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Proposed state budge...

Monday, Michigan lawmakers will continue discussing ways to balance the state's budget and prevent another government shutdown.
Policy Briefs
Downtown Development Authority Farm Market Legislation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathryn Rundblad   
Monday, 27 February 2012 18:14

In April of 2011, the Michigan Legislature was introduced to House Bill 4531; a piece of legislation, that, if enacted, would allow Downtown Development Authorities across the state to borrow and spend money to develop and improve local agricultural markets. For some areas this could mean a broadening of a current farmer's market program to draw more business and attention to local crops and products, and for others could be a much larger project involving building new facilities and creating programs, like farmers markets, from the ground up. Being that agriculture is important to our state's economy, this would seem to be a good idea, though it could prove to be rather costly in some cities.

Policy Brief: Pontiac and Detroit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Evan Gross   
Monday, 30 January 2012 06:33

On their Friday night broadcast, NBC Nightly News featured the City of Pontiac in a special report on municipal fiscal crisis. Pontiac has been under emergency management by the state for nearly three years, losing 10% of its population in the last decade as the city’s employment base, and life, has largely dried up. The City reported a property tax revenue decline of $2.6 million last year (for FY2010), and to add insult, currently owes over $1.8 million in tax refunds to GM. [1] "In a struggling city synonymous with the American car, a fire sale,” reports Kevin Tibbles for NBC News, “Today in Pontiac, Michigan, you can buy the police station, library, golf course, cemetery, even city hall… so far, nothing's sold." [2] The city website has a message that reads “If any person has a suggestion how to address the deficit in a different manner, please submit those suggestions in writing at any time to the Emergency Manager.” [3]

Another Approach to Addressing Vacant Structures in Flint, MI PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joseph D. Manzella, II   
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:16

Significant population loss since the mid-1960s has left an indelible mark on the fabric of neighborhoods in Flint, MI. With half the population it had in 1966, the city and county have turned to creative methods to reclaim broken neighborhoods and stabilize areas in the midst of a global credit crisis, housing collapse, and a local and regional economy that is hemorrhaging the manufacturing jobs once the hallmark of this area's prosperity. To manage the vacant property issue, an innovative land bank authority was established in 2002. While this entity is widely cited in studies of best-practice, further innovation is both possible and needed. One as-yet untried tool for redevelopment is based on the Artist Relocation Program in Paducah, KY. This program used incentives to attract artists to a struggling neighborhood: stabilizing property values, creating jobs, and improving livelihoods within the vicinity.


Act 4 and Financial Emergency Procedure in Detroit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Evan Gross   
Saturday, 10 December 2011 02:20
On the order of State Treasurer Andy Dillon, state officials arrived at Detroit’s City Hall earlier this week to conduct a preliminary review of the city’s finances. Acting under Public Act 4, which was passed in March, Dillon’s preliminary review is the first step in the process of determining if a local government or school district in Michigan is experiencing a financial emergency. This determination, in the end, would warrant the appointment of an emergency manager by the governor to take over the city. Currently there are five jurisdictions in Michigan that are under the state control of an emergency manager: Pontiac, Detroit Public School District, Ecorse, Benton Harbor, and most recently, the city of Flint. Detroit would be by far the largest jurisdiction to ever be taken over under Michigan’s Emergency Manager Laws.
Policy Brief: Detroit and Flint in Financial Crisis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Evan Gross   
Thursday, 24 November 2011 00:29
Mayor Dave Bing spoke face to face with Detroit last Wednesday night, laying out the city’s financial crisis and explaining the direction forward for the state’s largest city to retain its local control. This coming days after it was revealed that the city would run out of cash by April 2012 without drastic budget cuts. The Detroit Free Press revealed that even if the city were to lay off a third of its workforce, 2,200 employees, it would only give the city an extra three months before payments stop. (1) “I refuse to sugarcoat the situation or continue kicking the can down the road expecting someone else to solve our problems.” Mayor Bing told the city, “If we continue down the same path we will lose the ability to control our own destiny,” referring to the possibility of a state takeover of the city in the form of an Emergency Financial Manager.
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Michael Raley is a fourth year Sociology and Public Administration/Public Policy student at Michigan State University. He is especially interested in the public policy, politics, and sociology of urban space, as well as transportation systems and public transit. A native of the Grand Rapids area, Michael is currently an intern in the office of State Representative Roy Schmidt, who represents the west and northeast sides of the city. He also aspires to pursue a career in urban and regional planning, and hopes to attend graduate school for such a course of study.

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