MSU dominates U-M in Legislature

The Michigan Legislature has voted over the years to designate a state rock (Petosky stone), a state tree (white pine) and even a state fossil (mastodon). If lawmakers decide to name a state university, Wolverine fans should be worried. There are almost […]

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Income is small share of business taxes

Emerging from a long debate over the second major revision of the state’s business income tax in a decade, Michigan residents, and maybe some policy-makers, may be surprised by the results of the Council on State Taxation’s annual report on business taxes. […]

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School Daze II: How some districts keep 180 days a top priority

(Originally published Jan. 19, 2011) In the Milan School District, students spend more days in class than their peers in most other districts for a simple reason: district leaders have made it an important priority. In the 2008-2009 school year, Milan was […]

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School Daze: Michigan’s incredible shrinking school year

(Originally published March 12, 2009) Imagine if the United States completely flopped in the next Olympics. Imagine if countries like Japan and South Korea dominated the medal count and it was obvious those athletes had simply out-worked, out-practiced, and out-performed ours. The […]

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Momentum builds at Capitol for teacher tenure changes

(Originally published June 21, 2011) Over the past two years, the State Tenure Commission has sided with the school district in every case where the district sought to fire a teacher specifically for poor performance in the classroom. All four.   And […]

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Early childhood funds in tug of war

(Originally published April 14, 2011) In last year’s gubernatorial campaign, candidate Rick Snyder touted the importance of pre-school education and outlined a vision of integrated P-20 education from birth through graduate school.  This year, Michigan early childhood advocates were pleased to see […]

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Redistricting: How political map-making leaves voters with uncompetitive, pre-determined elections

(Originally published Feb. 10, 2011) In the past decade, voters decided 664 races for seats in the Michigan Legislature. The majority of those races were never in question. Millions of votes didn’t really matter. Districts for many state representatives and senators are […]

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Learning from prison cuts in other states

(Originally published Feb. 3, 2011) When Judge Steven Alm was appointed to a Honolulu felony court in 2004, it didn’t take long before the new jurist identified what he considered a major flaw in the system: Offenders on probation repeatedly flouted simple […]

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Voters shut out on redistricting

(Originally published June 29, 2011) Every decade, the law requires every state to redraw every legislative and congressional district to reflect changes in population discovered by the Census. The cycle’s process is about at its end, with maps for both Congress and […]

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It’s time to invest in Michigan Inc.

The dwindling Lansing press corps experienced a brief tremble of excitement last week when Gov. Rick Snyder indicated he might not run for re-election if he completes his agenda in four years. “Report: Snyder may not seek re-election if agenda complete,” headlined […]

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You want police and trash service, right?

The news remains grim on the financial front for Michigan local governments. More survey data from local officials reported by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at U-M find Michigan’s city, township and village governments are still being battered by […]

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Rep to recipients: ‘Man up’ and feed family

State Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, tried for four years to reform Michigan’s welfare system for cash assistance. On his fifth try, bolstered by the solid Republican majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican governor brought in via the 2010 elections, […]

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11,000 Michigan families confront the unknown

The roles Sharon Matthews has fielded so far are hardly the stuff of cakewalks: high school dropout; single mom; gunshot victim. But her toughest role yet begins next month: Guinea pig. The 41-year-old Detroit resident and her 15-year-old daughter are among the […]

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Coming to your hometown: Fewer services

While there has been much talk in Lansing in recent weeks about reducing revenue — again — for local governments, the folks actually in charge of running public service on the city/township/village level are dealing with the consequences of previous reductions, caused […]

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Recall election didn’t resolve anything

By Peter Luke Gov. Rick Snyder’s campaign vow to change the political culture that governs Lansing suffered the same dismal fate as former Rep. Paul Scott this week. The Grand Blanc Republican surrendered his office Wednesday less than 12 hours after conceding […]

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Voters choose to tax themselves

A powerful trend in state government this year has been to take decisions that reduce the amount of money flowing to local governments; money that gets spent to provide all manner of services. Details, in fact, are still being worked out on […]

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Delray neighborhood has hopes, worries for a new bridge

If advocates get their way, the Next International Trade Crossing bridge would be built with its U.S. terminus in the Delray neighborhood of Detroit, southwest of downtown and of the existing Ambassador Bridge. Community leaders and residents who spoke to Bridge Magazine […]

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Michigan needs productive ‘midlife crisis’

“Today, the country is middle-aged but self-indulgent. Bad habits have accumulated.  Interest groups have emerged to protect the status quo. The job is to restore old disciplines, strip away decaying structures and reform the welfare state. The country needs a productive midlife crisis” — David […]

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