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.


17 Oct 16

Save Michigan Cities Event Happening in Flint October 25; Event Features Congressman Dan Kildee and Stephen Henderson of Detroit Free Press

We hope you can attend a special event in Flint next week about the state's broken system for funding municipalities. The event is 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, in Flint and it will feature Congressman Dan Kildee, Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson and others. This event is part of our saveMIcity.org initiative where the League has been traveling all over the state talking about Michigan’s broken system…

25 Aug 16

Hello, hello, anybody home? Hey, think McFly, think!

The Detroit Free Press killed it with their editorial "Lansing are you listening?"  Their editorial board gets it and understands what we all know to be true: Michigan cannot be successful if their communities are struggling. Michigan's current economic practices are killing our communities and it's time for a fresh look. The tidal wave of data that makes this point is overwhelming and continues to mount. Among other things, they highlighted the University of Michigan's Center for…

16 Aug 16

Jackson Not Alone in Municipal Finance Struggle

"This isn't a Jackson problem, it is a statewide problem.. The system is broken. The state has been taking those dollars, that were supposed to be directed to local government, and using them to balance the state budget. In total, right now when you look at the amount that was supposed to flow to cities, villages, townships and counties, it's $7.5 billion." - Anthony Minghine in mlive.com/Jackson Citizen Patriot. This is a quote from one of many…


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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%.