A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Political Predictions for 2014

Political strategists talk minimum wage, big government and Obamacare

Elections in MIchigan have been noteworthy over the last few cycles. Four Lansing political observers weigh in on some critical questions for MIchigan. … more

More State Favors for Detroit

Deferment through borrowing

The city of Detroit gets more revenue than every other city because of special treatment in state revenue sharing, casino taxes and utility taxes. This extra money has not been enough to prevent its bankruptcy, nor were these the only favors extended to Detroit. … more

School District May Violate State Law By Removing Teachers Based Strictly On Seniority

Concord Community Schools superintendent and board ignoring teacher effectiveness in layoffs

After failing to get its teachers’ evaluations done in time, one school district’s solution to simply lay off the least-experienced teachers may be against the law. … more

Michigan Capitol Confidential honored by Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists

Several Michigan Capitol Confidential reporters won awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at its annual “Excellence in Journalism” dinner Wednesday night. … more

Tax Freedom Day In Michigan

Americans will spend more this year on taxes than food, clothing and housing combined

Tax Freedom Day is the day people have to work to in the year to cover tax bills for the state and federal government. Americans will spend $4.5 trillion on federal, state and local taxes, which is 30 percent of total income. The figures are in a yearly study done by the Tax Foundation. … more

Detroit’s Special Favors Add Up

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a partial bailout of the city of Detroit with a $350 million gift. The state has been providing special favors to Detroit for years and it hasn't prevented the Motor City from slipping into bankruptcy. … more

Superintendent Claiming Less Money Receives $515 More Per Pupil

West Bloomfield Superintendent Gerald Hill says district gets less than 2010, state numbers say otherwise

As the statewide debate over school funding continues, an Oakland County superintendent whose district receives about $515 more per student today than it did in 2010 says the district is getting less money from the state. … more

Government Subsidies Run Amok

The private sector almost always outperforms bureaucrats investing with the public's money

By Anita Folsom

What's especially remarkable about the stream of government aid — subsidies to the fur trade, steamships, railroads, airplanes, and even ethanol today — is that private citizens, with no federal funds, almost always outperform the men whom the government endows with large chunks of cash. … more

Special Deals From State Allow Detroit To Collect Hundreds Of Millions In Extra Revenue

Casino tax, utility fee, income tax all specially assessed by the city

While some are pitching a storyline in Detroit of a bankrupt city in need of more revenue, there are ways the city collects millions of dollars in taxes that no other city can do. … more

More Higher Ed Spending Questionable

Legislators, taxpayers need answers

As state politicians are primed to deliver $82 million more this year to state higher education institutions, it is appropriate to ask what taxpayers will get for this spending. Unfortunately, there will not likely be much to show for it. … more

Community Group Fighting Third Attempt To Bring Wind Farm To Town

Voters in Osceola County's Sherman Township have overturned regulations for wind turbines in referendums twice in recent years. That was enough to make Heritage Sustainable Energy give up on plans to locate wind turbines there. Now, Next Era Energy wants to locate wind turbines in the township and local officials are looking for a fresh set of regulations that could allow that to happen.  … more

Commentary: Minimum Wage Hike Puts Politics Over People

Consider the fact that the median starting annual salary of a petroleum engineer is nearly $100,000, while many fast food workers earn under $10 per hour. Is this because the oil and gas companies are simply more generous than McDonald’s? If wages were just set by employers, why would anyone make more than the minimum? … more

Details Behind Push For 'Mystery Project' Begin To Surface

Legislator says funding for unknown projects not unusual in Michigan

The P20 Pyramid project in Grand Rapids has been characterized as a "mystery project" due to the lack of details about it. But Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township, says the story behind his effort to get state funding for the project is neither unusual nor mysterious. … more

MichiganVotes Weekly Vote Report

Bills on militarized police, tax assessors, topless bars

The House and Senate are on a two-week spring break, but there are a number of recently introduced bills of interest. … more

Local Governments Not Starved For Cash

Local municipalities saw an increase of $1.4 billion in property taxes from 2000 to 2013 as that revenue increased to $5.3 billion in 2013 from $3.9 billion in 2000, according to the state tax commission.  … more

The Winners and Losers in Detroit Bankruptcy

Arguing about who should take the largest cuts is an essential part of bankruptcy. While relieving itself of debt burdens helps Detroit's fiscal situation, it is also insufficient at revitalizing the city. What is needed is competent administration of government services and fewer burdens on the city’s people and businesses. … more

Michigan School Funding Up, Results Flat

State spent $7,500 per pupil in 1972, over $12,000 today

Overall, Michigan school spending has increased significantly over the past few decades, but test score have stayed relatively flat, according to a new study from the Cato Institute. … more

Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Up to the Challenge

Unions are given special privileges by statute — monopoly privileges that a private-sector business would pay an arm and a leg to get — and all the unions have to do in return is represent all employees in their bargaining unit equally. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has stepped in to help workers who have been treated unfairly. … more

Grand Rapids Selectively Released Public Information

FOIA documents show city talked at length with MLive reporter; shut out Acton Institute, Michigan Capitol Confidential

Grand Rapids city officials gave detailed information about a tax dispute involving the Acton Institute to a select reporter, but not to the nonprofit fighting to prove it is a charitable organization, according to documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request. … more

Obama Drops a Minimum Wage 'Stink Burger' On Michigan

Using catchy sound bites like "give America a raise," President Obama ignores volumes of research showing that his demand to increase the minimum wage will be a jobs killer. Nevertheless, the president came to Michigan last week to campaign for doing just that. He also thought it necessary to insult a GOP budget proposal by calling it a "stink burger" and a "meanwich." … more

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