Lobbyists, politicians and some media voices are complaining about an alleged $2 billion “budget squeeze” facing Michigan state government in the next few years.

The latest was in a Detroit Free Press editorial board op-ed that warned of an impending financial crisis.

The article read: “Michigan’s facing a $2-billion shortfall in its $10 billion general fund by 2022, an analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council found, thanks to outstanding tax credits offered to businesses, and an ill-advised deal to repair the state’s roads that relies on future revenue growth, which isn't happening.”

ForTheRecord says: Despite the alarmism, the amount of tax and fee revenue is growing.

The General Fund and The School Aid Fund are two of the largest separate state accounts.

The amount of tax revenue going into the General Fund and School Aid Fund is projected to rise from $23.4 billion in 2017-18 to $24.8 billion in 2020-21. That would be a $1.4 billion or 6.3 percent increase over those three years. 

The Free Press editorial cites a $2 billion shortfall in the General Fund by 2022. But the House Fiscal Agency projects General Fund revenue to increase from $10.4 billion to $10.8 billion from 2017-18 to 2021-22.

A $400 million increase doesn't look like a “shortfall."

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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