News Releases

Reversing Michigan’s deep higher ed cuts

Contact: Judy Putnam or Karen Holcomb-Merrill at (517) 487-5436

Michigan cuts to higher education among worst in country
Shortchanging universities reduces access to higher education, hurts economy

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan has cut funding to public universities and colleges deeper than 37 other states since the start of the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  As a result, tuition has risen dramatically, making it harder for many to go to college and for the state to attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.

While per-student funding increased modestly, (4.8 percent), over the past year, Michigan cut funding for higher education overall by 28 percent since 2008, according to the report. That’s a decrease of $1,631 per student, when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, the average tuition at a public, four-year college in Michigan shot up by 21.5 percent or $2,050 — the 16th largest tuition increase in the country.

“Michigan needs more highly educated workers to draw employers who pay competitive wages. Their workers will spend those wages in the community, boosting the economy of the entire area,’’ said Karen Holcomb-Merrill, policy director at the Michigan League for Public Policy, which helped release the report. “Smart investments in public colleges and universities will help Michigan’s economy. That’s what our state needs.’’

When the recession hit in 2008 and tax revenue dropped, Michigan, like most states, relied heavily on spending cuts. Michigan is now among just six states asking students and families to shoulder higher education costs (vs. state support) by a ratio of at least 2-to-1, the report found.

In 2013-14, Michigan increased state funding by $190 per full-time student. While that’s a positive step, the report finds that 32 other states increased their per-student spending more.

Nationwide, states are spending 23 percent less than they did in 2008 on higher education, and tuition is up 28 percent. As a result, public colleges and universities nationwide cut faculty positions, eliminated course offerings, closed campuses, shut down computer labs, and reduced library services.

In Michigan, tuition is now the sixth-highest in the country and needs-based financial aid has suffered, particularly for students over 30 years old. Due to the elimination of several grant programs in 2009, no existing grant programs serve this purpose.

To reverse these trends, Michigan needs to make higher education a priority.  A large and growing share of jobs will require college-educated workers, and the only way to make sure Michigan students are prepared is to keep higher education affordable. The state is moving in the right direction in requiring universities to limit annual tuition increases to 3.2 percent in order to receive all or part of their funding increases.

In order to make sure Michigan has enough money to fund higher education adequately, lawmakers must reject income tax rollbacks that have been introduced this session. They should also tread lightly in using General Fund dollars to repair Michigan’s battered roads as other sources of revenue (fuel taxes) are available.

“More jobs in the future will require college-educated workers,” said Michael Mitchell, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report. “For the sake of its economy and future workforce, Michigan should start reinvesting in its colleges and universities now.”

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 The Center’s full report can be found at: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4135

 

Media Advisory: Pedro Noguera on race equity and education

Contact: Danielle Smith, dsmith@mlpp.org, 313.231.1459, or Judy Putnam, jputnam@mlpp.org, 517.487.5436

MEDIA ADVISORY: Opportunity & Equity 2014

WHO: Sociologist and NYU Professor Pedro Noguera will speak in Novi from 1:10-2:30 p.m. Monday, May 5. Noguera, considered a leading national voice in urban school reform, will discuss race equity and education.

WHAT: Michigan League for Public Policy and the Prosperity Coalition will host Opportunity & Equity 2014, a conference that brings together individuals and organizations to explore successful concepts in public policy including education, income inequity, asset building and more.

WHY: Michigan League for Public Policy and the Prosperity Coalition will bring a host of experts in the fields of race equity, education, budget and tax policy and more, to address the fact that each day many people struggle to make ends meet. Additional speakers, including Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press; Shirley Stancato, New Detroit and Dr. Charles Ballard, Michigan State University, will explore strategies to reduce poverty, increase equity and build prosperity.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, May 5. Registration 8:30 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. For a schedule of events see: http://www.prosperitycoalition.org/economic-opportunity/opportunity-equity-2014-statewide-convening-may-5-2014

WHERE: Sheraton Detroit Novi Hotel, 21111 Haggerty Road, Novi, MI 48375

Free meals for kids in high-poverty schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Justin Rumenapp (jrumenapp@ccj-mi.org) or Marybeth Laisure (mlaisure@ccj-mi.org) at the Center for Civil Justice, (810) 244-8044 or
Judy Putnam (jputnam@mlpp.org) at the Michigan League for Public Policy, (517) 487-5436

Schools in low-income areas may offer free breakfast and lunch this fall

FLINT, Mich. – A total of 822 schools located in high-poverty areas have the option to offer school lunches and breakfasts to all students at no charge this fall. The lunches and breakfasts will be offered as part of what is known as the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, and the Michigan Department of Education is taking applications through June 30. While the main goal of CEP is to reduce hunger among at-risk student populations, the provision also helps to reduce school paperwork and erase meal debt.

