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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  

2012 Publications

A Summary of the November 2012 Statewide Ballot Issues
Memo 1122 ( October 2012 ) 4 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will vote on a referendum and decide whether to amend the Michigan Constitution with five proposed amendments.

This paper a summary of the six statewide ballot proposals to provide brief explanations of each question, identify the implications if each question passes or is rejected, and offer some major issues to consider. The content is based on the more in-depth analyses of each question.

Statewide Ballot Issue: Proposal 2012-06
Vote Requirement for International Crossings

Memo 1121 ( September 2012 ) 6 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will decide whether to amend the Michigan Constitution to add a requirement for a statewide vote before the State of Michigan constructs or finances new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles.

This is an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that describes the provisions of the amendment, the importance of international crossings, and the recently signed interlocal agreement with the Canadian government. The report looks at the unique provisions in the amendment for seeking a vote of the people and ambiguous language that would seem to suggest that the amendment and vote requirement could apply to far more than the crossing of the Detroit River that the amendment was designed to prevent or delay.

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-05
Two-Thirds Vote to Increase State Taxes

Memo 1120 ( September 2012 ) 6 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will determine whether the Michigan Constitution should be amended to require either an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members serving in each chamber of the Michigan legislature (House of Representatives and Senate), or an affirmative vote of Michigan electors at a November election in order to; a) impose new state taxes, b) expand the base of a state tax, or c) increase the rate of a state tax.

This is an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that looks at what taxes would be covered and current supermajority vote requirements in the Michigan Constitution. The analysis considers how this tax limitation would interact with Michigan's existing tax and expenditure limitations, looks at similar requirements in other states, and considers a number of arguments that can be made for and against this proposed amendment.

Statewide Ballot Issue: Proposal 2012-04
Establishing the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and
Provide Limited Collective Bargaining Rights to Home Health Care Workers

Memo 1119 ( September 2012 ) 7 pages

This is an analysis of a proposed constitutional amendment to provide limited collective bargaining rights to home health care workers and to establish a Michigan Quality Home Care Council. Proposal 2012-04 will appear on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot.

The elderly or disabled beneficiaries of the Medicaid-funded Home Help Services Program employ home health care aides, who are often family members or friends, to assist them to stay in their own homes and out of nursing homes. While the aides are hired and fired by the program enrollees, they are paid by the Michigan Department of Community Health through the state and federally funded Home Help Services Program. That program will not be affected by the vote on Proposal 2012-04.

If Proposal 2012-04 is approved, the Michigan Quality Home Care Council would be established in the state constitution and would serve as the "public employer" of home health care aides for purposes of collective bargaining on wages and terms and conditions of employment. The Council would create a statewide registry of home health care aides, though patients would not be required to hire from that registry. The Council could offer training to aides and patients. This union-supported constitutional amendment would guarantee the collective bargaining rights of home health care aides (currently, only state police troopers and sergeants have collective bargaining rights enshrined in the state constitution), but aides would not be considered state employees for any other purpose, and would not be authorized to strike.

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-03
Renewable Energy

Memo 1118 ( September 2012 ) 14 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will decide whether to amend the Michigan Constitution to require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable sources.

This is an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that describes the provisions of the amendment and explains the issue of renewable energy. The report compares renewable energy production in Michigan to other states, examines constitutional issues that are unique to a proposal such as this, looks at how Michigan's renewable energy law would have to change to carry out the provisions of the amendment, and explores issues related to energy production and transmission that would affect the electric utilities.

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-02
Collective Bargaining Rights

Memo 1117 ( September 2012 ) 8 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will determine whether the state should enshrine in the Michigan Constitution collective bargaining rights for public and private sector employees.

This is an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that describes the provisions of the amendment, the interaction of federal and state laws on collective bargaining, and the issues created by the proposal.

