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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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Pfizer Profits $21.5 Billion In 2017, Gets $32 Million Tax Break From Small Michigan City

In 2017 Pfizer earned $21.5 billion in profits. In April, the global biopharmaceutical company was granted a property tax break by the city of Portage worth $32.1 million over 15 years.  … more

More Competition Among Liquor Stores on the Way – For Now

It’s competition that makes products better and less expensive, creating value in the meantime. And a recent judicial ruling has held that Michigan liquor stores aren’t exempt from it. … more

Arbitrary Michigan Licensing Laws: Auto Mechanic vs. Makeup Artist

Occupational licenses are pitched as a necessity to protect the health and safety of citizens. But they rarely perform their function, and the state has no requirement that policymakers evaluate new and existing licenses.  … more

Recent Corruption Scandals Involving Some of Michigan’s Largest Unions

Several of the major unions have had corruption scandals in the past two years, further restricting their growth and power going forward. … more

New Law Removes Obstacles to Classroom

School districts and unions have complained vigorously in recent years of a “teacher shortage.” The claim is overblown, but it still makes sense for the state to remove needless restrictions on talented people who want to teach in public schools. … more

A Look at Unions in Michigan, Five Years After Right-to-Work

Five years after Michigan – the historic bastion of union power – became a right-to-work state, most of its largest unions have seen a significant decline in membership and political spending. … more

Rural School Makes Fast Rise

In 2014 the Michigan Department of Education identified rural Akron-Fairgrove Elementary in the state's Thumb region as a struggling "Focus School." With outside help and community support, the school quickly turned around. … more

In Michigan, Rich are Getting Richer – So Are the Poor

The number of Michigan households earning at least $100,000 annually increased 45 percent between 2005 and 2016, going from 591,446 to 857,648. … more

Grand Valley State’s New Intersectionality And Systemic Racism Radio Reporter

At a time when the news industry is shedding jobs, the Grand Valley State University public radio station is creating a position it calls “an inclusion reporter.” … more

Special Tax Breaks For Privileged Firms Means Money Comes From Someone Else

Every year across the state of Michigan, local governments approve property tax breaks that benefit businesses in a politically driven economic development system. … more

Michigan is the state with the highest percentage of its area that’s covered in water, with five times the water-covered territory of the average state.

In Michigan, 41.5 percent of the area is covered in water, edging out Hawaii (41.2 percent) for the top spot. The national average is 7.0 percent. Arizona was last at 0.3 percent. The information comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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For the Record

State Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, claimed in an April 17 op-ed published by the Traverse City Record-Eagle that more people in Michigan have fallen into poverty during the tenure of Gov. Rick Snyder. … more
One state report said Michigan's golf courses use 7.6 billion gallons of water a year. Nestle will use as much as 210 million gallons a year. Where's the outrage about golf courses? … more
Michigan Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, snarked on Twitter recently about a bill that makes it a little easier for people to earn money by shampooing hair. … more
A recent story in The Atlantic magazine about private versus public schools used examples from Michigan to illustrate some of its arguments, but was significantly out of date. … more
When it comes to Michigan's poor performance on standardized tests, perhaps more money isn't the solution. … more
A Utica Community Schools board member says the current way the state funds schools is broken. … more
An AFSCME union laywer made a quip about public sector salaries. Richard Trumka, the president of the national AFSCME, had his total compensation in 2017 increase to $315,368, a 7 percent raise from 2016. … more
The Center For Michigan's Truth Squad said it was hard to determine if the DeVos family profits from their involvement with a charter school. The Truth Squad failed to mention the DeVos family would be breaking the law if they did. … more
The United Automobile Workers union, or UAW, appears to be gaining new members by organizing graduate research students at colleges. … more
Across the state of Michigan, 61,000 people say they commute to work using public transit services; 96,000 people walk and 4 million people drive. … more