“When schools offer meals to all students, it’s really a benefit to all stakeholders,” said Marybeth Laisure, Center for Civil Justice’s Child Nutrition Director. “Children are better prepared to learn on full stomachs, and teachers report fewer behavioral outbursts.”

Schools are allowed to serve meals under CEP if 40 percent or more of the student population qualifies for other assistance programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). There are 562 schools buildings currently utilizing the program in Michigan, and the state saw a 10 percent increase in student lunches and breakfasts participation as a result.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Michigan’s eligible schools to make sure the students they serve get enough to eat,’’ said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Offering free breakfasts and lunches is a win-win for everybody.’’

Thanks to the success of pilot schools in Michigan, eight other states and the District of Columbia, the Community Eligibility Provision is expanding nationwide. All state agencies must publish a list of eligible and near-eligible schools by May 1. Michigan Department of Education’s list of eligible buildings can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/2012-2013_CEO_Eligible_Buildings_383192_7.pdf.

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Center for Civil Justice is a non-profit group that monitors changes in public assistance policy and advocates on behalf of low-income clients.

The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition, www.prosperitycoalition.org.

Race for Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Judy Putnam or Jane Zehnder-Merrell at (517) 487-5437
Editors: A Michigan summary is available here 

Race for Results: Michigan’s largest racial/ethnic groups fall below national average in child well-being

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s future prosperity is linked to how well we prepare the state’s current generation of children for the jobs of the 21st century. A new KIDS COUNT® report shows that Michigan has a long way to go to eliminate barriers for children, particularly African American kids, to accomplish that goal.

Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation today, for the first time uses an index based on 12 key milestones and conditions for children across racial and ethnic groups for the nation and the states.

“These results show starkly different conditions in our state for children of different races and places,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, director of the Kids Count in Michigan project at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Our state and local policymakers must focus on strategies to increase opportunities for families with children in all racial/ethnic groups to have better outcomes and conditions.”

Michigan had the third lowest state score (244) in the nation for the overall well-being of African-American children —only one point better than Mississippi (243). (Wisconsin had the worst score: 238.) The stakes are high as one of every six children in Michigan is African American.

Overall, the index shows that at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones. Using a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), nationally Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 776 followed by white children at 704. Scores for Latino (404), American-Indian (387) and African American (345) children are distressingly lower.

Similar to the national results, Michigan’s Asian children scored the highest (787), followed by whites (668), American Indians (501), Hispanic/Latinos (411) and African Americans (244). The indices for Asian, American Indian and Hispanic/Latinos in Michigan were better than those of their national counterparts.

The overall well-being of Asian and white children in Michigan was roughly triple that of African American children, but that of white children fell slightly below their national counterparts by six points. More distressing was the 100-point shortfall for conditions facing the state’s African American children compared with their national counterparts.

Some of the suggested strategies to improve economic outcomes/conditions for Michigan families with children include:

• Reinstate the state Earned Income Tax Credit at 20% of the federal EITC
• Increase the child care subsidy amount and eligibility level to assure access to high-quality care
• Raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour (from $7.40)

The index measures success at each stage of childhood, as well as the economic and social context for children’s lives from birth to adulthood. The indicators were grounded in the goal that all children should grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones. To compare results across the areas in the index, the indicators are grouped into four areas: early childhood; education and early work; family supports; and neighborhood context.

The report demonstrates how much state averages mask the dramatically different outcomes and conditions experienced by children of diverse races/ethnicity. For example, the state average hardly
varied from the national average on almost all indicators.

In contrast, eight of the 12 outcomes and conditions for the state’s African American children were substantially worse than those of their national counterparts. Of most concern, the percentage of the state’s African American children living in low-poverty neighborhoods (poverty rates less than 20%) were the worst in the nation: 30 percentage points below the national average—worse than Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Opportunities for Michigan’s white children were ranked 34th among the 50 states (with No. 1 the best) with scores falling behind their national counterparts in many key areas:

• Percent fourth graders proficient in reading
• Percent eighth graders proficient in math
• Young adults ages 25-29 with an associate’s degree or more
• Children living above 200% of the federal poverty level (roughly $37,000 for a family of three and $47,000 for a family of four)

The three indicators where at least three racial/ethnic groups in the state compared poorly with the national average were all in the area of education:

• Percent fourth graders proficient in reading
• Percent eighth graders proficient in math
• High school students graduating on time

On the other hand, children in three of Michigan’s racial/ethnic groups were more likely to live with a householder who had at least a high school diploma than their national counterparts.

