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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  


Housing Issues Issues

Housing

Article III -- General Government
Report 360-06 ( April 2010 ) 4 pages

The sixth in the Citizens Research Council of Michigan's series of papers about state constitutional issues focuses on General Government -- Article III of the 1963 Michigan Constitution.

Most of Article III contains provisions relating to the general structure of the state government, including designation of a state capital, separation of powers into three branches, and authorization for the governor and legislature to ask the opinion of the state supreme court on important questions of law.

Should a constitutional convention be convened, it would examine the provisions of Article III, General Government. Among the eight sections in Article III are three that are of special interest from a public policy perspective (and one of those only because of the use of the word "militia," the popular association of which has changed over time).

Section 4 provides that "The militia shall be organized, equipped and disciplined as provided by law." A constitutional convention could clarify the language of Article III, Section 4 to identify the Michigan National Guard as this state's militia.

Section 5 allows the state and local governments to enter into agreements with other states, the United States, Canada, or their political subdivisions, for the performance, financing, or execution of their functions, subject to other provisions of the constitution and general law.

Section 6 prohibits the state from participating in internal improvements, except as provided by law. Michigan continues to be one of many states with constitutions that include an internal improvements clause, which limits the state's ability to engage in capital projects. Judicial interpretations of states' internal improvements clauses are based on "essential" government purposes, "predominantly" governmental purposes, or other defining terms.

While the exception provided allows projects that receive legislative approval, the constitutional convention may wish to review the internal improvements clause to determine whether the conditions that justified the prohibition are still persuasive, and whether there are better approaches to protect taxpayers and ensure provision of modern infrastructure (e.g. high speed Internet connections) that is necessary to economic competitiveness and prosperity.

Housing Trust Funds: Barriers and Opportunities
Report 358 ( December 2009 ) 73 pages

Federal, state, and local governments have all implemented various programs aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing for low income residents. The loss of high wage, low skill jobs; the foreclosure crisis; tight credit; the national recession; and continuing problems in balancing the state budget have contributed to the need for new approaches to meet the challenge of affordable housing. While some communities are overwhelmed with vacant, foreclosed properties and dispossessed families, others are concerned with providing housing for low wage service workers, seniors, or special needs populations. The differences in regional economies within the state has resulted in a need for funding structures that can be adapted to meet particular low income housing needs.

The report also explores income metrics, federal low income housing programs, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, state constitutional issues, land trusts, and land banks.

Rent Control

pdf File Detroit Ballot Issue: Rent Control Ordinance,
CC 970, ( June 88 ) 6 pages

Describes a proposed ordinance that was designed to force landlords of substandard properties to bring their rental units into substantial compliance with healtha nd safety codes and to limit annual rent increases.

Building Regulations and Coded Enforcement

Public Housing (includes non-profit sponsored housing)

Housing Trust Funds: Barriers and Opportunities
Report 358 ( December 2009 ) 73 pages

Federal, state, and local governments have all implemented various programs aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing for low income residents. The loss of high wage, low skill jobs; the foreclosure crisis; tight credit; the national recession; and continuing problems in balancing the state budget have contributed to the need for new approaches to meet the challenge of affordable housing. While some communities are overwhelmed with vacant, foreclosed properties and dispossessed families, others are concerned with providing housing for low wage service workers, seniors, or special needs populations. The differences in regional economies within the state has resulted in a need for funding structures that can be adapted to meet particular low income housing needs.

The report also explores income metrics, federal low income housing programs, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, state constitutional issues, land trusts, and land banks.

Rent Supplement
Tenants Rights

Private Housing & Home Ownership & Financing ( includes mortgage revenue bonds)

 

 

 

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Last Updated April 28, 2010