Saturday Shorts: Oakland puts burden on students

The Detroit News

Add Oakland University to the list of colleges Michigan high school students may want to think twice about attending.

The college imposed the largest tuition increase for Michigan public schools this year when trustees hiked costs by 8.48 percent. It also became the second public school this year — Eastern Michigan University was the first — to ignore student needs and exceed the state's tuition cap of 3.2 percent. Oakland will miss out on $1.2 million in incentive funding intended to keep tuition increases to a minimum. The tuition hike will bring in an additional $12 million but at an unreasonable cost to students.

Officials complain that lack of state aid forces them to exceed the cap but Gov. Rick Snyder has been slowly increasing funding for higher education after years of reduced investment. He realizes universities feel pinched. College leaders need to be patient.

If the state's public universities really have students as their top priority, they'll avoid raising tuition so sharply.

Let state set wages

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that ensures reason and consistency for companies doing business in the state.

The law prevents local governments from interfering with state-mandated employer-employee relationships. Anything concerning wages, working hours and benefits is exempt from local control, which is the right approach.

It makes sense because local ordinances would have created a regulatory hodgepodge, with mandates imposed by one community having a negative effect on its neighbors — and on the state economy. Employers should not have to comply with conflicting employment rules.

Lawmakers have admitted the law is in response to a national trend in which cities are passing ordinances that put businesses at competitive disadvantages. An example is Los Angeles, which raised the minimum wage almost 70 percent, to $15 an hour from $9 an hour.

Michigan has worked too hard to revive its once devastated economy to let irrational local regulations again chase businesses away, as did now defunct statutes such as the Michigan Business Tax and the personal property tax.

Utica gets a ball park

Officials in Utica are rightfully patting themselves on the back with the official groundbreaking for a 4,000-person capacity sports stadium and a 500-space parking lot.

The facility not only will bring semi-professional baseball to the community but reclaims 16 acres of property that formerly was a landfill.

"We wanted to do it right because the Clinton River flows through the area and we believe this is the perfect resolution to reclaiming the land and improving the downtown," says Mayor Jacqueline K. Noonan.

General Sports & Entertainment of Rochester says it will organize an independent baseball league that will use the stadium. Possible non-sport uses include firework displays, graduation ceremonies, ice skating and soccer. Also, a hiking and biking trail will be built along the river.

Through efforts by the city's Downtown Development Authority and Parks and Recreation Department, along with federal grants to clean up the area, officials have done a commendable job of making barren land useable.