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State government ‘spends’ $30 billion more this year than you think

Officially, Michigan’s state government is spending $48.2 billion this year on education, health care, prisons, transportation and all other spending programs. But the state actually is shelling out $78.9 billion — 64 percent more than the spending allocated through the state budget. […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

To kill the gerrymander, elect better representatives

Rep. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, has proposed legislation that would establish an independent, nonpartisan commission consisting of “regular citizens” to “create legislative district maps that are competitive, geographically compact and contiguous.” McCann contends his bill would “prohibit creating districts that protect incumbents.” More […]

Read Conor Dugan's article

Fortress Grosse Pointe: In world of school choice, community says ‘stay out’

GROSSE POINTE — When Dan Roeske was running for the Grosse Pointe Public Schools board in 2011, he found himself addressing a PTO group at Poupard Elementary, one of the district’s 13 schools. A woman asked bluntly about one of the district’s […]

Read Nancy Derringer's article

More and more schools falling into budget squeeze

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan delivered troubling news to a legislative panel last week: –One in 10 traditional K-12 school districts in Michigan (55 of 549) are operating in a budget deficit. –The number of deficit districts has doubled since 2008, when only […]

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State adopts ‘nation’s largest’ expansion of early childhood funding

Ten thousand additional Michigan 4-year-olds will be in classrooms next school year, after Republican and Democratic legislators Wednesday passed the largest expansion in early childhood education in the nation. The $65 million expansion for the 2013-14 budget year is a major victory […]

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Guest commentary: Time to lay down arms – and save money – in marijuana fight

By Rep. Jeff Irwin The time has come for a more sensible approach to marijuana in Michigan. From a practical perspective, we know that marijuana prohibition is a failure. Michigan state and local governments spend more than $325 million a year and […]

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State, citizens can’t treat dental care as a luxury

Any serious effort to provide dental care to underserved people in Michigan must better incorporate private practice dentists in the plan. A new survey released by the Michigan Dental Association provides ample evidence of that. Nine out of 10 dentists surveyed said […]

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Legislators eye changes to high school graduation requirements

Seven years ago, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature surveyed Michigan’s high school academic landscape and did not like the view. The state had but one requirement for those earning a high school diploma – a civics course. While local school districts […]

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Tax shift adds to fiscal woes at city hall

After years of political wrangling over the issue, business advocates hail the phase-out of Michigan’s tax on industrial machinery and business equipment as a welcome tonic for job growth. Public officials in places like River Rouge and Warren are not so sanguine. […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

Guest column: Restore equal representation in Mich.

By State Rep. Jim Townsend Every 10 years, Michigan gets the opportunity to press the reset button on its state and federal political boundaries. This is necessary to uphold the principle of equal representation for all by adjusting district boundaries to reflect […]

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Guest column: State’s broken tax system favors corporations over families

By Gilda Z. Jacobs/Michigan League for Public Policy  As we enter the budget-setting season in Lansing, we need to step back and ask ourselves some important questions. Does our revenue structure keep up with the times? Does it improve our education levels […]

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Legal immunity worries child advocates

The fear of getting sued if a foster child attempts suicide or theft prompted private social service agencies to push in the waning days of the lame-duck session for a law granting them limited immunity to lawsuits. They got their wish late […]

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Policy reasons for exempting police, fire from Right to Work remain unclear

Michigan’s new Right to Work law presents a huge challenge to the future of unions in a state known as the home of the modern labor movement. But not for the approximately 1,700 bargaining units representing thousands of local police officers and […]

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On RTW, money talked, GOP answered

Why is a conservative Republican Legislature enacting a pro-business agenda that breaks the mold by embracing Right to Work laws? Because the GOP has the votes in the House and Senate to put it on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature. […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Mining tax could spur more U.P. mining

State lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder are poised to approve a new tax structure on metallic mining operations that could spur development of new mines — like the controversial Eagle Mine near Marquette — across the western Upper Peninsula. The state House […]

Read Jeff Alexander's article

Guest column: Choice proposal bets on market forces

By Brendan Walsh The Oxford Foundation’s proposal on school choice made landfall last week full of sound and fury – and igniting a bit more. But what does it truly signify? It delivers “student choice” in spades and that has the education […]

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Voters endorse a ‘simmer down’ approach to state’s challenges

By a 47-41 margin, respondents in Marketing Resource Group’s fall poll said Michigan was on the right track. The plus 6-point spread in the biannual survey was the largest recorded by the Lansing firm since March 2003, three months into Gov. Jennifer […]

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Final arguments on Proposal 5

Proposal 5 is a constitutional amendment to require supermajorities of members of each legislative chamber to approve state tax increases or seek approval from the voters. Tax increases would require the votes of at least 25 members of the 38-member Senate and 73 […]

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