Building a New Bridge in Detroit: A Study Evaluating the Options

The purpose of this paper is to compare the NITC and DIBC propos­als, identifying the key factors affecting policy makers, investors, and taxpayers. To date, public discourse about the options has been hampered due to lack information about the proposals, including project viability, financing, and taxpayer risk.

The Consultants at Anderson Economic Group have completed this study independently in order to provide an unbiased source of information on the topic.

Personal Property Tax Reform in Michigan: The Fiscal and Economic Impact of SB 1065-SB 1072

 

The Michigan Personal Property Tax: Effects of Repeal on Michigan’s Economy and Tax Revenues, 2012

The Michigan Personal Property Tax (PPT) has attracted consistent criticism from Michigan’s business community. The pressure for reform has increased since a business tax credit worth 35% of PPT liability was repealed as part of this year’s business tax overhaul, which led to the creation of the new corporate income tax (CIT). The purpose of this report is twofold: to qualitatively discuss the effect of repealing the PPT on Michigan’s economy, and to describe the effects of repeal on local and state government tax revenues.

Impact of Proposed “PIP Choice” Law in Michigan

Each state in the U.S. requires licensed drivers to purchase a minimum amount of auto insurance to protect themselves and other drivers in the case of an auto accident. If a driver becomes injured from an accident, they often must sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company to collect damages, which can be a lengthy and costly process. In no-fault states, such as Michigan, the right to sue other drivers is limited because the injured party’s own insurance company pays for damages. No-fault states require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical expenses and lost wages resulting from an auto accident.

Each state varies in the amount of PIP coverage they require drivers to purchase, ranging from $3,000 to over $50,000. However, if a driver incurs costs beyond the amount of coverage purchased, he or she must pay out-of-pocket for these additional expenses. Currently, Michigan is the only state that requires each driver to purchase lifetime PIP coverage, which provides benefits to pay for reasonable and necessary treatments related to an auto accident. This report discusses how proposed legislation to change the minimum amount of coverage required by each driver would impact Michigan.

Michigan Unplugged? The Case for Shared Investment in Regional Transmission Projects

Electricity transmission facilities are major investments. They have traditionally been funded by local utilities, with costs allocated across the local users. Improving the grid, however, requires more than a patchwork of locally planned and funded improvements. In the Midwest and other areas of the country, states, utilities, and other stakeholders have agreed to pursue a regional approach to plan and build a more robust grid. As a result, many new transmission projects are now designed to benefit large geographic areas.

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO)—an independent, non-for-profit corporation of grid stakeholders in the Midwest—is responsible for managing and planning this region’s grid. In early 2009, MISO began developing a new cost allocation method to be used specifically for regionally beneficial transmission projects. The approved cost allocation method assigns costs based on load (actual use of electricity), and applies only to a new category of projects called “Multi-Value Projects” (MVPs).

The MISO cost allocation for MVPs, which FERC found to be consistent with the “beneficiary pays” cost allocation principle, is now being challenged by parties that feel it does not assign costs in a way that is commensurate with benefits.

In this report, we assess whether or not the MVP cost allocation methodology is consistent with the legal principle that costs should be “at least roughly commensurate with benefits.” We also consider whether there is any evidence that the approved methodology places an unfair cost burden on Lower Michigan. Finally, we assess the risks and consequences that stem from modifying the structure of the already adopted cost allocation.

The URC's Support for Information and Communication Technology in Michigan

The University Research Corridor (URC) is an alliance of Michigan’s three largest academic institutions: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. The purpose of this alliance is to accelerate economic growth in Michigan by educating students, attracting talented workers, supporting innovation, and facilitating the transfer of technology to the private sector.

This report is part of a series of special topic reports that began in 2007 and are released by the URC in early summer of each year. The purpose of each report is to highlight the URC’s contributions to a specific industry important to Michigan’s economy. This year’s report focuses on how the URC is shaping Michigan’s Information and Communication Technology industry (ICT) through its educational programs, research, and support for entrepreneurs.

We begin this report by developing a rigorous, comprehensive definition of the information and communication technology industry. This industry consists of the study, design, development, implementation, and management of information systems. It focuses on communication technologies, including the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and computer-based information systems.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Downtown Consolidations

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), a major provider of health insurance plans to businesses, government units and private individuals in the state of Michigan, and its subsidiary, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America (AFICA) are in the process of relocating and consolidating workers in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit and their suburbs to downtown locations in those cities. In addition to consolidating its existing workers, AFICA will add over 500 new workers to its Lansing-area work force. In all, BCBSM and AFICA will have moved workers from nine suburban and urban worksites to five urban worksites, investing significantly in constructing and renovating the new sites. These relocations are part of Blue Cross’s desire to contribute to enhancing the vitality of Michigan’s urban cores.

BCBSM has retained Anderson Economic Group, LLC (AEG) to assess the effects of these three downtown consolidations of workers. In this report we discuss the benefits that these plans will have in terms of both quantitative economic measures, such as employment, earnings, and tax revenue, and the important signaling, cultural, and place-making effects of having a large, stable employer in these cities’ downtowns.

The Role of MQC3 and Home Help: Serving Michigan’s Long-Term Care Population

 

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.

 

Michigan’s Item Pricing Law: The Price Tag for Retailers and Consumers

Michigan faces a host of challenges as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. Chief among these are the realities and perceptions that Michigan is stuck in the 20th century, and that outdated regulations are stopping businesses and citizens from moving ahead.
 
This report assesses the costs and benefits associated with one such regulation— the Item Pricing Law (IPL)—which went into effect on January 1, 1978
and has not significantly been amended since.1 We conclude that the time has come for Michigan to reform its IPL. Only eight states have any form of an IPL, and Michigan’s is by far the most burdensome. Michigan is the only state that still requires a price label to be placed on nearly every consumer item, which creates unnecessary costs for both businesses and consumers, and yields little or no benefits that are not otherwise afforded to consumers in other states.