A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Liberal Economist: 'Mostly White' Oakland County Deserves the Blame For Detroit's Problems

County official: 'He doesn't understand what he is talking about'

By all accounts, the state and Oakland County are major stakeholders in Detroit. Here’s some things Robert Reich overlooked about how county and state taxpayers help fund Detroit. … more

Grasping At Taxes to Pay for Pensions

Schools, municipalities get creative

New assessing rules have meant more inspections and after the housing bubble, cities are desperate to recognize increasing home values. Cities are also challenging previously exempt nonprofits to pay property taxes. … more

Michigan Now Spending More on Teacher Retiree Liabilities Than Prisons

Pension costs are crowding out other state funding

Michigan is planning on spending $1.937 billion to catch up on underfunding for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System and another $880 million to catch up on public school employee retiree health care costs. The state’s 2015 budget for corrections is $2.040 billion.  … more

Economic Freedom and Prosperity

"The financial burden of supporting our government has skyrocketed, saddling taxpayers with the bill. While federal government spending has doubled since 2000 and tripled since 1990, the growth of personal income has lagged, rising by less than half since 2000." … more

Resident Harmed by Windmills Now on County Planning Commission Which Approved Windmills

Plaintiff in wind turbine noise case appointed in Mason County

Cary Shineldecker, the homeowner who warned his community that the margin of safety was inadequate at Lake Winds wind plant near Ludington, is now a member of the Mason County Planning Commission. This same commission initially failed to heed his warning but it has learned a lot since then. … more

The Growth of Michigan's 'Shadow Government'

Pseudo-government authorities exploding

The U.S. Census Bureau defines them as “Special District Governments” and reports that they are growing at a fast rate. From 2002 to 2012, special district governments in Michigan have jumped 33 percent from 332 to 443. … more

Dropping Union Health Insurance Saves District $737K

MESSA revenue drops $190 million

In the three years since Dansville Schools dropped MESSA insurance for a different high-deductible plan, it has saved $736,873.87 and its employees hadn’t had to pay for any health insurance premiums in that time. … more

House Committee Sitting on Bill That Would Let Qualified Nurses Write Prescriptions

Proposed law would help deal with potential shortages

Michigan’s medical community is split over legislation that would give nurses with advanced training the authority to prescribe some medications. Essentially, physician groups don't want nurses gaining responsibilities that are currently reserved only for doctors.  … more

Ann Arbor Schools Bargains Over 'Prohibited Subject'

Law gives school boards sole authority to set teacher merit pay

Ann Arbor Public Schools three months ago negotiated a tentative agreement with its teachers union to provide “merit pay” of just $150 annually to educators who receive a “highly effective” rating. Under a law passed in 2011, however, merit pay is considered a “prohibited subject” for collective bargaining purposes. … more

Grand Rapids Transit Agency Defends New Bus Line

Michigan's first 'bus rapid transit' forced to give away rides

“If they are so secure about future business than why does it need public support?" LaFaive asked. "A good litmus test of this idea is whether or not anyone would want to finance it privately. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. We’ve seen that time and again.” … more

Gap Between Teacher Salaries and Private-Sector Workers Increasing

Since 1999, public school teacher pay has risen from 10 percent to 23 percent higher than average worker

In 2013, the latest data available, the average private-sector worker’s annual pay in Michigan was $46,659 – about $15,000 a year less than the average teacher’s salary. … more

MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call

Legislators voted on bills dealing with wolf hunts, golf carts and adding on more licensing rules. … more

'Worst Fears' of MEA Realized as Teachers Leave

Union president's greatest fear was losing 'thousands' of members — another 5K left in August

The MEA has 110,000 active members, but only 60,000 teachers were eligible to leave the union since many districts rushed to extend their already-existing contracts by years so employees couldn’t opt out under right-to-work. … more

Democrat Mark Schauer Receiving the Big Donations In Gubernatorial Race

But despite appearances, political race contributions reflect typical pattern

Though Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates differ on issues like right-to-work, the SEIU dues skim and government regulations, the apparent contrast between their campaign finance reports could come as a surprise to many. … more

Superintendent Doing Something About Illegal Contract Provision

Head of Northport Public Schools making sure teachers are informed of their rights

“We will be asking the association to send out a letter to staff explaining that the language is unenforceable. If they are not willing to send this letter, I will." … more

Disdain for Politics Gov. Snyder's Undoing?

An analysis of the gubernatorial race

When asked if leaders should allow political factors to influence policy, most voters would reply with a resounding “no.” But in reality their assessment of leaders who pay no attention to politics depends on whether they agree or disagree with the result. … more

Court Grills County Over Land Bank Activities

Using the word “sham,” a Michigan Appeals Court panel gave plaintiffs hope in their case against the Kent County treasurer and the Kent County Land Bank for bypassing the public auction process on tax foreclosed property. … more

MEA’s August Window Declared Illegal

Judge finds union guilty of unfair labor practices

Administrative Law Judge Julia C. Stern has ruled that under Michigan’s right-to-work law, public employees can resign from a union at any time of the year. … more

School Districts Across the State Violating Michigan Right-to-Work Law

Thousands of teachers misled into believing they have to pay the union

Twenty-three public school districts that signed their union contracts after right-to-work became law kept language in that told employees they had to financially support a union as a condition of employment … more

$40 Million ‘Rapid’ Silver Line Bus Takes Twice as Long as a Car

Video shows how new Grand Rapids bus line beats the old line by only one minute

“$40 million for a special line to go up and down Division (Street) where we already have a bus line? It’s just a gross waste of money,” said Bill Mills of the Kent County Taxpayer Alliance. … more

Northern Michigan University economist Hugo Eyzaguirre discusses how raising the minimum wage will hurt emerging local economies. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."


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