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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  


2008 Publications

Federal Expenditures in Michigan, 2007
Note 2008-05 ( November 2008 ) 3 pages

The U.S. Bureau of the Census has released its report of Federal expenditures by state for Fiscal Year 2007. (Reports for FY2005 and FY2006 were released earlier this year.) Once again, Michigan's position in total Federal spending fell a notch, from 44th in 2006 to 45th in 2007. Michigan's rank in Federal grants to state and local government, however, rose to 36th in 2007 from 40th in 2006, largely as a result of increased Federal funding of the Michigan Medicaid program and funds for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

Provisions Related to Filling a Vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor
Note 2008-04 ( November 2008 ) 3 pages

The 1963 Michigan Constitution removed a provision for filling a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor that had existed in the prior Constitution. Should the lieutenant governor accede to the governorship, there would then be no lieutenant governor. This would affect both the executive and legislative branches of Michigan government.

Approaches to Consolidating Local Government Services
Report 354 ( November 2008 ) 45 pages and Memorandum 1089

The report describes three kinds of services-labor intensive, capital intensive, and technically intensive-and notes that the attributes of these services condition their suitability for interlocal consolidation.

"The first thing a local unit will want to do when it is considering consolidation," said Eric Lupher, CRC Director of Local Affairs, "is to determine what kind of service it is. Capital intensive and technically intensive services appear to be more amenable to joint provision than labor intensive services, based on our survey of local governments."

The purpose of consolidation is to achieve either economies of scale, in which the cooperating units can take advantage of lower unit costs by providing the service on a larger scale, or economies of skill, in which the services of employees with specialized skills can be spread over a larger number of units.

"Local governments can cooperate either horizontally, with other similar units, or vertically, with either their county or the State of Michigan," Lupher said.

Noting that start-up costs frequently discourage units from developing cooperative arrangements, Lupher said that the State of Michigan could offer incentives through revenue sharing that could make consolidation attractive.

Approaches to Consolidating Local Government Services
Memo 1089 ( November 2008 ) 8 pages

Summarizes Report 354

Proposal 2008-02: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Report 353 ( October 2008 ) 23 pages and Memorandum 1088

Michigan would join 47 other states in permitting research on human embryos and the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines in Michigan if Proposal 2008-02 is adopted by the voters on November 4. Current Michigan law is among the most restrictive in the nation. It prohibits non-therapeutic research that jeopardizes the life or health of a human embryo, fetus, or neonate, thereby precluding research on embryos to derive human embryonic stem cell lines. Researchers may, however, conduct research on embryonic stem cell lines created outside of Michigan and may study adult stem cells. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released its analysis of the proposed constitutional amendment that would remove these prohibitions.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos by in vitro fertilization. A greater number of embryos are produced than are necessary or suitable for implantation resulting in "excess" embryos.

"Fertility patients have four options for these embryos," said Jill Roof, CRC research associate. "They can store them, donate them to others seeking fertility treatment, discard them as medical waste, or donate them to research. If Proposal 2008-02 passes, Michigan scientists will be able to conduct research using donated embryos and derive their own embryonic stem cells rather than relying on those from other states that may not meet their needs."

The analysis covers many issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research raised by both proponents and opponents and provides a ready reference for the various kinds of stem cells studied in regenerative medicine.

Proposal 2008-02: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Memo 1088 ( October 2008 ) 6 pages

Summarizes Report 353

Proposal 2008-01: Medical Marijuana
Report 352 ( September 2008 ) 16 pages

Proposal 2008-01 on the November 4 statewide ballot would make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This was one of the findings of the analysis of the proposal released today by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The proposal would seek to protect qualified patients and physicians from arrest and other penalties for using or recommending marijuana for medical purposes. It would require the Michigan Department of Community Health to administer a medical marijuana registry and permit a primary caregiver to provide marijuana to patients upon written certification by a physician. No patient could have more than one caregiver and no caregiver could assist more than five patients.

The law would not legalize recreational use of marijuana and there is no convincing evidence from other states that legalization of medical marijuana has led to an increase in illicit use.

If adopted, the law would create a potential for conflict with federal drug laws in Michigan, although federal law enforcement tends to be limited to manufacture and sale, rather than use.

Proposal 2008-01: Medical Marijuana
Memo 1087 ( September 2008 ) 2 pages

Summarizes Report 352

Federal Expenditures in Michigan, 2006
Report 351 ( September 2008 ) 30 pages

Per capita federal expenditures in Michigan in Michigan rose from $6,414 in fiscal year 2005 to $6,671 in fiscal year 2006, but Michigan's rank among the 50 states fell from 43rd to 44th. If Michigan had received the same per capita amount as the average of the other states, $15.4 billion more in federal spending would have occurred in Michigan. This is one of the principal findings of a new report (Federal Expenditures in Michigan, 2006) released by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Michigan tends to do fairly well in receiving Social Security, Medicare, and other income supplement programs, but in major areas, such as transportation and education, Michigan receives substantially less than the average.

