Educators question whether 3rd-grade reading bill will improve literacy without extra funding

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, praised the legislation for taking steps to address literacy, but said more efforts are needed to address poverty and hunger. Sept 29, 2016 — MLive

Poverty in Oakland County

“The fact is that Michigan has not had this full rebound,” said Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of Michigan League for Public Policy. “There are pockets where you don’t expect to find poverty. A lot of people lost homes, have had their incomes slashed, lost their jobs and don’t have them again, have taken part-time jobs, or are often working two part-time jobs and it’s still not enough to support their families. They’re living in, or from, affluent areas. The downturn in the economy was very far-reaching, and we’re still feeling the effects of it.” Sept 27, 2016 — Downtown Publication

Report: University tuition in Michigan is 6th highest in US

Michigan’s public universities collectively have the sixth-highest in-state tuition rates in the country, averaging $11,991, according to a report.

The study issued this month by the Michigan League for Public Policy — a Lansing-based advocacy group for the poor — links rising tuition and student debt to decreased state higher education funding and state financial aid. Sept 21, 2016 — Grand Rapids Business Journal

Going to college and hoping not to get into debt

This time of year is when a rite of passage for many parents takes place: dropping off a child at a college or university dormitory for the first time and saying goodbye. My wife and I took part in that ritual a few weeks ago with our daughter, Sophia. (more…)

Want to keep and attract young talent? Vote yes for regional transit in Southeast Michigan

Mario Gruszczynski

Mario Gruszczynski

Every day when I came to work at the League this summer, I had to take two buses. I would walk just a few blocks from my house to Grand River Ave. in downtown East Lansing. I took a bus at 7:20 a.m. to the Capitol in Lansing, and then I would get off just in time to hop on a bus going to our offices in Old Town. I timed my commute pretty well and door-to-door it took me about 40 minutes to get to work. My commute home was slightly more difficult, mainly because there’s more traffic and more people using the bus system. I planned for about an hour to get home. (more…)

Vote yes for regional transit in Southeast Michigan


September 2016
Mario Gruszczynski, Intern

In November, voters in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties will decide whether to approve a plan that would finally bring regional transit to Southeast Michigan. The plan would include Bus Rapid Transit, a Regional Rail connecting Ann Arbor and Detroit, and Cross-County Connector Buses. For a house with a taxable value of $100,000, a homeowner would pay a millage of about $120 per year. The plan is the most significant attempt at regional cooperation in the last 40 years. This effort recognizes that communities in Southeast Michigan are bound by a shared fate, even as division has characterized area politics for generations. It is a way forward, addressing both the practical challenges the region currently faces as well as the historical inequities that have divided it. Voters must capitalize on this opportunity for regionalism and approve the ballot initiative to move toward a more connected Southeast Michigan.

vote-yes-chart-1The Problems with the Region’s Current Transit System:

  • Southeast Michigan’s current regional transit system, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), is underfunded compared to other U.S. metropolitan areas.
  • SMART does not reach much of metro Detroit, as many communities have opted out of service.
  • A lack of regional transit perpetuates economic inequality. According to the national Economic Policy Institute, the region ranks third worst in terms of economic inequality in Michigan. For workers with low incomes who cannot afford a car, a lack of reliable transportation can hinder upward mobility.

Regional Transit Will Help:

Young People: 73% of Detroit millennials want better public transportation. If the region wants to retain young talent, public officials must understand the kinds of communities in which young people want to live. Graduating with significant debt burdens, many college graduates rely on public transportation in the absence of a car.

Senior Citizens: Some seniors may be less able to drive as they age. 83% of older Americans say public transit provides easy access to things in everyday life.

Workers: Southeast Michigan is a regional economy. Michiganians travel across the region every day to work. Currently, 92% of jobs in the region are inaccessible by public transportation. That means that without a car, workers have very few options when it comes to work.

Employers: A connected region will create a new group of potential employees and customers who were previously unable to access these businesses. A well-funded regional transit system will be more reliable in getting workers to their jobs in a predictable and timely manner.

The Region and State: Southeast Michigan continues to lag behind the nation’s other metropolitan areas in terms of investment in public transit. This makes the region less competitive for new businesses and young professionals. In order to compete in the fast-changing economy of today, the region needs a competitive infrastructure. As the largest metropolitan area in the state, Michigan’s people and economy as a whole will benefit from a better connected Southeast Michigan.

vote-yes-chart-2Vote Yes

This November, vote for a better regional transit system that will bring Southeast Michigan and its communities together. To learn more about the Regional Master Transit Plan, check out the Regional Transit Authority’s website. To learn more about the ballot initiative, check out Citizens for Connecting our Communities.

Regional Transit Authority’s Master Plan:

Citizens for Connecting our Communities:

Michigan families continue to struggle


September 2016
Senior Policy Analyst, Peter Ruark



Passage of third-grade reading bill good start, broader efforts to address poverty still needed

Contact: Alex Rossman

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Michigan Legislature’s passage of third-grade reading legislation today. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. (more…)

League applauds action to improve third-grade reading

Contact: Alex Rossman

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on today’s action on third-grade reading legislation. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. (more…)

Census data shows Flint and Detroit poverty worst in nation, people of color still struggling statewide

Contact: Alex Rossman

Michigan’s economic “recovery” still dependent on zip code, skin color

LANSING—Data released by the United States Census Bureau today shows that Flint and Detroit have the highest poverty rates of comparable cities in the United States and that Michiganians of color are struggling, issues the Michigan League for Public Policy has been working hard to address. (more…)

Next Page »