One of the best ways to get a substantive look at what programs a state - and thereby its lawmakers, its interest groups and the rest of its political players - focuses on is to look at where it spends its money. Every state has a finite budget, and how lawmakers divide this pot between the multitudes of government programs gives a good sense of its policy priorities.
During the 1980s, Michigan's 15 public universities received about 75 percent of their funding from the state and only generated about 25 percent of their funding from tuition dollars, according to Mark Burnham, Michigan State University's vice president for governmental affairs. Today, those ratios have flipped, and this year's budget negotiations do not seem likely to halt the downward trend.
Governor Rick Snyder released his report "Dollars and Sense, How State and Local Governments in Michigan Spend Your Money" on Monday, January 31st 2011. He calls it a 2011 citizen's guide to Michigan's Financial Health. In the report, Snyder addresses key issues with Michigan government revenue and spending, and of course the ever growing budget deficit.
Written by Mattie Cook
Sunday, 06 May 2012 19:41
When Michigan restructured the pension plans of state employees in March 1997, the reforms contrasted with the state's former benefits plan for governmental employees, which was a "defined-benefit" plan. Under the current "defined-contribution" plan, all government workers hired after March 31st 1997 are responsible for contributing voluntary amounts to their individual retirement savings accounts, while the state makes mandatory contributions. Under the former system, the risk of investment was left with the state, and thus, with the taxpayers of the present and future. Michigan, along with other states, has adopted these policies to minimize the investment risks of the states, since defined-contribution plans shift the investment risk to the individual, and to ultimately lower costs.
MSU, U-M advocate alternative higher education funding metric
Written by Karen Confer
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 01:56
Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon pointed legislators to an alternative higher education funding metric in an effort to adapt the assessment tools Gov. Rick Snyder advocated in his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.
In her testimony before the House of Representatives Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee March 21, she urged lawmakers to consider a proposal by the Business Leaders of Michigan, or BLM, a nonprofit group of state business and university executives.
Universities contemplate merit of governor’s performance metrics
Written by Karen Confer
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 02:11
Gov. Rick Snyder offered universities a slight increase in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, provided they perform in a few key areas.
More degrees completed.
Better graduation rates in key skill areas, like math and science.
Tuition increases kept to 4 percent or less.
Snyder's proposal calls for a 3 percent overall increase in higher education funding, translating to a range from 0.9 percent to 7.6 percent for individual universities based on their performance in the key areas identified as well as the number of Pell Grant recipients at each school. It adds up to an additional $36.2 million, all from the general fund. Total university funding for 2013 would come to $1.4 billion, of which $1.1 billion comes from the general fund.
Last year, it was a $1.5 billion deficit and a motto of "shared sacrifice." This year, sporting a structurally balanced checkbook and a modest surplus, Gov. Rick Snyder was able to talk about "invest and save" during his fiscal year 2012-13 budget testimony before the Legislature.
The $48.2 billion budget recommendation reverses a decade of cuts by suggesting humble increases in many categories, including education and public safety.
Michigan to use piece of surplus to close funding gap in pension tax
Written by Karen Confer
Friday, 03 February 2012 01:34
Michigan will use a chunk of surplus revenue to pay for the one component of the pension tax overturned by the state Supreme Court in its Nov. 18, 2011 decision.
The state was left with a $60 million bill for fiscal year 2012 when the court overruled a piece of the legislation that granted exemptions on the basis of household resources. It ruled this created a graduated tax, which is illegal under the 1963 constitution.
The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College.
The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.
Evan Martinak is state budget policy fellow for the Michigan Policy Network. Evan is from Walled Lake, Michigan on the east side. He is a student in James Madison College, pursuing a major in international relations and also doubling it with an economics major. He intends to pursue a minor in Philosophy of Law. He is highly involved in student government at MSU. He is a member of ASMSU (The Associated Student of Michigan State University) as well as James Madison College Student Senate. He is also an avid Manchester United fan.