Michigan Municipal League

Young activist finds energy, challenges in SW Detroit

Two women painted on the wall of Sean Mann’s historic home sum up the story of present-day Detroit. The murals flanking his dining room window portray the women seen in the city’s official seal. A weeping woman on the left symbolizes despair. […]

Read Todd Schulz's article

DOC director targets prisoner work problem

Corrections Director Dan Heyns says the Michigan State Industries — the prison system’s work for inmates arm — is in need of change. (See this mlive.com summary of a report from Gongwer News Service.) The Center for Michigan reported on the continuing […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Despite $300 million reduction, businesses seek relief

Michigan businesses, which have already won a $1.6 billion business tax cut, are pushing hard to repeal the state’s personal property tax on machinery, computers and other equipment. But they don’t talk much about, or even recognize, the $324 million tax cut […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

‘Shadow Tax Cut’ deepens local budget crises

A $900 million cut in property tax revenues since 2007, the “Shadow Tax Cut,” has devastated the budgets of local governments that heavily rely on these taxes to provide police and fire protection — and a host of other services. They’ve laid […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

Merger bills won’t change names on fire trucks — yet

For years, officials charged with managing local government services and finances have pointed to a variety of provisions in state law they say make the sharing of services with neighbors financially unappealing. With Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature last week on a set […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Deja vu: Biz tax cuts head agenda in Lansing

“At the end of the day, we’ll be a stronger, more vibrant state,” Gov. Rick Snyder asserted a year ago in his first State of the State speech that offered the first outlines of his 2011 legislative agenda. But he didn’t say […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Perks are the point in ‘amenity-driven’ growth

When Dawn Barry and her husband, Mark, decided to sell their townhouse and buy a house eight years ago, they had a few criteria common to couples in their early 30s. It had to be affordable on their teacher salaries, located in […]

Read Sandra Svoboda's article

Reactions to Snyder budget coming in

Reactions to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2013 budget proposal are coming in. Below are some notable excerpts: State Board of Education President John Austin, D-Ann Arbor: “While Governor Snyder’s budget proposal begins to reverse decimating cuts to pre-K, K-12, and higher education; more […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Urban chief outlines new normal for cities

Harvey Hollins III is the director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives and is a principal adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder on urban economic development. He is a loaned executive through the Council of Michigan Foundations, and his salary […]

Read Amy Lane's article

Rust and the rest: Reinventing cities

When Chattanooga made the national news one evening in 1969, it wasn’t for a good reason. Air pollution had won the Tennessee industrial center the federal designation of being the dirtiest city in America. It was “a real wakeup call,” said Mayor […]

Read Amy Lane's article

Land O Links

“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything, the young know everything” — Oscar Wilde. * It’s March Madness, so everyone’s trying to figure out how to use the temporary obsession with brackets to convey interesting or amusing information. WARNING: At […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Business, Republican leaders express confidence in personal property tax repeal

In the looming battle over Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed personal property tax repeal, both sides agree on one thing: It’s a tax neither particularly likes. “This is an investment penalty,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley before a Senate committee Wednesday. “The more […]

Read Pat Shellenbarger's article

Snyder pushes end to personal tax on business

Steve Carlson considered buying a couple of new machines for his plastic molding business near Lansing, but he and the company’s other owners decided to hold off for now. One reason, he said, is Michigan’s personal property tax on the new equipment […]

Read Pat Shellenbarger's article

Will personal property tax tug-of-war drag cities into the mud?

Legislation that would phase out Michigan’s personal property tax — essentially a business equipment levy — on industrial and commercial property is working its way through the Michigan Senate. The repeal is strongly backed by business groups such as the Michigan Chamber […]

Read the article

Negotiating with ‘heroes’ no simple matter

In 2009, Ann Arbor became the poster child for critics of Michigan’s public safety binding arbitration law, as a labor settlement cost the city $1.5 million in retroactive pay raises. The judgment came as police and fire departments consumed 55 percent ofAnn […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

In some cities, it’s cash that’s burning

In Michigan, your home address says everything about how much you spend for fire protection. In Midland, a city of 41,000, residents paid $155 per person in 2010 for their Fire Department. But in Wyoming, a West Michigan city of about 72,000, […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

For the Legislature, an active and speedy ‘duck,’ followed by a cautious 2013

The smoke is still clearing from the statewide legislative elections, but Michigan residents should not be surprised if Lansing provides a two-pronged response to the voter’s will: First: A flurry of activity on legislation in the “lame-duck” sessions of the Legislature scheduled […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Snyder tries again on cut for business equipment tax

In the final weeks of the legislative year, the Snyder administration is pressing ahead with a plan to cut a tax on business equipment by attempting to appease two groups: local governments that count on that money to pay for services, and […]

Read Pat Shellenbarger's article

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.