Great places make for a strong economy, and the research supports that contention. By employing community-based placemaking strategies, we strengthen both our economic and social future. The League believes that at the heart of great places are strong cities. Across the country, cities account for over 80 percent of GDP, but in Michigan we have failed to invest in this vital resource.

After years of working within the existing paradigms, the League is undertaking a major legislative and policy push aimed at reforming municipal finance in Michigan to encourage renewed investment in our communities. This is intended to be an examination of how we can do things differently in Michigan to assure that local government can’t just survive, but can thrive. To that end, the League will be developing policy recommendations around three themes: Cost Containment, Revenue Enhancement, and Structure of Government.

We are taking this approach to break away from the historically limiting tactic of incremental change within the context of where we are today. We need new ideas, innovative approaches, and bold action to create a new future for communities around Michigan.

Is this an issue that you care about and would like to have a discussion about locally? The League will work with you to plan an event in your hometown with community groups, local chambers of commerce, local media, etc. Just contact us and we will provide resources and/or a speaker to help foster the discussion.


A Broken System

Michigan has the most abysmal record for investing in local government. It’s worse than any state in the nation, and this directly relates to our ability to provide great services and create the places we all know are needed to be competitive in a global economy. We must reform our system to invest in what matters most: our communities.


12 Dec 17

New CRC Report Outlines Financial Challenges Ahead for Michigan Municipalities

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has issued a new report about the implications of state budget issues on local governments. This report, titled Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget, is very much in line with the SaveMICity messaging about the fact that the state's system for municipalities is broken. In particular, the report shows that if we don't fix our broken system the financial picture is going to get worse for our communities. Here…

04 Dec 17

St. Joseph Herald-Palladium Series Breaks Down Michigan’s Broken System for Funding Municipalities

There's an excellent, well-written article and series in Sunday's St. Joseph Herald-Palladium by John Matuszak about revenue sharing and how the state's system for funding municipalities is broken. This is an in-depth series that should be on the must-read list for every state lawmaker, business owner, resident and journalist (basically everyone) who has even the slightest interest in Michigan's communities. The main article, with the headline, "Dollars down the drain: Local governments see decades of…

21 Nov 17

The Nashville Experiment and How Michigan is Still in Retreat

Michigan continues to fall behind in the race to attract talent. While our lawmakers continue to talk about tax cuts and regulations other states are investing in what really matters - communities. Interesting article here in CityLab about Nashville, Tenn., efforts to building what would be an amazing public transit system. Definitely worth checking out. There are a lot of similarities to what Nashville experienced in sending a transit question to voters and the ongoing…


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That according to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2002 – 2012 revenues for the State of Michigan increased 29%, but revenues the state provided to local government for local services like police, fire, and recreation, decreased by more than 56%.