Michigan governments would save $5.7 billion if the employment benefits of Michigan’s state and local government workers were set at private sector averages.

State and local governments currently employ roughly 400,000 full-time workers in Michigan. It may be procedurally difficult to attain all of the $5.7 billion in a single year, but a policy that public-sector employees will not be paid more in benefits than private sector averages will eventually result in these savings.

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Here’s what $5.7 billion can buy:

But as a policy matter for legislators:

  • Michigan can eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, resolve its budget deficit and still have $2 billion left to spare.
  • It can eliminate its personal income tax in its entirety.

In a politician’s terms: every man, woman and child in Michigan could max out on their personal contribution to any state representative of their choosing.

Governor-elect Rick Snyder said he will investigate this disparity, provided that consideration will be given to the affected workers.

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Renting out the family summer cottage is a common practice in Michigan, and with today’s technologies, it’s easier than ever, empowered by services like AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO and more. These short-term rentals mean vacationers can find a place much more easily and inexpensively, while owners can earn some extra money. It seems like a win-win. Not everyone agrees. Some in the accommodations and tourism industries aren’t happy with the increased competition and are advocating for limiting people’s rights to rent out their homes. Some homeowner associations are pushing back as well. And while cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids have mostly embraced home sharing, some local governments have restricted and even banned the practice.

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