Connecting state and local government leaders

Report: Michigan Preemption Is a Case-by-Case Problem for Localities

Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, Michigan


Connecting state and local government leaders

Most local officials want “most” or “complete” authority over land and economic development, but not LGBT rights, minimum wages, plastic bag bans and the sharing economy.

Michigan’s state government takes away too much decision-making authority from localities, according to 70 percent of local officials who responded to last fall’s Michigan Public Policy Survey, which was released in April.

But most survey participants felt that wasn’t a bad thing where anti-discrimination, social, business, environment, and natural resource policies were concerned, according to a June report from the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

That sentiment didn’t extend to land use and planning nor, to a lesser degree, local economies, finances and taxes.

“Despite the large majority of local leaders concerned about state preemption, there are broad policy areas where local officials believe state government should take the lead,” reads the report.

This graph from the survey shows the breakdown, which was mostly in concert despite differences in local jurisdiction types, sizes and politics:

Notably, 42 percent of participants said state government should have the “most” authority regarding LGBT rights and equal opportunity laws, while 32 percent said it should have “complete” authority. When it came to setting a minimum wage, banning plastic bags or regulating Uber and Airbnb, 47 percent said the state should have the “most” authority and 19 percent “complete.”

As for zoning and permitting, 43 percent wanted local government to have the “most” authority and 49 percent “complete.” For tax policy, 49 percent of local officials wanted the “most” authority and 26 percent “complete.”

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Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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