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Dollars and Sense: How State and Local Governments in Michigan Spend Your Money

All Michigan residents have a vested interest in the economic future of our state. We need all hands on deck as we sort out the ideas, resources and action steps necessary to get us back on course toward prosperity and growth. This report is intended to provide ALL citizens with an assessment of the financial health of Michigan's state and local governments. For every $7 earned in Michigan, $1 is sent to state and local government in the form of taxes, fees, and charges for services. As a taxpayer, you deserve to know what your dollars are buying, and have a voice in making sure those services and programs are going to be appropriate to righting our ship. This report provides information on:

  • How taxes and fees are collected and used across our state;
  • The long-term consequences of today's budget decisions—borrowing, debt levels, budget reserves; and
  • The bills that are mounting for the future, such as public employee pensions and federal loans.

For this report, we have used the most recent information available. In most cases, this is for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2010. What does this report show? Largely, we find the following:
Michigan residents are earning less than a decade ago. Lower incomes mean less tax revenue and an increased need for government services. The result has been an ongoing structural imbalance in the state’s finances;
Many governments in Michigan are spending more than they are taking in. To support their spending, they have drained their savings, borrowed money, and failed to put money away for liabilities they know are on the horizon.
Michigan has been unable to invest in its future. State government expenditures on infrastructure and higher education, among other areas, have declined over the past decade;
State employee compensation in Michigan has grown while private sector compensation has fallen, inhibiting taxpayers’ ability to support the salaries and benefits of public employees, or to meet critical investment needs and assist Michigan citizens in financial distress. The state's future has been mortgaged through extensive borrowing and accumulation of unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities;
Years of high unemployment have rendered our unemployment compensation fund insolvent and created a greater demand for government services. Our system simply wasn’t built for this sustained level of hardship.

Please click "View PDF" below, for the full report. This report is also avilable at www.Michigan.gov/Snyder

Please click here for a Supplemental Data Appendix.

 

View PDF