Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority board has approved $200,000 in economic relief funding a month into state and local efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Three weeks ago, Tim Bartik laid out a series of steps to encourage a “V-shaped” economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Responding to concerns from renewable fuel advocates, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week relaxed regulations that would allow ethanol producers to provide alcohol for the manufacturing of sanitizer.

Four Michigan small cities rank among the top 10 of their peers nationally for energy efficiency based on the number of buildings saving electricity, costs and greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week.

Michigan is roughly a month away from reaching the “apex” of the coronavirus epidemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a press conference today shortly after ordering school districts to close for the rest of the school year.

Michigan unemployment claims spiked more than 4,000 percent in the second half of March as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered large portions of the state and national economy.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County officials announced last week that its recycling processing facility would close to protect workers from potential exposure to and spreading of the coronavirus. 

Following the passage Friday of the federal CARES Act stimulus package, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today she is expanding access to state unemployment benefits for people who typically don’t qualify, including self-employed and low-wage workers.

WYOMING — A high-end furniture manufacturer has idled work on custom home pieces but called back some laid-off staffers to sew much-needed masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and federal lawmakers have taken a variety of steps to help businesses and employees navigate the short-term harm posed by the coronavirus. 

For Michigan companies scaling back but not completely shutting down as the state tightens restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a little-used program is drawing new attention as an alternative to layoffs.

Wind and solar energy companies wait in limbo and electric vehicle advocates expect a hit much like the rest of the automotive sector as the coronavirus causes uncertainty across the clean energy industry.

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are taking divergent paths when it comes to building new energy projects as the state escalates actions to contain the coronavirus.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has escalated the state’s effort to stop the exponential growth in coronavirus cases, issuing a stay-home order for residents and for non-essential businesses to close.

Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe announced this morning she and her husband have made a $1 million personal donation to a new fund supporting small businesses in Jackson, where the utility is headquartered.

Major business groups in Michigan are recommending Gov. Gretchen Whitmer avoid a “shelter-in-place” order, warning that such a move to help stop the spread of the coronavirus could be disruptive to supply chains that keep essential facilities like grocery stores and hospitals operating. 

Organizers behind the campaign for a statewide graduated income tax have called on top GOP lawmakers to consider allowing online signature gathering because of restrictions imposed by the coronavirus to protect public health.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, unlocking low-interest loans for Michigan small businesses as requested two days ago by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan employers trying to stay afloat as the coronavirus spreads should consider work sharing or offer temporary leave to employees to avoid layoffs, state officials said today.

Michigan lawmakers have approved $125 million in additional funding to slow the spread of coronavirus, including $50 million to expand emergency health care capacity.

GRAND RAPIDS — Long Road Distillers LLC has laid off 50 employees — almost its entire workforce — following a state order limiting bars and restaurants to take-out and delivery business.

Whitmer’s order this week expanding unemployment benefits is part of a suite of state and federal policy options to shield small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jackson-based Consumers Energy says it will suspend shutoffs for non-pay for seniors and low-income customers starting today until April 5, citing “unprecedented circumstances” surrounding the spread of coronavirus.

As progressive political advocates seek lower state income tax rates for most Michigan residents while higher earners pay more for infrastructure needs, the state’s leading business group is bracing for a highly contentious political campaign.

Developers are finalizing the decommissioning of the former B.C. Cobb coal plant in Muskegon as the 115-acre site assumes new ownership and a sole focus as a port terminal facility.

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities remain opposed to a series of bills that supporters say are needed to grow the state’s nascent solar industry.

After announcing Michigan’s first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 on March 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration released a series of “community mitigation strategies” that span the state’s economy and population to prevent the spread of the virus.

State officials announced more than $8.7 million in grants this week for Michigan school districts to purchase buses powered by clean diesel and propane, but environmental groups say the money would have been better spent on electric models.

Over the past two weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and major automakers have continued the state’s mobility shift to emphasize electric and autonomous vehicles.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved plans to expand energy efficiency programs for low-income customers of the state’s two major utilities.