NMU Alumnus Howard Schultz Starts New Program, Fixing Michigan’s Property Tax System, Masks in Our K-12 Schools, NMU Faculty and Admin Reach Tentative Agreement


NMU Alumnus and Starbucks Founder Starts New Program

Howard Schultz the founder and former CEO of Starbucks has founded a new education website, Backto.Biz. Its purpose, according to Schultz, is to “reignite America’s entrepreneurial fire.” The website has hundreds of video lessons aimed at helping small businesses recover from  the pandemic.

Fixing Michigan’s Property Tax System

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan (www.crcmich.org) has issued a new report entitled “Michigan’s Overlapping Property Tax Limitations Create an Unstable Municipal Finance System.”

It can be found at www.crcmich.org and is well worth your time to read. The report says “Michigan has some of the strictest property tax limits among the states. Its status as the primary revenue source for local governments has contributed to building pressure on taxpayers. Taxpayers react to that pressure with limitations to lessen the overall burden and to improve year-to-year predictability in tax bills.”  

It concludes with “Local governments are overly dependent on property taxes and no changes to the tax limitations are going to fix that. Diversification of the revenue sources would provide the stability of property taxes and the responsiveness of sales or income taxes to the economic activity that characterize your counties.”

You will find lots of interesting data and facts about local government financing and taxation and creative ideas that might improve the situation we all live in our communities. Go to their website and take a look.  

Masks In Our K-12 Schools

Even with no statewide mask mandate, an increasing number of school districts are requiring masks in school.

About six in ten school age children will be wearing masks in school. We are told that nearly 20 of Michigan’s 83 counties now have countywide school mask mandates (as of 9.2.21).

That number seems to increase every day. How about your school district? Let us know about mask and/or vaccine mandates in your school district.

NMU Faculty and Administration Reach Tentative Agreement

This week both sides of the bargaining table announced that they have reached a tentative agreement and are going to a vote of the faculty and then the NMU Board of Trustees. Lots of details completed and negotiated. Watch for the vote.  

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

We don’t get to choose our own sunset.” Unknown.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

“I’m madder than a boiled owl.” Congressman John Dingell.

How Are We Doing?

We are eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and our articles, podcasts, videos and research. Please send them to david@ruralinsights.org

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bold fix

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. Carl Nurmi on September 13, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Hi David, here’s a very good book for you.

    Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch
    by Miles Harvey
    The “unputdownable” (Dave Eggers, National Book award finalist) story of the most infamous American con man you’ve never heard of: James Strang, self-proclaimed divine king of earth, heaven, and an island in Lake Michigan,
    “A masterpiece.” —Nathaniel Philbrick

    In the summer of 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and avowed atheist, vanished from a rural town in New York. Months later he reappeared on the Midwestern frontier and converted to a burgeoning religious movement known as Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect’s leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him successor, and persuaded hundreds of fellow converts to follow him to an island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king.

    From this stronghold he controlled a fourth of the state of Michigan, establishing a pirate colony where he practiced plural marriage and perpetrated thefts, corruption, and frauds of all kinds. Eventually, having run afoul of powerful enemies, including the American president, Strang was assassinated, an event that was frontpage news across the country.

    The King of Confidence tells this fascinating but largely forgotten story. Centering his narrative on this charlatan’s turbulent twelve years in power, Miles Harvey gets to the root of a timeless American original: the Confidence Man. Full of adventure, bad behavior, and insight into a crucial period of antebellum history, The King of Confidence brings us a compulsively readable account of one of the country’s boldest con men and the boisterous era that allowed him to thrive.

  2. UP Jim on September 13, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Re: Fixing Michigan’s Property Tax System.
    It might be appropriate to do a feature on various Michigan legislation that has been enacted allowing local governing entities
    (such as townships, schools, cities,) to levy propert tax millage without a vote of property owners for various intents such as school buses, recreation, etc.. One might be surprised at the total millage amount.
    It seems reasonable to suspect that the intent of said legislation was to circumvent restrictions resulting from taxpayers referendums enacted to bring relief from overwhelming property taxes.
    A major part of the challenge in funding governing bodies (such as townships) obligations came about with state legislated creation of full time based salary, retirement, medical , and other fringe benefits replacing the more appropriate and traditional part-time salaries for offices. A response to lobbying by the Mich Twp Assoc. and others? Examine budgets … see for yourself the percentage of local property taxes that is dedicated to salary and fringe for elected officials and personnel rather than basic services.

  3. Tom Harris on September 13, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    I’m not buying into property tax argument. Property tax increases & the ever present millage requests were restrained with proposal A a number of years ago. Property tax was to have a minimal annual increase unless property was sold at which time taxes would be based on current valuation. In lieu of historical property tax increases the Michigan sales tax was increased from 4% to 6% with the extra 2% to be used for school funding, school funding being by far the largest portion of local expenses. Such an arrangement would also eliminate the school funding gap between wealthy & poor districts. By & large the new tax system is working extremely well except when a greedy district decides it wants more money & the millage option is essentially no longer available. It boils down to the districts needing to live within their means; a frustrating concept for a government entity.

  4. Connie Williams on September 13, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    David, when I tried to
    open the article about Howard Schultz I received a message that “This website may be impersonating “backto.biz” to steal your personal or financial information. You should go back to the previous page.”
    So I never was able to read the Schultz article.

  5. Rick Mengyan on September 19, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Unfortunately the statement regarding the status of the NMU administration and NMU faculty reaching a tentative agreement is misleading. Yes, some aspects of the items under negotiation have been tentatively agreed to, there are still items under negotiation. We do not yet have a tentative contract to review not, to my knowledge, a complete tentative agreement.
    Hopefully a fair agreement will be procured soon.

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