The amendment would prohibit "right-to-work" legislation, but just as significant are the ways in which the laws affecting public sector workers could be dramatically altered by the provisions contained in the amendment. State laws, not federal laws, create requirements and set boundaries on the matters subject to negotiation with respect to collective bargaining between public sector employers and public employee representatives.

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-01
Referendum On Public Act 4 Of 2011, The Local Government And School District Fiscal Accountability Act

Memo 1116 ( September 2012 ) 7 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will determine whether Public Act 4 of 2011, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, will be repealed.

This report analyzes this initiated referendum that describes PA 4, the law that allows state appointment of emergency managers for local governments that are found to have financial emergencies. The report reviews the history of similar laws in Michigan, the application of PA 4, and the differences between this law and previous approaches to local fiscal emergencies. Of particular importance are the enhanced power of emergency managers under PA 4, including the authority to abrogate contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and the terms associated with consent agreements negotiated under the statute.

At the time PA 4 was adopted, supporters claimed the intent of the law was to encourage locally elected officials to make hard budget decisions in a time of economic difficulties. Critics note that those economic difficulties were exacerbated by severe reductions in state shared revenues.

Inserting Legal Code into the Michigan Constitution
Memo 1115 ( September 2012 ) 4 pages

Following the ruling of the Michigan Supreme Court this week, Michigan electors are in line to vote on five proposed constitutional amendments at the November 6, 2012, general election dealing with matters of renewable energy, unionization of home health care workers, collective bargaining, state tax limitation, and international crossings. A review of the proposed amendments reveals that several are quite lengthy, go into substantial technical detail, and deal with issues that would be found in statutory law, not in the constitutions, of most states.

This paper explores the seemingly increased trend of policy advocates targeting the constitution in their initiative efforts rather than attempting to initiate law.

Education Reform: Teacher Tenure and Collective Bargaining
Report 380 ( July 2012 ) 50 pages

A flurry of legislative activity in 2011, both in Michigan and in other states, addressed teacher tenure and public sector collective bargaining. This report describes the Michigan reforms and places changes in Michigan statutes in the context of history and of changes occurring in other states.

In Michigan, the state government exercises very extensive control over public education: the state School Aid Fund, rather than local property taxes, is the primary funding source for public schools; the Teacher Tenure Act is a state law; the state manages the Public School Employees Retirement System; the state is empowered to take over school districts that are in financial or academic distress. In 2011, the state legislature increased state control over the operation of local school districts through a series of public acts. Legislated changes lengthened standard probationary periods for teachers, required more rigorous formal evaluations, accelerated the due process timeframe for firing teachers, and restricted allowable subjects of collective bargaining. These changes, which both increased management control and increased management responsibilities, were intended as well to reduce costs. The eventual effect on children's education is as yet unknown.

Options to Address School District Accumulated Deficits
Memo 1114 ( July 2012 ) 4 pages

On Monday, July 9, the newly formed board of the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy signed an agreement with a charter school operator to provide all educational services to all of the Muskegon Heights School District beginning in fall 2012. This action effectively converts the entire school district to a charter school, which is part of the plan crafted by the emergency manager appointed under Public Act 4 of 2011 to simultaneously address the district's lingering financial deficits and ensure the necessary educational services are provided to the children in the district. As identified in CRC's June report, State Bailouts to Erase School District Accumulated Deficits, this plan will result in additional state funds being provided to the district to help eliminate the past deficit.

As a follow up to the previous report on the topic, this report highlights options for state policymakers to consider when dealing with school district accumulated deficits in fiscally failing districts. The options include, charter conversion, a direct state appropriation, an additional local tax, and district consolidation with state assumption of deficit. These options are presented in light of the Muskegon Heights plan, which is being pursued without a clear statewide policy and without the direct involvement of the Michigan legislature.

This report concludes that a state policy to provide additional resources specifically for past deficit elimination should, at a minimum, be transparent, equitable, transferable, and consistent with other reforms. Also, the additional resources must be short-term in nature and be accompanied by long-lasting governance, financial management, and educational reforms to ensure that distressed districts will not be seeking forgiveness again in 10-15 years.

