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Fixing Michigan's Fiscal Policy- 2006 Edition

The symptoms described, and prescriptions for recovery

Michigan's economy has been losing ground to other states for half a century. Here's how to turn it around. more

Fixing Michigan's Fiscal Policy- 2005 Edition

As a service to citizens "Michigan's Budget Challenge" provides "one-stop shopping" for those seeking more information about current budget issues facing state government. This Web site contains links to budget analysis from government and non-government experts; budget bills and related legislation; news stories and editorials from Michigan's leading newspapers; commentary from various sources; spending cut studies and articles; and concise, objective, plain-language descriptions of budget bills and related legislation from

NEW - Overview of "Omnibus" State Budget passed by the House on June 9, 2005.


PROPOSAL 02-4: Reallocation of Tobacco Lawsuit Proceeds

Should Michigan voters amend the Constitution to reallocate tobacco lawsuit proceeds?

The initiative would change the way money from the national tobacco lawsuit settlement is spent in Michigan. It would mandate that fixed percentages of the settlement proceeds be spent each year on certain specified items and groups. The mandate would be a part of the Constitution.


PROPOSAL 02-1: Referendum on Straight Ticket Voting Legislation

Should Michigan voters approve a new law that eliminates single-action straight ticket voting?

Brief Overview

In December of 2001, Republican majorities in the Michigan House and Senate passed a bill to remove the single-action straight party (or “straight ticket”) voting option from ballots in the state. (See vote details.) Currently, general election ballots provide an option whereby voters can with a single mark on the ballot vote for either all Democrats or all Republicans in every partisan contest. Many contests are not partisan, such as judges, local officials, and initiatives and referenda, and a voter must still make individual choices on these.

The Michigan Democratic Party sponsored a petition drive which successfully placed the legislation on the ballot for a referendum. Under the Constitution, none of its provisions will go into effect unless a majority of voters on Nov. 5 answer “yes” to the question, “Should this law be approved?” Because of the referendum, the single-action straight party voting option will still appear on ballots in the Nov. 5, 2002 general election.


PROPOSAL 02-2: Bond Authority for Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

Should Michigan voters approve $1 billion in new debt for local sewer projects?

Brief Overview

In May of 2002 the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed with the required 2/3 majorities, a measure to place a bond proposal before Michigan voters at the 2002 General Election on November 5, 2002. (See vote details.) Michigan law requires a vote of the people to increase state debt. If passed, this proposal would authorize the state to sell up to $1 billion in bonds to pay for reducing combined sewage overflow from municipal sewer systems. Combined systems are those in which sanitary sewers and storm sewers are connected, and can cause problems during heavy rains when sewage from homes flows into waterways via storm sewer runoff.


PROPOSAL 02-3: Collective Bargaining and Binding Arbitration for State Employees

Should Michigan reshape its handling of state employees?

Brief Overview:

On November 5, voters will consider a proposal to amend the state Constitution to give state government employees an absolute right to collective bargaining. Prior to 1980, collective bargaining by state employees was not allowed. Since 1980 the Civil Service Commission has allowed collective bargaining, but that right is not written into statute or the Constitution.

The amendment would also give state employees (but not the state) the power to compel binding arbitration in the case of labor negotiation impasses. Under current law, only emergency workers like police and firefighters have this power.