League In The News

MLive: State couldn’t advertise for ‘Healthy Michigan’ Medicaid expansion under bill

The state Department of Health and Human Services would have to stop spending $2 million per year on advertising for the Healthy Michigan plan under a proposal the Senate Health Policy Committee considered on Tuesday. The Michigan Association of Health Plans and Michigan League for Public Policy testified in opposition of the bill. Feb. 2, 2016 — MLive

The Detroit News: Senate GOP takes 2nd look at charitable tax credits

Rachel Richards, a policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy, said the state moved “in the wrong direction” by eliminating the charitable tax credits. She pointed to the recent Flint water crisis as evidence of the need to encourage support for nonprofits, which are assisting the state on the ground. Feb. 2, 2016 — The Detroit News

Washington Post: Guest column: Rick Snyder isn’t the only leader who abandoned Flint

By Robert Kleine, League board member and former Michigan treasurer: There is no question that Michigan has the some of the poorest, most decrepit cities in the United States. Flint regularly has among the highest homicide rates in the nation. Detroit, which has lost two-thirds of its population since the 1950s, is an international symbol of decay. This is not simply a matter of neglect; it’s a matter of policy.

The water crisis makes state aid even more urgent, because it’s going to drive down Flint’s already bargain-basement property values. Who’s going to buy a house in a city with lead-tainted water? Flint may never suffer another water crisis, but without structural changes to state and local government, its financial crises will never end. Feb. 1, 2016 — Washington Post

MLive: Lead levels elevated for thousands of Michigan children outside of Flint

That makes sense since poor families are more likely to live in older homes with lead paint and water pipes, particularly homes that haven’t been well-maintained so the paint is flaking and peeling, said Gilda Jacobs, president of the Michigan League for Public Policy, an advocacy group that tracks lead levels in children in its annual Kids Count report.

“If families are renting, they’re not going to be the people responsible for replacing the water pipes and the landlord has no incentive,” Jacobs said.

“Everybody is saying that Flint is the canary in the coal mine, and it really is,” Jacobs said.

“The public and public officials are becoming aware of the horrible impact that lead that can have on a child’s health and long-term development,” Jacobs said. “It’s putting a spotlight on changes that need to be made at a local, state and national level.” Feb. 1, 2016 — MLive

Michigan Radio: “Our obsession with tax cuts” has led to a crumbling infrastructure

I wondered – could it be that Flint is sort of the “canary in the coal mine,” sounding a warning we all need to hear? I decided to put that question to someone in a position to know – Charles Ballard, professor of economics at Michigan State University [and Michigan League for Public Policy Board President] and the author of an acclaimed book, “Michigan’s Economic Future.”

Yes, we’d be paying a little more in taxes – but a whole lot less in the costs of broken axles, bankrupt cities and broken water mains. You don’t have to be an economist to know that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Professor Ballard also said all we would need to conquer these problems is the political will to tackle infrastructure problems, which would be the common sense thing to do.

But common sense, once again, is unfortunately, not a very common thing. Jan. 29, 2016 — Michigan Radio

Plymouth-Canton Patch: Teen births so low in Plymouth Township they can’t be measured

The study, released by the Michigan League for Public Policy, said teen births were too low (less than 20 over the three years of the study) in three communities — Plymouth Township, East Lansing and Bloomfield Township — to calculate a reliable percentage of teen births.

The report showed Michigan’s overall teen birth rate of 24 births per 1,000 was below the national average of 27 teen births per 1,000 in 2013, and had dropped 40 percent from 1992-2013, from 13 percent in 1992 to 7 percent of all births in 2013.

Still, the report noted, American teens are more than twice as likely to have babies as teens in Canada, four times more likely than teens in Germany and Norway, and almost 10 times more likely than teens in Switzerland. Jan. 25, 2016 — Plymouth-Canton Patch

Indivisible Institute: How to talk: The water crisis in Flint

The people of Flint are already on the case. The nonpartisan Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Governor Rick Snyder’s 2016 State of the State address:

“Tonight the Governor outlined a plan of action to address the Flint water crisis, and now it’s up to him to roll up his sleeves, show some leadership and push the Legislature—led by his party—to get it done. This man-made disaster poisoned communities and will have lifelong consequences for kids and families in Flint. We have to make sure that the policy solutions and support for these children and their families are also life-long, and guarantee that human suffering for the sake of cost-savings never, ever happens again, in any community in the state, under anyone’s watch.”
Jan. 25, 2016 — Indivisible Institute

Oakland Press: Teen pregnancy declining but still an issue

“We have far fewer babies born to teen moms today and we should be thrilled with this progress, but we must not slow our efforts,” said Alicia Guevara-Warren, Kids Count in Michigan Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We still have too many babies born to teen moms.”

The annual rate in Michigan of 24 births per 1,000 teens ages 15-19 remained below the national average of 27 in 2013, and both state and national rates have steadily declined over the past two decades, according to the Kids Count report. In 1992, roughly 18,000 Michigan teens had a baby compared with 8,000 in 2013. Jan. 23, 2016 — Oakland Press

Lansing State Journal: The dark side of Powerball

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, which advocates for economic opportunity for low-income families, said the idea of winning a lottery appeals to lots of folks, regardless of income levels.

“People say, ‘Why not me? Somebody’s got to win,'” Jacobs said.

She has objected to a flood of bills introduced in the state Legislature to strip away lottery winnings from those who have sought public assistance in the past. Since the state is actively promoting the purchase of lottery tickets on one hand and saying ‘tsk, tsk’ to some lottery players on the other, it amounts to hypocrisy.

“You have these very attractive ads that show all these people winning the lotteries and living in paradise and we say ‘no, no, no, don’t do that’ when we encourage people to do that,” she said. Jan. 12, 2016 — Lansing State Journal

Ambassador Magazine: A tale of two cities

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, says that the region has to keep in mind the “story behind the story.”

“While Michigan’s jobless rate of 5 percent was lower than the national average of 5.1 percent, she says, unemployment in the city of Detroit is more than double that at 12.2 percent. We need to figure out how we can make Detroit an area of shared prosperity where everybody can enjoy the (growth) that is (being experienced) in downtown and Midtown. Right now, that’s not what’s happening.” November/December 2015 — Ambassador Magazine

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