Michigan residents are more dependent on government programs than ever before, according to an analysis done by Mackinac Center fiscal policy analyst James Hohman.

The “personal current transfer receipts” – or the amount of money people take from the government in the forms of programs such as unemployment benefits, Medicaid and Social Security benefits and other public assistance programs – has jumped from $39 billion in 2000 to $77 billion in 2009.

The percentage of income Michigan residents receive from government programs has also jumped during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s two terms. It went from 15 percent in 2003 to 23.2 percent in the third quarter of 2010. That’s eighth highest in the country. West Virginia leads the nation at 28.2 percent.

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“It says we have more people that rely on a government programs in order to pay the bills and to live,” Hohman said. “We are more dependent on these government programs than a decade ago. This has gone on without much attention. These are huge increases.”

Some of the increases are due to the state’s population getting older.

For example, social security payments increased from $16 billion in 2000 to $26 billion in 2009. Unemployment benefits increased from $919 million in 2000 to $6.6 billion in 2009. And public assistance-medical benefits, which include Medicaid, jumped from $6.7 billion in 2000 to $10.9 billion in 2009.

The figures don’t include state local and county government employee salaries.


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