State and local governments in Michigan did not fare much better, falling from 37th in FY05 to 40th in FY06, with the actual amount declining by $467.5 million. Increases in housing and urban development and justice were more than offset by a major decline in funding for health and human services programs.

Detroit City Charter Provisions for Filling Vacancies
Note 2008-03 ( September 2008 ) 2 pages

How long will present City Council President Kenneth Cockrel serve as Mayor? Will he serve out the remainder of Mayor Kilpatrick's term? If not, what are the provisions for electing a new Mayor of the City of Detroit?

Read this paper for a clear explanation of the options involved in mayoral succession and the ways in which both the Detroit City Charter and Michigan law affect these options.

Growth in Michigan's Corrections System: Historical and Comparative Perspectives
Report 350 ( June 2008 ) 47 pages

This study is intended to put the long-term growth in Michigan's prison population and Corrections spending into an informed historical and comparative perspective in order to help initiate a reasoned, fact-based public debate of policy options.

With an incarceration rate of 489 persons per 100,000 residents, Michigan far exceeds the average incarceration rates for the surrounding Great Lakes* states (338 per 100,000) and the U.S. average state incarceration rate (435 per 100,000).

The single most important contributing factor to the growth of Michigan's incarceration rate has been average prisoner length of stay, which lengthened from 28.4 months in prison in 1981 to 43.5 months by 2005.

Growth in Michigan's Corrections System: Historical and Comparative Perspectives
Note 2008-02 ( June 2008 ) 2 pages

Summarizes Report 350

Michigan's Fiscal Future
Report 349 ( May 2008 ) 152 pages

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan projects that Michigan's budget challenge will continue to grow through Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) because virtually every area of the State budget faces spending pressure increases that outpace projected revenue growth. This "structural deficit" will persist even as the economy improves.

Provisions in the Michigan Constitution require the Governor and Legislature to take annual actions to keep current spending in line with current revenues. The CRC projections in Michigan's Fiscal Future quantify that absent those requirements and without substantial policy changes, structural deficits in Michigan's General Fund, K-12 education finances, and highway finances -- by FY17 - would grow to:

  • $6.0 billion in the state General Fund
  • $3.6 billion in K-12 education finances
  • $417 million in the state highway program

Using a well-established regional economic forecasting model, CRC and the W.E. Upjohn Institute collaborated on an analysis of Michigan's future state budget challenges from FY09 through FY17. The analysis is based on a series of assumptions about the performance of Michigan's economy between 2007 and 2017. This new analysis covers budgets supported by three major state funds: General Fund (GF), School Aid Fund (SAF), and the Michigan Transportation Fund. Major changes in the State's tax structure made in 2007 that will affect future State revenues have been factored into this analysis as have two series of tax cuts required by state law for FY09 and beyond.

Michigan's Fiscal Future
Memorandum 1086 ( May 2008 ) 8 pages

Summarizes Report 349

Federal Expenditures in Michigan
Report 348 ( March 2008 ) 28 pages

In 2005 (the most recent year for which data are available), Michigan had 3.41 percent of the nationís population, but received only 2.84 percent of all federal expenditures and obligations paid to governmental, non-profit, and for-profit entities and individuals. During the same period, Michigan state and local governments received 3.0 percent of outlays from federal grants and payments programs. If this state had received a proportion of federal payments identical to its share of population, an additional $13.0 billion would have been transferred from the federal government to governmental and nongovernmental recipients in Michigan. Included in that $13.0 billion would have been $1.6 billion in payments to the State of Michigan and Michigan local governments.

This new report from Citizens Research Council analyzes federal payments for retirement and disability, grant awards, procurement contracts, salaries and wages, and other direct payments made to governmental and non-governmental entities, as well as federal grants and payments to state and local governments. The analysis identifies federal agencies from which payments are made, types of payments, specific federal programs that disproportionately benefited Michigan and federal programs that should be scrutinized to determine whether benefits to Michigan can be increased.

The analysis suggests that more could be done to maximize potential payments from existing federal programs and to refine existing, or shape new federal programs to better meet Michigan needs.

Improving the Efficiency of Michigan's Highway Revenue Sharing Formula
Note 2008-01, ( February 2008 ) 1 page

Summarizes Memo 1085

Improving the Efficiency of Michigan's Highway Revenue Sharing Formula
Memo 1085, ( February 2008 ) 14 pages

Michigan's state highway funding formula, which has changed only slightly since its adoption in 1951 fails to take into account highway use in distributing dollars to counties, instead using mileage. As a result, highway funding is skewed toward lesser traveled rural roads at the expense of heavily traveled urban routes.

This is the main finding of a new study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The report, Improving the Efficiency of Michigan's Highway Revenue Sharing Formula, notes that, while mileage was once the only reasonable way of allocating highway dollars, it is now possible to use vehicle miles traveled as one part of the formula. Doing so could more equitably and efficiently allocate Michigan highway revenues, which are growing very slowly.

The study provides three illustrative scenarios demonstrating the kinds of shifts in funding that could be produced by injecting measures of road use into the formula, both with and without additional funding.

 

 

 

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Last Updated May 14, 2009