressing the challenges of the times, chances are some of the proposals are going to […]

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Legislature, Snyder can’t deny public their 2014 crack at Right to Work, tax changes

Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican lawmakers are aiming to funnel reaction to what has been an extraordinary two years of controversial legislation onto the partisan section of the 2014 general election ballot. How negative the reaction is will determine the shelf life […]

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On RTW, money talked, GOP answered

Why is a conservative Republican Legislature enacting a pro-business agenda that breaks the mold by embracing Right to Work laws? Because the GOP has the votes in the House and Senate to put it on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature. […]

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Give Snyder credit for trying to juggle tax changes

After years of thinking up new ways to attract business with special deals, Michigan appears intent on getting out of the big money incentive game by engineering a tax code in which there is little left to abate. Before it was repealed […]

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Blue Cross getting quite a deal at Capitol

Spend more than $500,000 on lobbying and write nearly $1.2 million in PAC checks in an election cycle, the chances are pretty good that the post-election lame duck legislation you’re seeking is going to be delivered in pretty much the form you […]

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Perhaps it’s time to leave constitutional amendments to the Legislature

A few final takeaways from the November election: Representative democracy is generally more effective than direct democracy. In 2010, voter turnout was 43 percent and an older, whiter Michigan electorate wiped out the majority that Democrats had built in the Michigan House […]

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Voters endorse a ‘simmer down’ approach to state’s challenges

By a 47-41 margin, respondents in Marketing Resource Group’s fall poll said Michigan was on the right track. The plus 6-point spread in the biannual survey was the largest recorded by the Lansing firm since March 2003, three months into Gov. Jennifer […]

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Michigan’s ‘supreme’ election is a scandal

Markman, O’Brien, Zahra, McCormack, Johnson and Kelley could be a law firm for all voters know about them, instead of the six party-nominated candidates for the Michigan Supreme Court on the non-partisan section of the Nov. 6 ballot. As a result, too […]

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