Using State Shared Revenues to Incentivize Local Government Behavior
State Budget Note 2012-03 ( July 2012 ) 10 pages

Governor Snyder signed the $49 billion fiscal year 2013 (FY2013) state budget on Tuesday, June 26. Tucked within the various appropriation line items and the related controlling provisions of the FY2013 budget is the second year of a policy shift in how the state shares its financial resources with sub-state entities - K-12 school districts and local governments. The main thrust of the shift requires these entities to engage in certain behaviors as a condition of receiving state dollars, as opposed to the previous practice of sharing state resources without "strings" attached.

This report examines the origins of the policy shift, including the provisions contained in the current budget (FY2012), and the continuation and expansion of the policy in the FY2013 budget. The report looks at the theory behind state revenue sharing programs and highlights various issues, both practical and legal, that are raised with the shift in policy. Chief among them is the tension between Michigan's tradition of local control and the State's interest incenting local governments to adopt changes that it views as best practices.

State Bailouts to Erase School District Accumulated Deficits
Memo 1113 ( June 2012 ) 5 pages

Beginning in the fall of 2012 all educational services in the Muskegon Heights School District will be turned over to a charter school operator and the District will no longer be involved in the direct provision of such services under a plan proposed by the state-appointed emergency manager. This plan would be implemented under Public Act 4 of 2011. As part of this "charter conversion" plan, the District's multi-year accumulated operating deficit, projected to be $12 million as of June 30, 2012, effectively will be eliminated through a state bailout.

CRC Memorandum State Bailouts to Erase School District Accumulated Deficits explores the plans being proffered by the Muskegon Heights School District emergency manager and what they mean for the District and the state at-large.

The state bailout comes as a result of the unique interaction of Public Act 4 and the architecture of the per-pupil foundation grant, the primary school operating funding source. By turning educational services over to a charter school operator, the Muskegon Heights School District will be able to retain 100 percent of proceeds from the local 18-mill school operating tax to finance its accumulated deficit; effectively redirecting the use of this dedicated millage. To make up for the lost local revenues used to finance the foundation grant, additional state School Aid Fund dollars will be provided, dollar-for-dollar. Thus, the foundation grant will be financed 100 percent by the School Aid Fund. In total, this bailout is expected to cost other districts in the state approximately $840,000 each year.

Both the conversion of the entire district to a charter school and the attendant increase in state funds that comes with the new foundation grant occurs without state legislative deliberations or actions. While it is entirely possible that a state bailout is the only option available, the method in which this will occur is not completely transparent nor is it the product of a consistent state policy concerning the provision of additional resources to financially distressed school districts.

Michigan's Recall Election Law
Report 379 ( June 2012 ) 39 pages

While Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall election may be grabbing headlines this week, the reality is that recall is much more common in Michigan than in Wisconsin. A new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Michigan's Recall Election Law provides an in-depth examination of this topic and looks at trends in Michigan's use of recall, state law, and how Michigan's recall provisions vary from other states.

At least 457 state and local elected officials faced a recall election in Michigan between 2000 and 2011, an average of 38 per year. Although recall attempts aimed at state office holders garner the most attention, recall is primarily a local phenomenon. Just two of the 457 recall elections involved state officials (Speaker of the House Andy Dillon in 2008 and State Representative Paul Scott in 2011).

Recall elections in Michigan have been overwhelming targeted at non-county general purpose local governments (cities, villages, and townships). City, village, and township officials comprise 67 percent of the elected officials eligible to be recalled and 89 percent of those subjected to recalls during this time period. Township officials alone represent 41 percent of the elected officials eligible to be recalled and 65 percent of those subjected to recalls during this time period.

