By Stateside Staff of Michigan Radio
Two sticking points in Lansing lately are prisons and infrastructure.
Governor Snyder is calling for an increase in spending for prisons of nearly $1,500 per prisoner per year. The Department of Corrections indicates the budget increase covers higher costs for food, health care and staff. Senator John Proos said the state should close some prisons as the inmate population decreases to save some money.
A report released last year found over the last 30 years, Michigan has increased its corrections budget more than five times as fast as they did their allocations for P‑12 public education.
Yesterday on Stateside, Mike Nystrom with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, a group that represents construction contractors, said state infrastructure (roads and bridges) is in “crisis.”
Nystrom said he’s baffled the legislature won’t put money in an emergency fund for infrastructure incidents called the Michigan Infrastructure Fund. This is something Governor Snyder has called for.
Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to break down both issues.
They also talk about how solutions to both problems are relatively simple. The challenge is there doesn’t appear to be enough political will to fix the problems.