Michigan’s Local Leaders Losing Confidence in State Leadership

Optimism about state’s direction dropping among Michigan’s municipal officials.

Poor roads and the failure to find a funding solution to fix them. State tax policies, including the new income tax on pensions and the business tax cuts. Dysfunction in the state Legislature, particularly its high partisanship.

Those were among the reasons the leaders in Michigan’s  cities, townships, villages and counties have declining confidence in the state’s direction, says Tom Ivacko, one of the authors of a report from the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy titled “Confidence in Michigan’s direction declines among state’s local leaders.”

The Center surveyed roughly 1,300 leaders from Michigan’s municipalities and found 46 percent think the state is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 55 percent last year. The largest drop was among people who identified as Republican.

Leaders are also worried about how policies and laws enacted in Lansing are affecting local governments. “There’s ongoing concern at the local level that the relationship between the state and local governments is broken, that the state government is taking away authority at the local level,” Ivacko says.

The findings also include a summary of what the local leaders think is going well. “The most common reasons given are related to Michigan’s economy,” Ivacko says, noting in many areas employment and property values are rising. Local leaders also like the “Pure Michigan” campaign

The state’s role in Detroit’s bankruptcy, Ivacko says, was given positive reviews. “Among leaders who think the state is headed in the right direction, they see that the state helping Detroit through its bankruptcy process is a good outcome for the state overall,” he says.

Click on the audio above to hear an interview with Ivacko.

Michigan Public Policy Survey Summer 2015









  • Sandra Svoboda
    Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.