Compared to other states, Michigan appears to have a high number of recall elections. Reasons for Michigan's large number of recall elections include its high number of elected officials relative to other states as well as certain provisions in Michigan's recall law such as allowing recalls for political reasons rather than limiting recall to specific reasons such as misfeasance or malfeasance.

CRC finds that the financial cost associated with recall elections is relatively low. Based on one set of assumptions, the cost of recall elections to Michigan's local governments in 2011 was $133,713.

"Critics of recall argue that the device can deter elected officials from making difficult but necessary decisions by striking fear into the deliberative process." said CRC Earhart Fellow Mike King. "However, recall proponents counter that elected officials should pay close attention to their constituents, and that what critics fear is a distraction is actually the path to good governance."

Reconcilable Differences - Towards Completion of the FY2013 State Budget
State Budget Note 2012-02 ( May 2012 ) 7 pages

Recently, the framework for next year's state budget (fiscal year 2013) began to take shape when both legislative chambers passed their respective spending plans. Eyeing a June 1 deadline, both chambers have offered their responses to Governor Snyder's Executive Budget issued in February. Both legislative proposals reduce the General Fund appropriation recommendation included in the Executive Budget. Although the proposals share some key similarities, there are key differences in a number of areas, including funding for K-12 education.

The paper looks at the main components of each legislative proposal and examines how they differ and what issues will need to be resolved through negotiation. Final budget development will also have to consider the Governor's recommendations. Although total budgeted amounts in some areas are similar across all three iterations, beneath these totals lie notable differences in the details - how dollars are allocated across programs, services, and sub-state entities.

Detroit City Government Organization: Departments, Funds, and Deficits
Memo 1112 ( April 2012 ) 10 pages

Citizens Research Council is pleased to announce the publication of a new report on the financial organization and structure the City of Detroit municipal government. This report is part of a series occasioned by the city’s narrowly averted cash crisis, by state intervention under Public Act 4 of 2011 and the adoption of a consent agreement establishing a Financial Advisory Board, and by continuing efforts to find effective solutions to intractable municipal problems.

The report describes the accounting and operational structure of the city government and includes a list of definitions related to budgeting and accounting. Future reports on Detroit will describe changes to the city’s economic base, city government revenues and expenditures, the budget process, staffing and wages, debt and credit ratings, and other factors affecting the city government’s financial condition.

Financing Special Education: Analyses and Challenges
Report 378 ( March 2012 ) 65 pages

K-12 education and school funding have become perennial public policy issues discussed at local school board meetings, community and parent gatherings, and throughout the halls of the state Capitol. With respect to financial matters, debate often focuses on the near-term - budgets and funding decisions for the current and next years. However, this very important topic requires thoughtful debate that must consider the long-term perspective.

CRC's new report tackles the complex, and often confusing, web of fiscal issues surrounding the education of nearly 225,000 special education students each year, almost 14 percent of all students in public education. The report collects and synthesizes data from various sources, including the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Treasury, and individual intermediate school districts (ISD) to develop a comprehensive picture of special education finances - something that does not exist in a single source because of the structure of the finance system.

In addition to providing an explanation and review of the structure and history of special education finances in Michigan, CRC's research reveals fairly significant differences among school districts in a number of key areas;

  • concentration and distribution of special education students across school districts,
  • per-pupil revenues/spending,
  • revenue growth over time, and
  • property wealth and reliance on local property taxes,

In addition to looking at historical financial data, the report examines the challenges, prospectively, associated with financing special education. These challenges arise from state and federal mandates to provide specific services, but also from state and local revenue performance. Unlike general K-12 education funding that is controlled by state policymakers and financed by state taxes (the result of Proposal A of 1994), special education spending remains under the control of local schools and largely dependent on dedicated local property taxes. The report also highlights how state property tax limitations affect the resource base available to schools and the impact of the downturn in property values.

