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

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Government Transparency Bill Stalled in Senate

Michigan House passed bill six months ago

… promotes government transparency and accountability … withhold records. Transparency shouldn t be viewed … more

Three Cheers for Michigan House Democrats

Questioning MEDC transparency is the right thing to do

… Development Corp. to be more transparent and accountable in … complained about the lack of transparency at Michigan s department … the MEDC's lack of transparency and accountability. … the MEDC's lack of transparency. In a November … more

How CapCon Uses Transparency Laws to Hold Government Accountable

… website that rates the transparency of state and local … scrutiny. Government transparency laws are an important … that favors greater transparency in government. We … Attacked Government Transparency Groups Gets 'Bitten … more

MEDC Questioned About Its Transparency

Questions about how tax dollars spent could warrant new legislation

… on transparency , but Rep. Genetski … its apparent lack of transparency. "It seems … Gov. John Engler and transparency questions existed … Granholm, questions of transparency at MEDC reached … more

Multiple School Districts Breaking the Law On Transparency

Schools are required to post contracts, compensation information online

… Wayne County had no transparency icon on its website … Capitol Confidential Transparency Coverage How CapCon Uses Transparency Laws To Hold Government … more

Modernizing the Open Meetings Act

Michigan Law Revision Commission takes step forward

… their commitment to transparency.) Post other … more
MCC2008-5

State Checkbook Still Missing From Internet (revised version)

State rejects transparency despite minimal cost

… Information Age places such transparency within our grasp, … Michigan the Money" transparency project ( www.mackinac.org/10694 .) … to keep this whole transparency project running. These … "gold standard" of transparency set by Missouri … more

'Secretive Obama Administration' Official to Kick Off Event on Transparency

Legal scholar says Attorney General Holder's participation in Wayne State event is 'the height of hypocrisy'

… demanding "a full, transparent account" of the … the discussion on the transparency of a presidential … administration was not very transparent. "The Obama … things in terms of transparency, but some of the … more

After Veto, Gov. Snyder's Commitment To Transparency Questioned

Governor vetoed bill passed unanimously by the Legislature

… state government more transparent and accountable to … national leader in transparency and ethics." Considering … Snyder's commitment to transparency, his veto of House … Republicans believe in transparency," Rep. LeBlanc said. … more

University Budget Transparency vs. Secret 'Appropriations Mud Pit'

Increasing term limits won't help government transparency.

 more

A Transparency Fight in the Village of Armada

… safeguard open and transparent government. But one … make the village more transparent ever since he took … greater government transparency died on the spot. But … every effort to be transparent in our financial … more

Film Transparency – Just say No?

… which call for more transparency in the state s … the state s lack of transparency in the film industry … million dollars. Greater transparency of Michigan s film … Tackle Film Credit Transparency Michael … more

Q A With the MEDC: Verifying Jobs Resulting From Special Government Favors

State Reps call for greater transparency or elimination of program

… a greater degree of transparency at the MEDC. "Clearly, … significant lack of transparency at MEDC," Rep. Switalski … show that there was no transparency and no accountability, … $100K Pressure Mounting For MEDC Transparency A … more

Transparency Not Rapid for Kent Co. Transit Agency

… model of government transparency, while the local … the organization s transparency project says that it … to make itself more transparent to the taxpayers … The Rapid is a highly transparent public enterprise, accountable … more

Oh, The Things You Will Learn

An intern's brush with bureaucracy

… increasingly many promise transparency. But a look at how … more

Pressure Mounting For MEDC Transparency

House Democrats call for scrutiny of corporate welfare programs; accountability for tax dollars

Those who want to bring transparency to the Michigan … criticized for a lack of transparency. House Democrats … make the MEDC more transparent. In fact, House … Democrats want more than transparency; they want provisions … more

Lawmakers Looking At MEDC Transparency

… attempt to bring more transparency to the Michigan … for being less than transparent . According … concerns over its anti-transparency image. One … The key word here is transparency, and I'm proud to … more

Lawmakers Poised To Continue Corporate Welfare Fund

Program track record includes inaccurate job creation claims, little transparency