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

For more information: KIDS COUNT Data Center, which is home to comprehensive national, state and local statistics on child well-being. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition, www.prosperitycoalition.org

Statement: Healthy Michigan Plan launch

Statement: Great news for Michigan’s uninsured with launch of Healthy Michigan Plan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436 or jputnam@mlpp.org

The following statement by Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs is in reaction to the Department of Community Health’s announcement that Healthy Michigan Plan enrollment will begin April 1.

“The April 1 launch of the Healthy Michigan Plan is fantastic news for the many uninsured in Michigan. Moving ahead with an expanded Medicaid program in Michigan will wisely use available federal dollars to improve health in our state. It will make sure parents and single adults get the health care they need to be productive workers and citizens.”

For more information, see a new League fact sheet.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan state-level policy institute dedicated to economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition, www.prosperitycoalition.org. 

Nokomis Legacy goal exceeded

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

League exceeds fundraising goal to grow Nokomis gift

LANSING, Mich. — A challenge to raise $250,000 for the Nokomis Foundation Legacy Endowment has been met and exceeded, Robert Swanson, the chair of the board of the Michigan League for Public Policy, announced today.

In all, a $2.4 million endowment has been created, as the result of a gift from the Grand Rapids-based Nokomis Foundation. Nokomis donated $1 million in 2012 to the League with a pledge of another $1 million if the League raised $250,000 in donations and pledges from supporters and new donors.

“I’m thrilled to report that longtime supporters as well as new donors stepped up to help us meet that challenge, and even go beyond,” Swanson said. “It’s great to know that so many care about sustaining the work of the League to improve the lives of Michigan’s economically vulnerable citizens.” (more…)

Statement: Stronger EITC will help Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Statement: Strengthening tax credits will boost Michigan’s economy

The following statement was released by Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs in reaction to the release of the president’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

 “President Obama’s budget includes key improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit that will lessen poverty among low-wage workers, reduce income inequality, strengthen work incentives, and boost Michigan’s economy — all without adding a dime to the deficit.

 “Expanding the now-minuscule Earned Income Tax Credit for working childless adults and non-custodial parents would help 470,000 people in Michigan. Raising the maximum EITC for these childless workers and making workers between the ages of 21 and 25 eligible will substantially increase their after-tax incomes and incentive to work.

 “The President’s proposal also will significantly help low-income working families with children by making important improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent instead of allowing them to expire in 2017. More than 428,000 families in Michigan benefited from these improvements last year. In each year from 2009 to 2012, they lifted an average of 46,200 Michiganians, including 26,700 children, out of poverty.”

 For more information, see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

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 The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan state-level policy institute dedicated to economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition, www.prosperitycoalition.org.

 

Making Ends Meet in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

How much do you need to earn to cover your most basic needs or that of your family’s? A new report released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy offers the answer.

Making Ends Meet in Michigan: A Basic Needs Income Level for Family Well-Being compiles the costs of providing the basics – housing, food, transportation, personal items, health care and, if you have children, child care.  On average, it takes $10.37 an hour (or $21,570 annually) for a single person with no children, jumping to $21.23 an hour ($44,164 annually) for a single parent with two preschool children largely because of child care expenses.

“We’re not including any vacations or any luxuries at all in this report and no savings for retirement or emergencies either. These are the ‘bare bones’ costs that individuals and families face just to get by without turning to public assistance,’’ said League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. (more…)

Income tax rollback? It’s the pits

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Income tax rollback in Michigan? It’s the pits

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan League for Public Policy today served up an important message to lawmakers: An income tax rollback will help those at the very top who have already benefited from the economic recovery while leaving the rest of their constituents behind. (more…)

Widening income inequality in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436
Fact sheet on Michigan income inequality

Increasingly unequal states of America: income inequality grows

The top 1 percent of income earners in Michigan made nearly 20 times the income of the bottom 99 percent in 2011, a new report on widening income inequality finds. And Michigan is one of only four states where the top 1 percent of income earners experienced rising incomes between 1979 and 2007, while the average income of the bottom 99 percent fell.

The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, published by the Washington D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute for the Economic Analysis and Research Network finds that all 50 states have experienced widening income inequality in recent decades. (more…)

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