Commuter Taxes Coming to the UP, Michigan Primary Coming Up, Michigan Supreme Court Election, Child Care Still a Big Issue, Federal Judiciary Limits, and Some Facts


This Week in Rural Insights

This week we will feature an article by Elsa Pontbriant as part of the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance about Jennifer and Jason Slagle of the Slagle Family Farm, located in Felch, Michigan in the northern part of Dickinson County. Slagle’s Farm is a diverse operation that has developed over a number of years and adapted to meet the needs of their customers. Don’t miss this article on Wednesday!

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Commuter Taxes Coming to the Upper Peninsula

Many of our Upper Peninsula communities are struggling with revenue issues and increasing demands for services. Inflation, no increases in mileage, tax abatements to businesses and cost of gasoline are really stressing budgets. That gasoline for the snow plows, the garbage truck, ambulance, etc., etc., are hitting budgets hard.

Many cities are looking at various sources of revenue to help with loss of revenue from millage rates that have not been increased in a long time. Some are looking at what many downstate cities have done with commuter taxes.

If you work, for instance, in Grand Rapids but live in Walker you will pay a commuter tax based on the income you earn in Grand Rapids. Logic is you are driving into the city and using their services, roads, etc., and they all cost money to maintain.

Should that income fairly come from commuter taxes? What do you think? More to come.

Michigan Primary Date Coming Up: Vote!

Eighty million people do not vote in our national primary and general elections. Upper Peninsula voters have always had a high participation rate, but nationally we have seen that dropping.

We certainly have primaries of importance across the UP, so get out there and vote. Take a family member or a neighbor who might not have transportation to the polls with you on August 2nd.

Michigan Supreme Court Has Important Election This Year

Two members of the state’s highest court are up for election. We have written before that our Supreme Court is all white–no person of color serves on the court.

The court also has no rural voice on it and no one specifically from the Upper Peninsula. So this year, one of these boxes might be checked off.

One of the candidates this year is a person of color. The Detroit News reports that the major political parties have put forth all male candidates this year, except for one Kyra Bolden.

Ms. Bolden is also a person of color. The Detroit News reports as the nation is watching the election power of women in 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court is one place to watch. You can find lots about each of the candidates for the court.

Do some checking on each candidate before voting for any of these judicial candidates.

Child Care Still a Big Issue in UP and Across Michigan

We are hearing from our readers that child care availability and cost is still a huge problem in the UP. If you can find any child care you trust, it most likely will cost more than you can afford.

Some organizations are working on some proposed solutions but still no increases in availability and options that a family can afford. Let us know more about what is going on in your community.

Let state and local elected officials know what you think and how this issue is impacting your family. Tell us what they tell you and we’ll tell our readers.

Skip the Polls–Go Direct and Tell Elected Officials Your Priorities

We read an interesting study recently that said voters have a strong impact on issues when they tell their elected officials their three top priorities.

The study recommends being very brief and very specific when telling them. Let them know you will be following what they do on these specific issues and it will matter to you on how they vote this Fall.

Tell them in person when you see them and via email, etc., but keep on telling them. The study says this is an old fashioned but effective way to not let the pollsters speak for us. Give it a shot.

Term Limits or Age Limits for Federal Judiciary

For the past few years, pundits and scholars have been talking about expanding the size of the US Supreme Court, or applying term limits and/or applying a maximum age requirement for service.

Recent polls are showing that only 25% of Americans trust the US Supreme Court–a big drop from past years. What do you think? More to come.


Electric Vehicles, EV’s, in our future:

National experts are saying that this is an issue for the rich; only the rich can afford EVs at current prices. EVs are expected to make up about 1 in 20 new vehicle sales this year.

Cost of Gasoline and Federal Disconnect:

A little disconnect coming from a US Secretary who posted the high cost of gasoline in nations around the world. Most of which were all higher than the US prices. BUT we doubt that working families and small businesses filling up their vehicles will feel relief from the fact that gasoline costs more in Europe. Tone deaf or just providing information?


“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato (428 BC -348 BC).

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact.” John Adams.

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Sarah Smith on June 27, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Using the “logic” that rationalizes a commuter tax (commuters use local services), then communities should institute an “absentee” tax DISCOUNT for snowbirds and other part-time residents who are NOT in a city for part of the year and do not use city services while they are not in residence. That, of course, brings up the additional question of why non-residents pay higher property taxes. Where is the justification for that? People who are not full-time residents typically do not send children to local schools, only use trash, water, and other services for part of the year, yet they pay more that local residents. This is a clear example of the old refrain of taxation without representation because the part-time residents do not vote locally and therefore have no input on local taxes and local elected officials.

    This commuter tax idea is madness. So, if a person lives in Negaunee, but works at the hospital, will that person have to pay some kind of tax to the city of Marquette? Will we have workers sneaking into Marquette across the city limit? Maybe there should be a toll booth on highway 41.

    The Marquette City budget is published online. Looking at it, the line item that has ballooned is Retirement- MERS. The details take a while to sort through. Have our city commissioners actually looked at the budget in detail?

  2. Robert Thompson on June 27, 2022 at 9:27 am

    Sarah is right. Commuter taxes are a solution that brings more problems and more complicated tax returns.

    Urban centers are the primary engines for economic progress and wealth growth — and that benefit all residents. Raise taxes on higher income people who benefit most from our urban economic engines. They should be directed at offsetting higher costs of urban centers.

  3. R on June 27, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Re: the commuter tax (done in NY & NJ) will Marquette then tax retirement funds from these people? IMHO it is a selfish grab for money.

    The State needs to be run better. Decisions on generating revenue needs to be done closer to home. The State takes the money, then appropriates it back to Marquette after spending it on “special” projects endorsed by their campaign donors. Michigan needs a solid business person as governor, not a career politician. Vote the Dems out.

  4. Janet G Wagner on June 27, 2022 at 10:33 am

    “Skip the Polls–Go Direct and Tell Elected Officials Your Priorities” — Just try that with U.S. Rep Jack Bergman and see how it flies…not very far.

    • DMiglio on June 28, 2022 at 8:27 am

      I would comment that a phone call to Jack Bergman’s office got immediate response and action where the same call to Cambensy was unanswered.

      Also, McBroom’s office answered and then followed up with another phone call.

  5. Greg Rathje on June 27, 2022 at 10:37 am

    Should be noted – there’s a bill in the legislature to ban commuter taxes. For now, the bill seems stuck in committee (where most bills go to die). *But* if the GOP takes back all three branches, they could revisit this:
    Legislative history of the bill itself here:

  6. Ann Fisher on June 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    I don’t think the commuter tax is going anywhere, but in any case I don’t think it makes sense in Marquette. They may make sense in places where the wealthy people who work in the city live in the posh suburbs outside of it, but in Marquette it’s more often the service workers who live outside the city because there’s not enough affordable housing in town.

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