… provide additional transparency. We will continue … going but with greater transparency. That part of the … to provide greater transparency, although in its … would provide greater transparency. In the fall … more

Analysis: Lawmakers Fail to Answer Questions About Film Subsidy Transparency

… agree that the more transparency in government spending … been written about transparency, the word "scrutinized" … state House to pass new transparency laws . In … address additional transparency concerns. ..." Instead, … more

House Panel Likely to Approve FOIA Reforms

Legislation designed to rein in unjustified fees, increase government transparency

… standardization and transparency," said Rep. Mike … also: How CapCon Uses Transparency Laws To Hold Government … more

Traverse City Schools Set Transparency Precedent

… district is raising transparency to a new level … bargaining process transparent, as TCAPS superintendent … more
Sunshine Week

Prop 2 May Put FOIA on Ice for Media, Others

… greater government transparency recently vetoed … more

School District Saves $60K by Being More Transparent

… dedicated to government transparency was all it took … has shown, government transparency has positive real world … more

Legislature Considering More Transparency For Asset Forfeiture

Some police agencies oppose the bills, which would require more accountability when property is taken

… would provide more transparency in asset forfeiture … incentives. "It's just good transparency legislation," Rep. … generally supporting more transparency, she said it would … more
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

What Economic Development Transparency Should Look Like

… provide much greater transparency. Taxpayers … insist on some basic transparency principles. That's … more
Hollywood

Lawmakers Tackle Film Credit Transparency

… make the process more transparent by changing the tax … by the Senate. Transparency has become an issue … more

New Bill Would Shed Light On Asset Forfeiture In Michigan

Bipartisan House bill would bring transparency to law enforcement seizing property without criminal charges

… would greatly enhance transparency. Cara Sullivan, … increase government transparency and accountability." The … more

More Michigan Cities Meeting Financial Needs

Pension liabilities still a looming problem

Pension liabilities still a looming problem.

 more

$72 Million in Film Credits Not Reported by Film Office

… was comprehensive, transparent and met all the statutory … Chief Film Transparency Just say No? … more

New Film Office Report Misleads and Shows Undercounting

… getting better with transparency. The original report … Chief Film Transparency Just say No? … more

Sun May Finally Shine on State Pols' Staff Salary Secrets

All five GOP gov candidates support bill to remove special FOIA exemption for Legislature and governor's office

… Michigan the Money transparency project asked the … spending of government as transparent as possible. The … more

Thirty-One MEDC Salaries Top $100K

… needs accountability, transparency - Livingston Daily … more

City Sued Over FOIA Fees

Westland charges $1 per page, $45 per hour to gather public information

… Citizens How CapCon Uses Transparency Laws To Hold Government … more

Pew’s Non-Neutrality

Red Dawn Reality Check

Although the state of Michigan may offer tax rebates to Hollywood production companies that film in this state, the U.S. military isn't as generous, according to a Department of Defense spokesman.

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State Websites Give History a Rewrite

Readers of the state of Michigan's various Web sites would be hard pressed to find evidence of one of the more embarrassing incidents to have happened this year to the Granholm administration.

On March 16, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in a press-release a series of state tax credits awarded to businesses, including one to a now-infamous company named RASCO. The press release stated the "the new-to-Michigan leader in renewable energy, water and telecommunications sectors" was approved for a $9.1 million tax credit and would create 1,813 new jobs.

The state nixed the deal when it found that RASCO CEO Richard A. Short was a convicted embezzler. The Flint Journal reported that at the same time he was working on the state tax deal, authorities said he was scamming an 86-year-old neighbor with dementia out of thousands of dollars.

The MEDC's official press release has now been revised and has no mention of RASCO.

 more

Holding Legislators Accountable

… democracy rests are transparency and accountability; … accountable. HB 4326 enhances transparency and accountability … more
Capitol Confidential Vol. 2, No. 1

A Little School — A Big Idea

Chassell Township Schools’ transparent spending

… Michigan the Money " transparency project. A similar … Peyton Walcott, a Texas transparency advocate. The … extreme example of why a transparent checkbook is a benefit; … Michigan the Money' transparency project for the … more

Comparing Apples to Lemons in Pension Reform

Legislature needs to be transparent about costs.

 more

Onsted Community Schools Shows Taxpayers the Money

… accountable is to make it transparent, so that the American … no reason to not be transparent about everything, … more

Traverse City Schools' Post Union Negotiation Details Online

… towards achieving real transparency and fiscal accountability." The … fine with the increased transparency. The Traverse … more

How $10 Million Spending Increases Become K-12 Budget Cuts

… Teachers? Transparency Not Rapid For … more

Michigan Department of Education Miscalculates Average Teacher Salary

Department corrects its error; revised figures available

The Michigan Department of Education improperly calculated the average public school teacher salary in the state for the last six years, reporting figures significantly lower than what is correct. Corrected figures for the past two years were recently released.

 more

State Taxpayers Eat $350K Loan for East Lansing Property Purchase

The way Phil Bellfy sees it, it may not be illegal, but that doesn't make it right.

Bellfy is a Michigan State University professor and vocal critic of an East Lansing Downtown Development Authority deal he says doesn't smell right.

 more
Kent County Land Bank Logo

Court Rules in Favor of Land Bank

Some properties blocked from competitive tax auction will go to nonprofits

Property can be sold to preferred buyers.

 more
MCC2010-02

Lawmakers Tackle Film Credit Transparency

… make the process more transparent by changing the tax … by the Senate. Transparency has become an issue … more
MCC2010-04

Government Transparency and a New Government in 2011

… interest in government transparency by the public and public … strides in government transparency by select legislators, … more

Senator Says House Is Stalling Reform of Special Tax Perks for Filmmakers

… Senate that would bring transparency to the Michigan … film tax credits more transparent. Senate Bill … Tackle Film Credit Transparency Michael … more
Education Fund Chart

Schools Use Creative Accounting to Exaggerate Fiscal Challenges

… strengthen government transparency and accountability. … more

Predictions of Success Are Public - Failures Are Secret?

Michigan Economic Development Corp. very open with predictions of success, growing more secretive with news of failure

… a pattern of less transparency regarding actual … claim they are more transparent than ever and yet … needs accountability, transparency - Livingston Daily … more

Bills Would Demand More Info From Filmmakers Getting Special Tax Breaks

… legislation to bring more transparency in the state agency … Tackle Film Credit Transparency Michael … more

House of Reps Adopts ‘Open Kimono’ Policy for Salaries and Other Financial Info

… districts to be more transparent with the voters," … taking the lead on transparency, said Lund. Soon … Secrets State rejects transparency despite minimal … more

YouTubes Praising Special Tax Breaks for Filmmakers Getting Yanked

… would benefit from more transparency. As a state … credit program more transparent. ~~~~~ ( UPDATE … Tackle Film Credit Transparency Michael … more

'Protect Our Jobs' Could Increase Gov't Secrecy

Freedom of Information Act at risk?

 more

Sorry Your Film Office Success Story Was Not Found

… Tackle Film Credit Transparency Michael … more

Politician Staffs: Your Money, Their Secret

… spending of government as transparent as possible. The … Secrets State rejects transparency despite minimal … more

Michigan Stimulus Recipients Failing to Report – Part 2

… Accountability and Transparency Board, which oversees … more

Hangar42 Studios' Incentives Raise Questions

… historical lack of transparency on the part of involved … more

Voter Scorecard Designed to 'Make Lansing Listen'

The state's lawmakers need to understand that they will be judged by actual deeds and votes, not just the mere words that they speak on the campaign trail in advance of the Aug. 3 primary election. That's the message that Common Sense in Government hopes to deliver to politicians with their Common Sense Votes Scorecard — a spreadsheet tabulation of a dozen votes in the Michigan House and seven in the Senate impacting the "limited government, free market principles that Michigan needs to get back on the right track." more

Embattled Agency in Charge of Special Tax Favors Snaps at Critics

The state's flagship job creation agency made a plea to the media and legislators to stop "unwarranted criticism" against it and said attacks on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will undermine the state's efforts to attract businesses.

The MEDC's open letter comes after some recent embarrassing disclosures, including a tax credit approved for a convicted embezzler and a state audit that found the MEDC awarded tax credits to companies for jobs that weren't created.

 more

Google Jobs Lacking, Yet Some Locals Still Consider It a 'Badge of Honor' for Ann Arbor

In 2006, Google's announcement that it was opening an AdWords office in Ann Arbor was trumpeted as the start of the transformation of a suffering Michigan economy.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. lured the Internet giant to Ann Arbor with a 20-year tax credit valued at more than $38 million. The city of Ann Arbor also gave it up to 400 free parking spaces for four years in a city where parking spots are much in demand. Based on current costs for a spot in an Ann Arbor parking structure, the parking deal would be worth $633,600 a year to Google if all the spots are used.

For that lucrative deal, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Google would bring in 1,000 direct and 1,200 spinoff jobs in its first five years.  An MEDC press release stated, "Granholm said the Google decision is just the latest evidence that her economic recovery plan is beginning to deliver dividends of increased investment by high-tech companies that mean well-paying jobs for Michigan."

Yet, four years into the deal, few of the parties involved in the deal will talk about Google's performance in job creation since the announcement.

 more
Reality Check

Fleeing Michigan: Whose Number Is Correct?

Michigan GOP candidates for governor are starting to often use a statistic about the exodus of residents from Michigan. It purports to show the rate at which people are leaving.

Rick Snyder, a GOP candidate for governor, has it on his website that every 12 minutes, a family leaves Michigan.

Mike Bouchard, another gubernatorial Republican candidate said Saturday in Clarkston, "Every 12 minutes, someone leaves this state."

Where did the statistic come from? Is it a "family" or a "person"?

 more
The Michigan Zombie Child Care Council

Zombie State Agency Finally Talks to Lawmakers

Tuesday's committee hearing gave senators a chance to quiz the MHBCCC about its purpose, its creation through an interlocal agreement between the Department of Human Services and Mott Community College, and the big question: the council's relationship with the Child Care Providers-Together Michigan or CCPTM, the so-called "day care union."

The testimony disclosed at least one unexpected revelation.

 more

Analysis: Government Employee Political Clout Obstructs Budget Reform

The Legislature returns today after a two-week break to take up perhaps the greatest challenge facing state government since 1983: an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall. Making this all the more difficult is the apparent inability of lawmakers to adopt what most struggling private-sector workers and small-business owners view as modest reductions in state employee pay and benefits. That failure was highlighted in three separate events just before the break.

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Other Michigan Cities in Pension Debt

Not just a Detroit problem

Not just a Detroit problem.

 more
Nathan Duszynski — Nathan's Hot Dog Hut

BREAKING NEWS - Boy Whose Hot Dog Cart Was Shut Down by the City of Holland Now Homeless

Mayor says city took action after restaurants asked for "protection" from 13-year-old entrepreneur with disabled parents.

Mayor says city took action after restaurants asked for "protection" from 13-year-old entrepreneur with disabled parents.

 more

Michigan Needs Better Forfeiture Laws

Bipartisan bills address issue

… substantially more transparency for asset forfeiture … more

MLive to Start MichiganVotes-Style System

Media group to begin tracking legislative action

… been a proponent of transparency and open government , … more

Lawmaker Seeks More Transparency for SWAT Team Raids

… information and greater transparency from its government. "We're … estimation." ~~~~~ Other recent transparency related stories: House … Michigan the Money Transparency Website more

Indy Land Bank Officials Indicted

Michigan needs to review land bank operations

… have been bid on in a transparent process to be … more

'Business Improvement Zones' = Property Taxes

If you doubt that, try not paying the "assessment"

… accountability and transparency. The Detroit … more

Kent County Taxpayers Question Land Bank

… at least bring some transparency to actions that … more

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Star International Academy is the highest ranked high school in Michigan on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Contest and Performance report card for both 2014 and 2012. The study and a database of every school in the state can be found at www.Mackinac.org/CAP.

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