Staying connected way up north

(Originally published March 30, 2011) When President Obama decided to stump for his plan to make high-speed wireless services in reach of virtually every American within five years, he flew to a city whose Internet access is a model for the country. […]

Read Jo Mathis's article

Tax breaks saved mental hospital site, developer says

“Blight” and “Traverse City” aren’t often used in the same sentence. But one large, historically significant property in the picturesque northern Michigan community was so blighted that local officials who wanted to redevelop the site were unable to make much progress — […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Couple bets all on Michigan start-up; beats odds

Manufacturing appeared to be dying during the past decade in Michigan. Critics of Michigan’s taxes and regulations said the state was a terrible place to start a business. But Justin Ayers and his wife, Tracy, thought it was a great time to […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Deep inside the Lost Decade: Decline, transformation and resilience in Michigan’s regions

Ann Arbor on the east side and Grand Rapids on the west are widely regarded as the most prosperous and desirable metropolitan areas in Michigan. But Kalamazoo-Portage and Battle Creek in Southwest Michigan surprisingly outpaced Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and all other […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Billion-dollar bust?

(Originally published Aug. 10, 2011) A 15-year-long effort to spur jobs and vitality in some of the state’s most economically depressed areas by turning them into virtual tax-free zones — and thereby forgoing about $1 billion in tax collections — is being […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Scoring the ’00s: How Michigan’s 14 regions changed

Despite billions of dollars in construction projects on the University of Michigan’s campus and Ann Arbor’s reputation as a high-tech business hotbed, the regional economy there contracted slightly over the past decade. Gross domestic product in the Ann Arbor metro area fell […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Welcome to Bridge

It took me 46 years, but I finally attended summer school. This summer, I studied up on the nuances of inflation-adjusted dollars, website design, employment practices, marketing and, frankly, stuff I can’t remember right now. All this led up to what you […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Immigrants can energize Detroit

(Originally published July 28, 2011) Whatever you think of Detroit, it is hard to imagine Michigan thriving if our largest city isn’t on some kind of road to prosperity. And plenty of folks, both business-oriented (think DTE Energy, Business Leaders for Michigan) […]

Read Phil Power's column

We must protect ‘Michigan, Our Michigan’

(Originally published Aug. 25, 2011) The Latin motto on the state of Michigan’s great seal — “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam, Circumspice”– says it all. Translation: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.“ And it is a great — no, perfect […]

Read Phil Power's column

Agriculture’s growth real, but not the stuff of myth

Late last winter, Gov. Rick Snyder officially dubbed March 17, 2011, as Michigan Agriculture Day. The proclamation lauds the industry as “the source of virtually everything we eat each day,” and says it plays a “key role in the growth and reinvention […]

Read Melissa Preddy's article

Stomach-churning: Highs and lows in Mich. economy

Michigan has starred in its own disaster movie in the first decade of 21st century. The economic equivalents of F5 tornadoes and magnitude 9 earthquakes have battered the automotive industry and smashed construction work in the state. You knew all that, having […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Affirmative action ban exacted price on economy, say critics

Five years after Michigan voted to ban affirmative action by public entities, anecdotes, experts and a handful of hard numbers suggest Michigan’s economy has absorbed hits due to the measure. Proposal 2 — a 2006 initiative which banned race- and gender-based preferential […]

Read Rene Wisely's article

The Big Flush: $180 billion vanishes from Michigan

Michigan home- and business owners have lost an astounding $180 billion from the value of their properties over the past four years — the result of auto company bankruptcies, a severe national recession and the worst state economy in more than 70 […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Food stamps returning for some needy families

Thousands of Michigan families who were expected to lose food stamps will now keep the assistance or get it back next week. How many families? No one knows. Which families? No one knows that either. The Department of Human Services, which was […]

Read Ron French's article

The 44-cent solution

What can you buy with 44 cents? You can get one postage stamp, at least for the next 12 days, when the cost of mailing a letter jumps to 45 cents. You could buy an eighth of a gallon of gas. Or […]

Read Ron French's article

Michigan job forecast bright – for 2030

The Michigan economy is recovering. For those of you with weak hearts, let’s leave it at that. Spend a few minutes watching a kitten stuck in a hamster ball. For those of you still here: the economy is recovering slowly. Just how […]

Read Ron French's article

Good for GM, good for social conservatives

General Motors says it had a record annual profit in 2011 of $7.6 billion, up 62 percent from the previous year. Since we are hip deep in a political campaign, it seems reasonable to ask: Who gets the credit for it? In […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Gov. Rick Snyder misses big opportunities in 2011-12

Determined to measure their work against the bipartisan legislative train wrecks of past years, Republicans who run the Legislature are pretty close to their goal of closing up shop for the summer by the end of the week (June 1). That’s three […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.