By Carol Cain, Senior Producer and Host of  WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s Michigan Matters

What’s ahead in the battle over the state’s lucrative movie incentives as Gov. Rick Snyder continues his push to put a lid on them to confront Michigan’s fiscal woes?

Likely a compromise said John Truscott, president of Truscott Rossman LLC, longtime GOP strategist and communications expert who worked for Gov. John Engler.

The incentives, approved by state legislators three years ago, are the most lucrative in the nation.

But some – including Snyder and groups like Business Leaders For Michigan – – have questioned them saying they have  not paid dividends in creating jobs or economic payoff and should be pared back.

Truscott, who is president of the firm, appeared on Michigan Matters with business partner, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, who is CEO, as well as businesswoman Denise Ilitch and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.  The fast moving conversation focused on the incentives, the budget and more.

Ilitch has been beating the drum on behalf of the incentives, adding: “I’m on the ground and see the good they are doing which is why I feel so strongly. I see the jobs they have created.”

Patterson admitted the burden was on those who support the incentives to help quantify them to quiet detractors before a compromise can be reached

Rossman-McKinney said rancor over the issue has taken the lion’s share of headlines away from other important budget issues since Snyder announced his game plan a few weeks ago.

“You aren’t hearing as much about cuts to education, K-12, local government, pensions …” she said.

Truscott added people were shell shocked by Snyder’s proposals and predicted there will be more rancor with unions and others rising up in coming weeks.

Snyder has said he would like to have his budget wrapped up by the end of May which Truscott said was unrealistic.

“There’s no way possible,” he said. “He has set an aggressive course but there is no way it will be done until the end of June or July.”

On other issues,  Truscott said he and Rossman-McKinney, who worked for Gov. Jim Blanchard and run her Lansing firm for 23 years before they joined forces in January, will be focusing more on the Grand Rapids market which is “… untapped. There’s a lot of business there.”

Carol Cain is Senior Producer and Host of  Emmy-winning Michigan Matters. You can read her columns on business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at 248-355-7126 or via e-mail.

Watch Michigan Matters Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
Recent episodes are available to watch online at the Michigan Matters show page.


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