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.

Here’s what $5.7 billion can buy:

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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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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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