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CRC Column

The right to criticize government is also an obligation to know what you are talking about. 
-Lent Upson, 1st Executive Director of CRC  


2006 Publications

Proposal 2006-05: Educational Funding Guarantee Law
Report 344 ( September 2006 ) 32 pages

The Citizens Research Council has released its analysis of Proposal 2006-05, the Educational Funding Guarantee Law, a statutory initiative that Michigan voters will be presented with at the November 7, 2006, general election. The proposal would amend the State School Aid Act to guarantee a minimum amount of state funding for K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities in Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07). For all years after fiscal year 2007, the proposal would guarantee funding increases equal to the annual change in inflation.

In addition to the state funding guarantees, Proposal 2006-05 would cap the amount of retirement contributions to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) made by K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities, and require the State of Michigan to make up the difference between the capped employer's contribution and the actual retirement contribution required by the system.

The proposal also contains a declining enrollment provision for K-12 school districts that are experiencing falling student membership. The provision allows the use of a three-year average to determine current-year membership. Finally, the proposed law would require the gap between the basic per pupil foundation allowance and the maximum state-guaranteed per pupil foundation allowance to be reduced from $1,300 to $1,000 by fiscal year 2012.

Proposal 2006-05: Educational Funding Guarantee Law
Memo 1083 ( September 2006 ) 7 pages

Summarizes the analysis of the initiated law to guarantee minimum state funding of education in CRC Report #344

Proposal 2006-02: Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Report 343 ( September 2006 ) 47 pages

The Citizens Research Council has released its analysis of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative proposal. At the November 7, 2006, general election Michigan voters will be presented with a proposal to add Section 26 to Article I of the 1963 Michigan Constitution "to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes."

Proposal 2006-02: Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Memo 1082 ( September 2006 ) 6 pages

Summarizes the analysis of the proposed constitutional amendment regarding the use of affirmative action preferences in CRC Report #343.

Proposal 2006-04: Eminent Domain
Report 342 ( September 2006 ) 32 pages

The Citizens Research Council has released its analysis of the proposed constitutional amendment regarding the use of eminent domain. At the November 7, 2006, general election Michigan voters will be presented with a proposal to amend Article X, Section 2 of the 1963 Michigan Constitution.

Proposal 2006-04: Eminent Domain
Memo 1081 ( September 2006 ) 6 pages

Summarizes the analysis of the proposed constitutional amendment regarding the use of eminent domain in CRC Report #342

Proposal 2006-03: A Referendum on Mourning Dove Hunting
Report 341 ( August 2006 ) 4 pages

At the November 7, 2006, general election Michigan voters will be presented with a referendum on Public Act 160 of 2004, which was an amendment to Public Act 451 of 1994. Act 160 reclassified the Mourning Dove as a game bird, as opposed to its previous song bird designation, and permitted Mourning Dove hunting, thus making Michigan the 41st state to permit Mourning Dove hunting.

Act 160 set a season for Mourning Dove hunting, imposed possession limits for the hunting season, and created guidelines for the Department of Natural Resources to follow in overseeing the Mourning Dove hunting season.

Proposal 2006-03 essentially pits birders against hunters. While hunters support Mourning Dove hunting because the birds are so abundant, birders enjoy these backyard guests due to the birds' attractive appearance and mournful call.

Proposal 2006-01: Constitutional Amendment to Protect DNR Funds
Report 340 ( August 2006 ) 10 pages

Proposal 2006-01 is a legislatively proposed constitutional amendment to protect nine funds and accounts for programs operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The amendment is intended to protect the funds and accounts that currently exist in Public Act 451 of 1994, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, from future diversions for purposes other than those intended. The language of the proposed amendment is nearly identical to current statute. The proposal would extend the length of the Michigan Constitution by 1,834 words, a full six percent. A lengthy and complex state Constitution limits the ability of lawmakers to exercise the judgment they were elected to provide.

CRC was able to identify only one diversion of resources from these funds and accounts in the recent past, a FY02 diversion of $7.8 million from the Waterways Fund to help balance the state's general fund budget. Some of the funds and accounts have seen their balances decline in recent years, but those declines can be traced to reduced participation in certain activities and a decline in support from the state general fund. The activities taxed for these funds and accounts are heavily dependent on the weather. There might be fewer hunters, fishermen, and snowmobilers when the weather does not cooperate, but expenditures are still made out of these funds, thus resulting in reduced balances. As the State's budget troubles have worsened, money these funds received from the general fund has decreased considerably, forcing the revenues from user fees to play a more substantial role in funding the programs.

Tax Revenue Comparison: Michigan and the U.S. Average
Memo 1080 ( June 2006 ) 8 pages

Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census shows that Michigan state and local taxes have moved much closer to the national averages over the last 25 years. Total tax revenues, both per capita and per $1,000 of personal income, are lower than the national average as are revenues from individual income and sales taxes. The property tax, despite Proposal A, is higher than the national average.

The Impact of the Taxation of Gasoline in Michigan
CRC Note 2006-01 ( May 2006 ) 4 pages.

High gasoline prices have engendered numerous discussions regarding the role of state taxation in gasoline pricing. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has analyzed the taxation of gasoline in Michigan and its effect on the pump price of gasoline and on state revenues.

Michiganís Budget Crisis and the Prospects for the Future
State Budget Note 2006-01 ( March 2006 ) 11 pages

On March 14, CRC Director of State Affairs Tom Clay presented an analysis of the state budget problem to the conference "Where Do We Go From Here?" sponsored by the Center for Michigan, the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy within the Ford School of Public Policy.

The paper concluded that the general fund structural deficit is not going away and that eroding revenues and growing Medicaid and corrections spending are making it increasingly difficult to balance the budget.

 

 

 

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Last Updated July 9, 2007