Business Bridge

In partnership with Crain’s Detroit Business, Business Bridge covers the intersection of business, politics and policy across Michigan.


$4 billion question: How to pay for infrastructure fixes?

December 11, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

In a state where new taxes are often a non-starter, the idea of raising more money for roads, bridges and drinking water lines has been a hard sell. Yet Michigan may have no choice.

Pension, healthcare rollbacks for public workers die in lame duck

December 6, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Efforts in Lansing to lower unfunded liabilities by converting pensions into 401(k)-like accounts for teachers and capping public employees’ retirement healthcare benefits will likely be renewed in January.

Report: Michigan must spend billions more a year to modernize infrastructure

December 5, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

A governor-appointed commission says state must spend $4 billion more annually to update roads, bridges, energy and water systems. Michigan spends a smaller portion on infrastructure than the U.S. average.

Unions vow to fight Lansing on public pensions, health care

December 5, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Supporters of the bills, including GOP legislators and some municipalities, say generous benefits were promised decades ago in different economic times and are now unsustainable. Teachers and city workers say they’ve sacrificed enough.

Business groups split on state Senate energy bills

November 27, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Some large industrial companies and school districts saying the current legislation would force less expensive alternative electric suppliers out of business.

How Trump impacts Michigan autos, healthcare and energy policy

November 14, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

President-elect Donald Trump has promised sweeping changes in trade policy, environmental regulations and Obamacare on the campaign trail. Here’s how these issues critical to Michigan are likely to play out, according to business and political leaders.

Community buy-in in West Michigan is improving water life

November 14, 2016 | Amy Lane

Business, nonprofit and city officials working toward a common goal are bringing the rapids back to Grand Rapids, and cleaning up a beloved lake near Holland

Capitol Briefings: Bills would clarify insurance coverage for Uber, Lyft drivers

November 7, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan’s bills adapted from model language used in 40 states, insurance industry say

Bills spark debate over ride-sharing upstarts at airports

November 3, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Legislation to create a statewide licensing system for the ride-hailing companies, which let customers summon rides through smartphone apps, has the airports fighting back to protect other revenue streams

Democratic gains in House could shift debate on infrastructure funding

October 23, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan faces huge funding decisions on roads and water infrastructure as well as energy policy. In a state dominated by Republican leadership, will Democratic gains in the House on Nov. 8 change the legislative calculus?

A budding market for risk-taking pot entrepreneurs

October 17, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

New businesses, from tech firms to labs, are forming to support Michigan’s growing medical marijuana industry, betting on full legalization one day

Michigan could gain millions in tax revenue in legal marijuana market

October 17, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Changes in the medical marijuana market in Michigan could lead to more than $63 million in new tax revenue, estimates show

Gilbert brownfield bill raises questions about lost state revenue

September 25, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Though advocates of a plan to capture Michigan sales and income taxes to offset the costs of large development projects contend the state wouldn’t award a project that didn’t yield more revenue than it gives away, criticism remains that bill is a giveaway to developers.

Gilbert pitching Lansing to sweeten incentives for large developments

September 18, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

A group of real estate developers and economic development agencies is pushing a statewide plan to capture sales and income taxes to help sweeten a traditional brownfield incentive for large-scale projects. Will Gov. Snyder agree

Top priorities for GOP legislature this fall

September 11, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

With only 20 work days before Christmas, Republican lawmakers will make big push on energy package, while other priorities might have to wait

How to keep retired business owners (and their cash) in Michigan

September 8, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Many business owners fund their retirement accounts with income from selling their business. Can Michigan find ways to convince them stay and keep their money here, rather than Florida, when they retire

Entrepreneur program to offer training, microloans to 50 ex-inmates in Detroit

August 28, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

The pilot project, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Kellogg Foundation and another group is a new effort to connect former prisoners with job

Trump, Clinton economic views a complex buffet for Michigan business

August 14, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan business groups are mostly staying out of the fray when it comes to endorsing the two major presidential candidates. Tax and global trade policies under the next president are being watched closely by business leaders, including the Big Three

Michigan pilot extends Pell Grants to prison inmates

August 7, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan has received the second most grants in the nation in an effort to give prisoners the post-release skills they need to gain work and avoid crime.

How Trump vs. Clinton is likely to impact state races

August 1, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Business groups and chambers of commerce are backing pro-business candidates in Tuesday’s state House primary election with endorsements and campaign contributions. Yet uncertainty surrounding the presidential race could impact down-ballot races in November