Would public transit benefit Southeast Michigan? That’s the easy question. How to pay for it? That’s complicated.

In a nutshell: In Michigan, all types of local government levy property taxes to fund services. Many communities in Southeast Michigan are already levying property taxes at high rates, limiting the usefulness of the property tax as a funding source for re...

Revenue estimating projects a surplus. Now what to do with it.

In a nutshell: Economic growth is expected to continue at the same slow pace. Revised General Fund and School Aid Fund projections increase state revenues by about $500 million over the next two years; a 1 percent increase. Attention turns to the legislat...

Evaluating the Effects of Term Limits on the Michigan Legislature

A version of this post appeared in the May 8, 2018 Bridge Magazine In a Nutshell Legislative term limits in Michigan have failed to achieve their proponents’ stated goals: Ridding government of career politicians, increasing diversity among elected offi...

The Stakes for Michigan in the 2020 Census

A version of this post appeared in the May 3, 2108 Lansing State Journal In a Nutshell Besides counting people for apportioning representation in Congress, population count produced by census is used to allot federal and state funding Michigan’s pop...

When is a constitutional amendment not an amendment? When it’s a ‘general revision.’ It’s an important distinction this election year.

In a nutshell A citizen-led constitutional amendment to change Michigan’s redistricting process is aiming to get on the November 2018 ballot. The proposal has been challenged in court on the same grounds that prevented the 2008 Reform Michigan Governmen...

Lessons learned while studying Michigan’s urban and rural communities

Most of Michigan’s residents are located in the state’s urban areas, but those urban areas comprise little of the state’s land area. Relative to the rural areas, the populations in urban communities are growing faster, have more diversity in race an...

Filed your taxes, but still want more? We’ll catch you up on Michigan’s tax changes

In a nutshell The Tax Outline has been updated with 2017 and early 2018 changes. The state avoided tax incentives during the Snyder administration, which ends this year. 2017 reversed that course with two tax incentive programs. A software hiccup unexpect...

Hope springs eternal for the Detroit Public School District, at least its financial future

In a nutshell Detroit Public Schools Community District proposed budget for 2018-19 is balanced and grows year-end fund balance Student enrollment is held constant after enrollment gains in current-year from closure of 11 Education Achievement Authority s...

Assessing Health Risks is a Good Start. Now Let’s Get Serious and Do Something About Them.

In a nutshell: Michigan began moving individuals who failed to complete a Health Risk Assessment off of the Healthy Michigan Plan—Michigan’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act—and into marketplace health plans. These commercial heal...

Diversify Detroit’s Tax Structure to Lower the City’s High Property Tax Rate

In a nutshell: Detroit has the most diversified local tax structure in the state with exclusive access to higher tax rates and more tax options. Despite this diversified tax structure, Detroit levies property taxes at high rates compared to other cities i...