State Oversight: The New York Approach
Note 2012-02 ( March 2012 ) 4 pages

As Detroit and Michigan officials work to resolve the financial crisis facing this state’s largest city, it may be instructive to revisit a similar situation: the 1975 financial crisis in New York City. Comparing the factors that led to the crisis, the negotiations, and the structure that was put in place to resolve the crisis and place New York City firmly on the road to financial recovery and sound budgeting and financial management may help in assessing the state’s efforts to ensure a viable future for Detroit.

Differences in Proposed Consent Agreements between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan
Note 2012-01 ( March 2012 ) 2 pages

The City of Detroit has projected that it may run out of cash in May.

As the 30 day extension of the Review Team's allotted time to evaluate the financial condition of Detroit city government neared its end without agreement on a plan that could prevent appointment of an emergency manager, State Treasurer Andy Dillon delivered a proposed draft consent agreement to the state appointed Review Team and the Mayor on March 12th.

Amidst an outpouring of local political opposition to, and general editorial support for, the state proposal, Mayor Bing proposed an alternative consent agreement which differed in crucial ways from the Treasurer's plan. The Mayor's plan would also establish a Financial Advisory Board, but with differently appointed members and different authority.

Education Reform: Teacher Performance Management Systems
Report 377 ( March 2012 ) 34 pages

The second in a miniseries on teachers and teaching, Education Reform: Teacher Performance Management Systems confirms the importance of good teaching and the challenges associated with systems that have been used to, and will in the future, measure the quality of teachers. Historically, teacher evaluations found nearly all teachers to be satisfactory or better, even in districts with very low student performance. Parents and policymakers are increasingly demanding that teachers be evaluated using measures of student achievement gains.

Student centered data systems based on standardized test results and developed in response to the federal No Child Left Behind law form the basis of achievement based evaluation strategies. Classroom observations of teachers by trained observers add valuable information. Teacher evaluations that inform tenure decisions, assignments, wages, professional development, and termination decisions are intended to increase the quality of teaching and learning. However, some of the key components of student test based systems have yet to be validated; use of students' standardized test scores is the metric least favored by teachers. One of the major policy decisions that will be required is whether to accommodate measures of poverty and other factors in setting standards for expected student achievement.

Public Act 102 of 2011 created the Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness to provide tools that improve teacher effectiveness. By April 30, 2012 the Council is to submit a report that includes a state evaluation tool for teachers. However, more than 40 percent of school districts have already sought waivers from the system's requirements, even though the Council has not yet submitted its recommendations.

Options for Managing Medicaid Funding and Cost Growth
Report 376 ( February 2012 ) 88 pages

Nearly 1 in every 5 Michigan residents is currently enrolled in Medicaid - a state operated medical insurance program for low income individuals and families that is co-financed by the state and federal governments. Because of the state's nearly decade long recession beginning in Fiscal Year 2002, demand for this program increased, growing enrollment nearly 60 percent. In the current fiscal year, over 15 percent of Michigan's spending from state sources is appropriated to Medicaid, up from less than ten percent a decade ago and despite a nearly 16 percent decline in real total state spending from state sources. As a result, while Medicaid's budget increased 30 percent in inflation adjusted terms, most other state budget areas declined: revenue sharing for local governments (-47.0 percent); higher education (-45.4 percent); community colleges (-25.7 percent); human services (-21.3 percent); K-12 school aid (-21.2 percent); and corrections (-2.3 percent).

Medicaid's growing share of the budget is due in part to the structural imbalance between Medicaid revenues and spending. Medicaid costs are growing at a faster rate than the overall economy, and consequently, the revenue base used to support the program.

The major topics covered in the new CRC report include:

  • A look at the structural imbalance between Medicaid revenues and spending, the cost drivers magnifying the problem, and Medicaid's impact on other state budget areas.
  • The federal government's role in Medicaid including financing, oversight, and the impact of federal health care reform.
  • Finance and spending trends and components.
  • Policy options to increase Medicaid revenues and to address expenditure growth in ways that do not directly shift cost or health burdens on to providers or Medicaid beneficiaries.

