News Bites

Arcades Owe Detroit Thousands of Quarters Each Year

The city of Detroit requires business owners running an arcade to obtain a license costing $863 — or 3,452 quarters — each year. A search of business and occupational licensing in other cities turns up no other example of licensure mandates for arcades in Michigan.

Detroit requires more licenses than any city in the state, calling for special licenses for at least 60 differentprofessions and nearly 200different types of businesses

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Price of Electricity Up 85 Percent Since 2001

The residential cost of electricity in Michigan has jumped from 8.26 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2001 to 15.3 cents in 2016. That’s largely because Michigan has been shutting down less expensive coal plants and been moving toward renewable forms of energy that are more expensive, specifically solar and wind power.

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East Lansing Loses $350,000 Running 'Aquatic Center'

After the city council’s attempt to implement an income tax was rejected by voters, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told the Lansing State Journal the city may close the family “aquatic center” it operates (a swimming pool with a water park-type slide).

According to city records, operating the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center cost the city $351,187 from 2014 to 2017. Should a city that says it can’t balance its books without raising taxes really be in the water park business?

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Michigan Lottery Sees Huge Increase, Meaning Windfall for Schools

Total revenues generated by the state’s lottery increased to $3.1 billion in 2016, up by $505 million from 2014, according to the state budget. That has been a windfall for Michigan’s public schools.

The lottery contribution to the School Aid Fund increased from $746.8 million in 2014 to $892.9 million in 2016, a $146.1 million increase, or enough to pay the average salaries of 2,361 public school teachers that year. The School Aid Fund total revenue was $12.1 billion in 2016.

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Michigan’s Big Electric, Gas Monopoly Hikes Rates, Rakes In Billions

DTE Energy gets a state-mandated monopoly on providing energy in Michigan. They've seen billions in profits in recent years, but still imposed a rate hike of hundreds of millions of dollars. … more

Michigan Manufacturing Is Back (If Not All The Way)

Manufacturing employment in the state of Michigan has attained its highest level in 10 years, the most for any month since June 2007.

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Lowest-Paid Flint Officer: $17 Per Hour (Not $11.25)

News reports said that Flint police officers earned only $11 per hour. But even the lowest base salary of officers in the city are more than $17 per hour. … more

83,000 Plus: The Number of State Regulations That Affect Your Life

The Michigan Administrative Code, a compilation of all the rules and regulations created and enforced by state agencies, contains more than 83,000 mandates, requirements, restrictions and more. All told, they run to over 4.6 million words.

The agencies that have promulgated the most regulations are the state departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Environmental Quality, and Treasury. The figures come from research done by the Mercatus Center.

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Michigan Unemployment Rate: From Worst To ‘We’re No. 16!’

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in July, the 16th lowest among the states. The national unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent. Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the nation from April 2006 to February 2010, a span of 47 months.

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Federal Spending To Top $4 Trillion in 2017, Highest Ever

Mainstream media reports are filled with stories from federal bureaucrats complaining about President Donald Trump's administration's proposals to cut next year's budget.

Yet federal spending this year is projected to break $4 trillion for the first time, according to White House budget documents. The federal government will spend $4.06 trillion in the fiscal year that ends on Oct. 1, 2017, an increase of $210 billion from the previous year. The spending total is also $602.5 billion more than the $3.46 trillion the feds expect to take in this year.

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Some institutions of higher education have cracked down on free speech. Even in Michigan, universities have speech codes that restrict students’ speech, campus groups have prevented speakers from delivering talks and administrators have stopped individuals from handing out certain literature.

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