If there’s a will, there’s a way

A new video and visually engaging report out today strongly makes the case for rebuilding the state’s education system, protecting Michigan’s abundant natural resources and investing in roads and our communities.

The project is called The Michigan Dream at Risk, from the Michigan Economic Center, an affiliate of Prima Civitas, a nonprofit organization that works to create resilient, adaptable communities in Michigan.

Gilda Z. Jacobs, the League’s president and CEO, and board members Charley Ballard and Bob Kleine were interviewed for the project. (more…)

A stronger Michigan economy is within reach

Yes we can grow Michigan’s economy, create good jobs and expand opportunities for all Michiganians with the right public policy decisions. A new report by Erica Williams at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities outlines how policymakers can make that happen.

Williams explains that states need to invest adequately in education, healthcare, transportation and workforce development. And in order to do that, they need to make decisions about how to raise and spend revenues with an eye toward the future. (more…)

Vets lose benefits as we celebrate Fourth of July

Just as we head into one of our most patriotic celebrations of the year next week (the Fourth of July), a new estimate out shows that 285,000 unemployed veterans will lose jobless benefits by the end of June, including thousands of out-of-work vets in Michigan.

Extended benefits known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation expired Dec. 28. Congress’ failure to extend the benefits means that 1.3 million workers were cut off from unemployment benefits nationwide at the end of last year, with an additional 1.6 million exhausting their regular state benefits in the first six months of this year. Included in those numbers are nearly 300,000 jobless vets, Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates. (more…)

Youth behind bars

Why do we recognize the immaturity of youth under age 18 in every other area except criminal justice? Isn’t it a bit odd to define maturity by criminal activity?

Over 20,000 Michigan youth have been placed in adult probation, prison or jail over the past decade, according to the report Youth Behind Bars released earlier this month by the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. Researchers found that most of these youth in the adult system committed nonviolent offenses, and almost three of five had no prior record. One-quarter had received mental health treatment before being imprisoned. (more…)

Minnesota vs. Michigan

Michigan and Minnesota certainly have a few things in common – both are “M’’ states in the Great Lakes region, both enjoy Lake Superior shorelines and a border with Canada. But a new report paints two very different pictures when it comes to taxation, spending and their economies.

State Policies Matter: How Minnesota’s Tax, Spending and Social Policies Help it Achieve the Best Economy Among Great Lake States, was written by Michigan journalist Rick Haglund for Michigan Future, Inc. It looks at why Minnesota enjoys one of the healthiest economies in the country while Michigan continues to struggle.

Minnesota is the wealthiest Great Lakes state and has the 11th highest per capita income in the country while Michigan trails 34 other states in income. The jobless rate in Minnesota was at 4.6% in December, compared with 8.4% in Michigan. (more…)

Maternal and infant risks in Michigan’s legacy cities

Roughly one of every four children in the state lives in one of Michigan’s legacy cities located across the southern half of the state’s Lower Peninsula. These legacy cities, once economic and social powerhouses, are now, in many cases, struggling with population loss and high unemployment.

Perhaps, not so surprising, risks to maternal and infant well-being are generally worse within these cities than the out-county areas in the counties where they are located.

The latest analysis of Right Start in Michigan, an annual report from Kids Count in Michigan, examines eight indicators to assess maternal and infant risks across the 15 so-called legacy cities. Only Ann Arbor, which has actually thrived in the new post-industrial economy, shows lower risk on almost all indicators than the out-county. (more…)

Public New Service: Report Too Many MI Babies Don’t Get the Right Start

Planning for a better future for Michigan means investing in the state’s kids before they’re even born. That’s according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy, which looks at maternal and infant well-being across the state. June 17, 2014 — Public News Service

Report: Giving babies the Right Start

Contact: Jane Zehnder-Merrell (janezm@mlpp.org) and Suban Nur Cooley (snurcooley@mlpp.org) at the Michigan League for Public Policy, (517) 487-5436

Right Start report highlights maternal/infant well-being in Michigan’s cities

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s cities have the most work to do in order to give infants a “Right Start” in life, a new report has shown, with maternal and infant well-being in 15 Michigan cities examined having worse outcomes on almost every measure compared with their out-county areas.

“For an infant born into disadvantaged communities, the inequities worsen as they grow – fewer state-supported early prevention and intervention programs are available,” says Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. (more…)

MLive: Big drop in Michigan welfare cases mean big savings, but at what cost to the poor?

Welfare spending in Michigan is shrinking at a faster pace than the state’s unemployment rate, a trend that suggests some needy adults — and their children — may be missing out on social safety nets designed to protect the poor. June 15, 2014 — MLive

Detroit Free Press: State’s health budget trims funding for infant mortality, public aid

Harper and Hutzel hospitals lost out on $6.5 million in state money to help fund their infant mortality and high-risk pregnancy programs in Detroit, when the Department of Community Health budget was approved by a conference committee Tuesday without the funding. June 11, 2014 — Detroit Free Press

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