Stabilized State Budget and Rainy Day Fund Deposits Improve State's Cash Position
State Budget Note 2012-01 ( February 2012 ) 5 pages

While the State of Michigan's final audited figures for Fiscal Year 2011 are not complete, recent evidence suggests that state policymakers have reversed course over the past five years and have taken steps to address the state's once very weak cash position. The report documents the recent improvements in the state's cash position, and urges lawmakers to continue to maintain a focus on this important indicator of the state's overall financial health.

In the spring of 2007 it was feared that the state, grappling with an ongoing structural budget deficit and worsening revenue estimates, was in danger of running out of cash and unable to pay its bills. To address the immediate cash shortfall, the state changed the date of its monthly school aid payments. The cash shortfall was the result of the extraordinary steps taken to maintain short-term state budget balance, but which ultimately proved detrimental to the state's underlying cash position and cash flow. Eventually, state taxes were raised in the fall of 2007 and over the next few years, state spending was brought into alignment with the amount of ongoing revenues.

As a result of recent policy choices, the state's year-end cash position has shown consistent improvement. However, at the end of Fiscal Year 2011, the state's cash reserves are nowhere close to where they were at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2000 and prior to the decade-long single-state recession when the state was sitting on $4.9 billion in reserves. At the end of Fiscal Year 2010 (most recent data), manageable common cash reserves stood at $1.4 billion.

The General, School Aid, and Budget Stabilization Funds represent the state's major funds and are intended to support state government programs and services, in addition to payments to local governments of all types. Throughout the early- to mid-2000s, the failure to address the state's structural budget deficit weakened the cash position of the major funds. While the major funds cash deficit still existed at the end of FY2010 ($374 million), it was well below the peak of $1.3 billion at the end of FY2006. Early indications suggest that the picture further improved at the end of FY2011 and the major funds deficit has been eliminated; the first time since FY2002.

State policymakers are in the midst of crafting a spending plan for FY2013. An improving national and state economy, along with sizeable estimated surpluses in the major funds going into FY2013, will create pressure to increase spending in some areas of the budget that have experienced reductions.

2009 Tax Revenue Comparison: Michigan and the U.S. Average
Memo 1111 ( February 2012 ) 18 pages

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released its analysis of recently released U.S. Census Bureau state and local government finance data. The Census data allow for easy comparisons of tax burdens across the 50 states. This publication provides historical and interstate comparisons of tax revenues.

Key findings from CRC's report include:

  • Michigan's total state and local tax burden has fallen relative to the U.S. On a per capita basis, Michigan has gone from 9th highest, with tax revenues 14 percent above the national average in 1979, to 32nd highest, with tax revenues 12 percent below the national average in 2009. Much of this drop can be explained by Michigan's prolonged poor economic performance.
  • Michigan state and local tax burden measured as a percent of personal income is 1.4 percent above the U.S. average. However, Michigan's tax burden has also declined under this measure. In 1979, Michigan ranked 13th highest, with tax revenues as a percent of personal income 8 percent above the U.S. average. By 2009, Michigan had fallen to 18th highest with tax revenues as a percent of personal income 1.4 percent above the U.S. average.
  • Although Michigan's economy fared substantially worse than the nation's during the 2009 recession, this poor economic performance did not materially affect Michigan's tax ranking. Michigan state and local taxes as a percent of personal income ticked up from 0.4 percent above the U.S. average in 2008 to 1.4 percent above in 2009. However, Michigan's tax ranking stayed at 18th highest. Michigan's relatively poor economic performance did affect Michigan's per capita tax burden ranking with Michigan falling from 30th highest in 2008 to 32nd highest in 2009.
  • Michigan had a relatively high reliance on property taxes in 2009, ranking 11th highest with tax revenues as a percent of income, 22 percent above the U.S. average. Despite the property tax relief efforts of Proposal A of 1994, the heavy reliance on property tax revenues to fund local governments keeps the property tax burden in Michigan above average.
  • Michigan general sales tax revenues were 11 percent above of the U.S. average in 2009, ranking 18th highest, but this ranking was inflated by the Census Bureau classifying a portion of the Michigan Business Tax as a sales tax. If you remove the MBT from the reported sales tax figure, Michigan would rank 31st highest. Michigan state and local individual income tax revenues ranked 35th highest, with the amount raised as a percent of personal income 17 percent below the U.S. average.
  • Michigan ranked 38th highest in corporate income tax revenues in 2009, but that was in large part because a significant portion of the MBT was classified as a sales tax by the Census Bureau, with the remainder placed in the corporate income tax category. Placing all of the MBT in the corporate income tax category would have resulted in Michigan having the 6th highest tax with a burden 83 percent above the U.S. average. The fact that many business taxes levied by states are not included in the Census Bureau's corporate income tax category means that this category is not a good measure for comparing the overall business tax burden across states.
  • In 2011, Michigan repealed the MBT and replaced it with a corporate income tax (CIT). The CIT is expected to raise $1.6 billion less than the MBT. These revenues were replaced in part with a $1.3 billion individual income tax increase. If these changes had been in place in 2009, Michigan would have ranked 46th highest in corporate income tax revenues as a percent of personal income, second lowest among states that levy a corporate income tax. Michigan's individual income tax ranking would have risen from 35th highest to 31st highest.

