University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

The Michigan Public Policy Survey


The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is a program of state-wide surveys of local government leaders in Michigan. The MPPS is designed to fill an important information gap in the policymaking process. While there are ongoing surveys of the business community and of the citizens of Michigan, before the MPPS there were no ongoing surveys of local government officials that were representative of all general purpose local governments in the state. Therefore, while we knew the policy priorities and views of the state's businesses and citizens, we knew very little about the views of the local officials who are so important to the economies and community life throughout Michigan.

The MPPS was launched in 2009 by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan and is conducted in partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Townships Association. The associations provide CLOSUP with contact information for the survey's respondents, and consult on survey topics. CLOSUP makes all decisions on survey design, data analysis, and reporting, and receives no funding support from the associations.

The surveys investigate local officials' opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues and solicit factual information about their localities relevant to policymaking. Over time, the program has covered issues such as fiscal, budgetary and operational policy, fiscal health, public sector compensation, workforce development, local-state governmental relations, intergovernmental collaboration, economic development strategies and initiatives such as placemaking and economic gardening, the role of local government in environmental sustainability, energy topics such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and wind power, trust in government, views on state policymaker performance, opinions on the impacts of the Federal Stimulus Program (ARRA), and more. The program will investigate many other issues relevant to local and state policy in the future.

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MPPS Reports

Michigan local government leaders say transit services are important, but lack of funding discourages their development

Local leaders say Michigan road funding needs major increase, but lack consensus on options that would raise the most revenue

Despite increasingly formal financial management, relatively few Michigan local governments have adopted recommended policies

Most Michigan local officials are satisfied with their privatized services, but few seek to expand further

Michigan local governments finally pass fiscal health tipping point overall, but one in four still report decline

The impact of tax-exempt properties on Michigan local governments

Michigan's local leaders generally support Detroit bankruptcy filing despite some concerns

Michigan local government fiscal health continues gradual improvement, but smallest jurisdictions lagging

Local leaders support reforming Michigan’s system of funding local government

Local leaders support eliminating Michigan’s Personal Property Tax if funds are replaced, but distrust state follow-through

Michigan’s local leaders are divided over the state’s emergency manager law

Fiscal stress continues for hundreds of Michigan jurisdictions, but conditions trend in positive direction overall

State funding incentives increase local collaboration, but also raise concerns

Local officials react to state policy innovation tying revenue sharing to dashboards and incentive funding

MPPS finds fiscal health continues to decline across the state, though some negative trends eased in 2011

Local government leaders say most employees are not overpaid, though some benefits may be too generous

Local government leaders say economic gardening can help grow their economies

Local governments struggle to cope with fiscal, service, and staffing pressures

Fiscal Stimulus Package Mostly Ineffective for Local Economies

Fall 2009 Key Findings Report: Educational, Economic, and Workforce Development Issues at the Local Level

October 2009: Local Government Fiscal and Economic Development Issues


MPPS Resources

Find Questions & Topics

Data Tables



Individual Study Pages

More on the MPPS

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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy