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

Special Deals From State Allow Detroit To Collect Hundreds Of Millions In Extra Revenue

Casino tax, utility fee, income tax all specially assessed by the city

While some are pitching a storyline in Detroit of a bankrupt city in need of more revenue, there are ways the city collects millions of dollars in taxes that no other city can do. … more

More Higher Ed Spending Questionable

Legislators, taxpayers need answers

As state politicians are primed to deliver $82 million more this year to state higher education institutions, it is appropriate to ask what taxpayers will get for this spending. Unfortunately, there will not likely be much to show for it. … more

Community Group Fighting Third Attempt To Bring Wind Farm To Town

Voters in Osceola County's Sherman Township have overturned regulations for wind turbines in referendums twice in recent years. That was enough to make Heritage Sustainable Energy give up on plans to locate wind turbines there. Now, Next Era Energy wants to locate wind turbines in the township and local officials are looking for a fresh set of regulations that could allow that to happen.  … more

Commentary: Minimum Wage Hike Puts Politics Over People

Consider the fact that the median starting annual salary of a petroleum engineer is nearly $100,000, while many fast food workers earn under $10 per hour. Is this because the oil and gas companies are simply more generous than McDonald’s? If wages were just set by employers, why would anyone make more than the minimum? … more

Details Behind Push For 'Mystery Project' Begin To Surface

Legislator says funding for unknown projects not unusual in Michigan

The P20 Pyramid project in Grand Rapids has been characterized as a "mystery project" due to the lack of details about it. But Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township, says the story behind his effort to get state funding for the project is neither unusual nor mysterious. … more

MichiganVotes Weekly Vote Report

Bills on militarized police, tax assessors, topless bars

The House and Senate are on a two-week spring break, but there are a number of recently introduced bills of interest. … more

Local Governments Not Starved For Cash

Local municipalities saw an increase of $1.4 billion in property taxes from 2000 to 2013 as that revenue increased to $5.3 billion in 2013 from $3.9 billion in 2000, according to the state tax commission.  … more

The Winners and Losers in Detroit Bankruptcy

Arguing about who should take the largest cuts is an essential part of bankruptcy. While relieving itself of debt burdens helps Detroit's fiscal situation, it is also insufficient at revitalizing the city. What is needed is competent administration of government services and fewer burdens on the city’s people and businesses. … more

Michigan School Funding Up, Results Flat

State spent $7,500 per pupil in 1972, over $12,000 today

Overall, Michigan school spending has increased significantly over the past few decades, but test score have stayed relatively flat, according to a new study from the Cato Institute. … more

Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Up to the Challenge

Unions are given special privileges by statute — monopoly privileges that a private-sector business would pay an arm and a leg to get — and all the unions have to do in return is represent all employees in their bargaining unit equally. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has stepped in to help workers who have been treated unfairly. … more

Grand Rapids Selectively Released Public Information

FOIA documents show city talked at length with MLive reporter; shut out Acton Institute, Michigan Capitol Confidential

Grand Rapids city officials gave detailed information about a tax dispute involving the Acton Institute to a select reporter, but not to the nonprofit fighting to prove it is a charitable organization, according to documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request. … more

Obama Drops a Minimum Wage 'Stink Burger' On Michigan

Using catchy sound bites like "give America a raise," President Obama ignores volumes of research showing that his demand to increase the minimum wage will be a jobs killer. Nevertheless, the president came to Michigan last week to campaign for doing just that. He also thought it necessary to insult a GOP budget proposal by calling it a "stink burger" and a "meanwich." … more

Reuben Sandwich With A Side Of 500K Lost Jobs

However local media only interested in what the president ate

So what was reported when President Obama visited Ann Arbor last week? What he ordered at Zingerman's Deli — a $14 Reuben sandwich. What wasn’t reported? That the reason for the visit — to promote an increase to the minimum wage — will reportedly result in the loss of around 500,000 jobs, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.  … more

RIP Ranny Riecker

Mackinac Center mourns loss of founding director

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy mourns the loss of one of its founding directors, Margaret Ann “Ranny” Riecker, who passed away Monday at the age of 80 in Midland, Mich. The Mackinac Center and the people of Michigan have lost an inspirational giant of informed public policy and philanthropy. … more

Cities Increase Fees, Spend More While Complaining About State Shared Revenue

Fire inspection fees in Ann Arbor have increased 590 percent since 2003, and inspections are happening more often now. City officials say that's due in part to city ordinance requirements. But it also likely is happening to make up for optional state shared revenue the city is not getting. … more

Commentary: Corporate Welfare for New Red Wings Arena Won't Spur Economic Development

The idea that the proposed new Red Wings arena will revitalize midtown Detroit is the reason given for the $260 million in corporate welfare that will help finance the project. The idea that a new sports arena will spur economic development, however, lacks credibility. … more

Draconian Traffic Fee Law Moving Toward The Chopping Block

Bill would phase out 'driver responsibility fees'

A government money grab that’s been operating under the guise of public safety might soon be ended. Legislation to scrap Michigan’s “driver responsibility fees” has overwhelming support in the Legislature. … more

Medicaid Expansion Studies Weren't Trustworthy

Analysis reveals multiple flaws

It may be water over the dam, but one report on the potential impact to employers if Michigan did not adopt the Obamacare Medicaid expansion has been exposed as being essentially bunk due to flagrant misuse or misrepresentation of the data it cited. … more

School Union Contracts Across The State Retain Clauses Calling For Hiring Based On Race

Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Kalamazoo and others have provisions

At least five public school districts have language in their union contracts that could be in violation of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which was passed in 2006 and bans discrimination in hiring based on race at public institutions. … more

Commentary: Michigan Education Association Misleading Voters

'Kids Not CEOs' website rife with misinformation

Under the catchphrase of "Kids Not CEOs," the MEA alleges that millions have been cut from public schools. But this allegation is not based on fact. The MEA's website ignores billions of dollars provided by state taxpayers to support public schools. … more

In this premiere episode of EconPop, Andrew discusses the economics of Academy Award winner Dallas Buyers Club. Subjects include public health and safety regulations, crony capitalism and the role of regulatory capture, the emergence of black and grey markets, and commercial exchange as a means for increased social tolerance.

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