Streamlining Local Government Service Delivery in Lenawee County
Report 375 ( January 2012 ) 113 pages

This report examines the people, places, and governments in Lenawee County to identify opportunities for consolidation or collaboration among the local governments. The report, which considers existing service delivery and expenditure patterns, suggests services for which the communities might benefit by collaborating for their provision. The report was conducted at the request of One Lenawee, a citizen-led community development initiative that seeks to make Lenawee County a more desirable place to live, locate a business, and visit.

The Michigan economy, in the doldrums for more than a decade, has placed fiscal stress on local units of government, which are searching for ways to continue to provide services to their residents in an era of constrained revenues. One Lenawee contacted CRC with the stated goal of making Lenawee County "A community that controls its own destiny, has its own identity, saves tax dollars, and is attractive to new and existing businesses and residents."

Lenawee County has a population of about 100,000 people with 34 units of government, including four cities, seven villages, 22 townships, and the county government. The City of Adrian, Michigan's 52nd largest city and by far Lenawee County's largest, has 21 percent of the total population and the six largest governments constitute 57 percent of the county total. The other governments are either very small geographic entities with small populations or sparsely populated townships.

Education Reform: Pre and Post Employment Teacher Training
Report 374 ( January 2012 ) 42 pages

This paper examines teacher training both before and after certification and employment. Recent research demonstrates the importance of teachers to student success: a teacher one standard deviation above the mean can increase the present value of future earnings of a class of 20 by $400,000 each year. Similarly, replacing the lowest performing 5 to 8 percent of teachers with average teachers would increase overall economic growth significantly.

While there is agreement on the importance of teachers, there is little consensus on the best way to prepare teachers for teaching. The vast majority of Michigan teachers are prepared at one of 33 state recognized teacher training programs. Nationally about one-third of teachers hired since 2005 have come through alternative certification programs. These alternative programs are seen as a way to achieve a number of goals including: increasing the number of minority teachers, recruiting individuals with desirable occupational experience, and expanding the pool of math, science, or other specialty teachers.

Michigan is a net exporter of traditionally trained new teachers. The Michigan Education Association estimates that 5,000 of the 7,500 annual teacher training graduates leave the state each year. "The difference between the number of teachers we train each year and the number we can employ is dramatic," said CRC Senior Research Associate Bettie Buss. "While this may mean that Michigan has the opportunity to cherry pick the best teaching graduates, it also suggests that Michigan is not allocating scarce higher education resources in the most efficient manner."




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Last Updated October 5, 2012