Statement: House fails health consumers

Statement on the House Health Policy Committee’s vote today against a state-based health exchange

 “State House leaders have failed Michigan health consumers.

More than a year ago, Gov. Snyder and the Senate showed positive leadership in moving ahead to create a Michigan-based health exchange. We agree with the governor that the next best option is a state-federal partnership. Michigan health consumers deserve an exchange that will lead to quality, affordable health care coverage.

A consumer-friendly Michigan exchange could still be pursued in the coming year.’’

Statement may be attributed to Karen Holcomb-Merrill, policy director of the Michigan League for Public Policy

WKZO: Income gap growing, study shows

The old saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is accurate, according to a new survey from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.

Judy Putnam with the Michigan League for Public Policy tells WKZO it is not good, but it could be worse. Nov. 19, 2012 — WKZO

Daily Tribune: Income gap widens between Michigan’s wealthiest and poorest families

Falling incomes for Michigan’s poorest households have increased the already wide income gap with the richest households, according to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. Nov. 19, 2012 — Daily Tribune

Michigan Radio: Fewer Michigan college students getting need-based grants

A new study finds the number of state financial aid grants distributed in Michigan is falling, and that’s making it harder for college students to come up with tuition.

That’s especially true for poorer students in Michigan. Nov. 21, 2012 — Michigan Radio

Fiscal slope: Do’s and Don’ts

There are roughly six weeks left before the expiration of the Bush tax cuts  and the start of sequestration. In those six weeks, Congress has a whole lot of work to do to put the country on a more responsible fiscal path.

A responsible fiscal path not only entails tackling the deficit and reducing our debt to a manageable level, but also taking a balanced approach while doing so. A balanced approach gives us a better chance of working on our fiscal troubles while avoiding harm to our recovering economy and to families who have fallen on hard times. (more…)

Let’s keep it affordable for our state’s sake

College tuition has doubled in the past decade, student debt is becoming unmanageable, and students with limited income have less grant aid available than before. That is not a winning prescription for making sure Michigan’s workers have the skills to compete in the 21st century economy.

As shown in a new Michigan League for Public Policy report, Keeping It Affordable in Michigan, Michigan used to have up to eight state-funded need-based grant programs, but now has only three. Two of the remaining grants, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and the Michigan Tuition Grant, have reduced their maximum awards and the number of students awarded. (more…)

College grant aid falls

Nov. 20, 2012
Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436 or

College less affordable in Michigan with big cuts to need-based grants

[LANSING, Mich.] — Michigan policymakers dramatically disinvested in state financial aid grants over the past decade, weakening a key strategy to keep postsecondary education affordable, a new study concludes.

Keeping it Affordable in Michigan, a report by the Michigan League for Public Policy, finds that over the last decade Michigan policymakers:

• Cut need-based grants by 20 percent while other states increased their need-based grants by 84 percent.
• Invested the least in grant dollars per student in the Midwest.
• Offered grants to only 14 percent of students, ranking Michigan 40th from the top.
• Gave a large share of need-based grants to students from higher-income families attending private colleges. (more…)

Congress: Please no Thanksgiving drama

As we approach the end of the year, Michigan families are once again doing the things they do each year in November: bringing out winter coats, planning for the holidays, deciding on end-of-year charitable contributions and, for nearly 93,000 Michigan families with a long-term unemployed breadwinner,  wondering if their Unemployment Insurance benefits will run out before they find work.

As we baste turkey, let’s tell Congress not to play chicken with long-term Unemployment Insurance this year. Last year, and the year before, Congress dragged its feet on renewing the benefits until the very last minute, creating drama in the U.S. Capitol and in households for which long-term UI is a lifeline. (This is the third autumn in a row that a blog urging renewal has appeared in this space). (more…)

The Detroit News Commentary: Low taxes not the road to prosperity

Michigan’s voters sent a loud message to the state’s policymakers on taxes on Election Day. On Proposal 5, a well-informed public took the time to read and understand that a plan to virtually eliminate the ability of state lawmakers to raise any state taxes was dangerous to Michigan’s future. No on 5, a campaign I was proud to help lead, with many other organizations in the state, won 70 percent of the votes cast. November 19, 2012 — The Detroit News Commentary

Public News Service Report: Poor keep getting poorer in Michigan

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in Michigan, and around the nation. November 16, 2012 — Public News Service

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