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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  

2007 Publications

State and Local Government Employment, A Comparative Analysis
Memo 1084, ( December 2007 ) 16 pages

The State of Michigan has relatively fewer state and local employees than other states, but tends to compensate the state employees better than most other states according to a new report released by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

According to the study, State and Local Government Employment: A Comparative Analysis, in 2006:

  • Michigan ranked 45th of 50 states in the number of state and local employees per 10,000 residents, and 39th of 50 when only state employees are considered.
  • Because of its extensive system of community colleges and public universities, Michigan has more public employees relative to population in higher education.
  • In other areas, including police and fire protection and corrections, Michigan is below the national average.

With respect to state employees only, the average base salary ranged from $28,100 in Mississippi to $69,100 in California, with 41 states participating in a February 2007 survey conducted by the Association of State Personnel Executives. Michigan ranked 6th at $49,700. Average fringe benefits for Michigan state employees, largely consisting of pension and health care benefits, were $25,700, which ranked 3rd behind Alaska and Nebraska.

Legislative Term Limits and Full-Time and Part-Time Legislatures
Note 2007-03, ( June 2007 ) 4 pages

Proposals for a part time legislature have resurfaced in Lansing as part of discussions on restructuring and reducing the cost of state government. Unless the state's Constitution is amended, any proposed new restrictions on the duration of legislative sessions would be superimposed on Michigan's existing legislative term limits, which are among the most restrictive in the nation. In its most recent CRC Note, Citizens Research Council examines the interplay of term limits and full- and part-time legislatures in the 50 states.

Michigan is one of only four states that have a full-time legislature that is paid accordingly; seven other states have a nearly full-time legislature. Of the 15 states that currently have legislative term limits, Michigan and California have true full-time legislatures, while Florida and Ohio have nearly full-time legislatures. Term limited legislatures in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are considered hybrid, in that legislators typically spend about two-thirds of the time that would be required by a full-time job, although regular legislative sessions may be scheduled for only a few months of the year. Maine, Montana, Nevada, and South Dakota have both legislative term limits and part-time legislatures, in which legislators spend less than half of the time that a full-time job would require.

Michigan is in the ironic position of having no restrictions on the length of its legislative sessions while at the same time having one of the most stringent term limit restrictions in the nation.

State Budget "Balance" for FY2007 Achieved with $1 Billion in Additional Non-Recurring Resources
State Budget Note 2007-01 ( June 2007 ) 2 pages

Going into Fiscal Year 2007 the State of Michigan had used $6.8 billion in non-recurring resources to meet the constitutional balanced budget requirement. The recent agreement on the FY2007 budget has increased that total by $1.015 billion adding new challenges to achieving a structurally balanced budget.

Survey of Economic Development Programs in Michigan: Second Edition
Report 347, ( June 2007 ) 162 pages

The second edition is a greatly revised and updated edition of its Survey of Economic Development Programs in Michigan. The survey provides information on 46 state, local, and certain federal programs aimed at providing assistance in economic development.

Covered are grants, loans, tax abatements, authorities, training, and other kinds of state and local options available to support economic development. The summary for each program provides its statutory authority, purpose, eligibility, application procedures, administrative structure, and contact information. It also contains program activity data for several of the programs.

Michigan's Deteriorating Cash Position
Note 2007-02 ( May 2007 ) 8 pages

Actions to maintain balance in the State general and school aid funds since Fiscal Year 2001 have relied heavily on the depletion of reserves and the use of one-time accounting maneuvers, which have served to erode the State cash position, by $4.2 billion. Actions to balance the FY07 and FY08 budgets will be subject to the realities of cash constraints brought about by failure to resolve the underlying structural deficit.

Authorization for Interlocal Agreements and Intergovernmental Cooperation in Michigan
Report 346, ( April 2007 ) 111 pages

Municipal officials have three options for dealing with the fiscal and operational pressures on local government finances: 1) increase taxes to yield more revenues; 2) cut spending to meet available revenues; or 3) find alternative methods of providing services at current levels for less money. One such alternative is collaboration with other local governmental units to perform functions and provide services.

To aid local government officials in their efforts to collaborate, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has published Authorization for Interlocal Agreements and Intergovernmental Cooperation in Michigan, a new outline of the Michigan laws that authorize joint service provision. The 77 provisions in Michigan law are presented in outline form to provide legal citations, describe the functions or services that can be jointly provided, list the types of governments eligible to use the laws, detail the steps needed to implement the laws, describe the governing bodies charged with oversight of the service provision, and explore the financial powers gained by utilizing these laws.

Local Ballot Issues in the 2006 General Election
Note 2007-01 ( April 2007 ) 6 pages

"Local Ballot Issues in the 2006 General Election," just released by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, analyses the results of local ballot proposals related to tax and governance issues. This is the third analysis of local ballot results in the past four years. Tax issues tended to be successful in past elections (52.3% approval in 2002 and 59.2% approval in 2004), but tax issues in the 2006 general election were only successful 47.6% of the time. Almost half of the governance issues were submitted by cities and villages seeking voter approval of revised charters or amendments to their existing charters. Less than one third of these issues received voter approval.

Regional Approaches to Economic Development
Report 345 ( February 2007 ) 66 pages

CRC is issuing a new series of reports on economic development. The series, entitled "Regional Approaches to Economic Development," is designed to provide pertinent information and recommendations for policy makers and citizens about a topic that is fundamental to the future of our state.

Part 1: The Challenge of Economic Development
Report 345-1 ( February 2007 ) 16 pages

The first of this four-part series reviews various definitions of, and metrics for, economic development and will explain why regions are an appropriate basis for economic development efforts.

Part 2: The Organizational Structure of Economic Development in Michigan
Report 345-2 ( February 2007 ) 16 pages

The second installment of this four-part series focuses on the many types of regional economic development organizational structures in an effort to explore how regional players coalesce around economic development goals and to identify best practices which may be applicable in Michigan.

Part 3: Survey of Regional Economic Development Organizations
Report 345-3 ( March 2007 ) 26 pages

The third component explores the results of a nationwide survey of regional economic development organizations in order to determine the roles and effectiveness of various kinds of regional economic development entities.

Part 4: The Organizational Structure of Economic Development in Michigan
Report 345-4 ( March 2007 ) 17 pages

The final installment describes many of the sometimes contradictory theoretical and programmatic approaches to economic development.

Revised Outline of the Michigan Tax System
Report 327 ( January 2007 ) 84 pages

The popular Outline of the Michigan Tax System has been updated to reflect changes to the tax laws through the end of December 2006. As is CRC's practice, this document is available both in pdf form for download and in html with links to tax laws, administrative agencies, and revenue trend charts. With tax reform a main item on the legislative agenda in 2007, this document will serve an important role in helping to understand the taxes currently in place.




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Last Updated May 15, 2008