Michigan Voters Want Significant Budget Reform and Specific Budget Cuts


DETROIT, July 10, 2009 – “The Michigan public is very clear that they want to see significant budget reform and they are specific on where they want to see cuts,” said Doug Rothwell, President of Detroit Renaissance. A comparison of the results of polls conducted for Detroit Renaissance in 2008 and 2009 with a poll conducted by EPIC-MRA this week shows many similarities. For example:

  • Both polls showed the public thinks the state is on the wrong track:  75% for the EPIC poll and 63% for the Renaissance poll
  • Both polls showed the public thinks the budget can and should be balanced through spending cuts alone:  54% each
  • Both polls found general agreement among voters as to where to cut the budget, including public employee workforce size, pay and benefits and corrections spending
  • Both polls showed more support for extending the sales tax to services than raising the income tax among tax reform options

However, the poll results differed in several important areas, including:

  • The EPIC poll found the public opposed to reducing business taxes, but the Renaissance poll found that 92% believe Michigan needs to reform taxes, a majority (52%) believed taxes were higher on business in Michigan than in other states and 54% believe taxes have hurt job creation.
  • The Renaissance poll found that the public supported extending the sales tax to services, reducing the sales tax rate and lowering business taxes by 57 to 37%.
  • The Renaissance poll found the public opposed the idea of enacting a graduated income tax by 48 to 47% versus the EPIC poll which showed support by a 54 to 38% margin.

Both poll results underscore broad dissatisfaction with the way state leaders are managing budget challenges. Renaissance polls showed 87% of voters feel that Michigan’s political leaders are doing a fair or poor job on budgeting and spending.

“Voters are consistent about what they feel lawmakers need to do to put our state back on the right track,” said Doug Rothwell, president, Detroit Renaissance. “We urge state legislators to act on input from voters by making the tough budget cuts needed to balance the budget by reducing the state workforce, cutting pay and benefits to that of the average worker and reducing Corrections spending.” He added, “The clock is ticking so we need them to act now. Michigan can’t afford another embarrassment like we saw in 2007 with a government shut-down and tax increases because our political leaders didn’t do their jobs.”

“Michigan voters have been far ahead of their elected leadership in how to restructure Michigan’s budget for nearly a year. The recent polls conducted by us and EPIC MRA showed  that voters understand the state is in a crisis situation and ready for major structural changes in spending and taxes.”

The Detroit Renaissance polls were conducted by Glengariff Group, Inc., which performed random digit dial, 800 sample statewide surveys of Michigan voters in July 2008 and May 2009 Demographic groups included region, party affiliation, union affiliation, ethnicity, age, income, and gender. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5% with a 95 level of confidence.

About Detroit Renaissance:
Detroit Renaissance provides leadership to accelerate the economic transformation of Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Renaissance accomplishes this work through serving as a catalyst to develop growth strategies, advocating for those strategies and championing specific initiatives that accelerate growth. A 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in 1970, Detroit Renaissance includes the chief executive officers of the region’s most significant employers and universities. For more information, visit www.detroitrenaissance.com.

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