Michigan cities’ revenue is down 12 percent

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Michigan cities aren’t generating as much revenue as they used to.

According to a Public Sector Consultants report released today by the Michigan Municipal League and the Save MICity Initiative, Michigan cities have 12 percent less revenue compared to 15 years ago.

“This report illustrates why Michigan cities have had to cut and reduce staffing for police, fire, street improvements and other municipal services over the last two decades,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League.

The study can be viewed at SaveMICity.org/revenue-snapshot — the report shows the losses in revenue for Michigan communities from 2002 to 2017. The data came from the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“Clearly, cities and villages across Michigan have already learned to do more with less, but the collective loss of more than $8 billion over the last 15 years is no longer tenable for our communities,” Gilmartin said. “There’s just no more room for our governmental entities to cut—additional losses now will negatively impact the way they deliver services for residents, which hurts the viability of Michigan as a competitive state in the Midwest and beyond.”

Key findings of the 225 cities studied:

  • From 2002 to 2017, on an inflation-adjusted basis, the cities experienced a decline of nearly 12 percent in total revenue, a 37-percent decline in state revenue sharing, and a 15-percent decline in property taxes.
  • 173 of the cities studied saw revenue decline or grow by less than 2 percent over the 15-year-period.
  • Only 52 cities saw growth of 3 percent or more.

It should be noted that the report excluded Detroit due to its impact on overall metrics. The database does store Detroit’s numbers, which were not factored into the comprehensive report. Those statistics show that Detroit saw a total decline in all revenues of nearly 34 percent with nearly a 64-percent drop in state revenue sharing, and more than a 33-percent drop in property taxes.

The report and online tool are part of the League’s SaveMICity initiative, which raises awareness about the state of Michigan’s disinvestment in its communities. Since 2002, Michigan has ranked last in the nation when it comes to funding its communities.

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