–Lauren Ruhland, 2008 MCPP intern
A survey conducted by the Glengariff Group last month indicates that the people of Michigan are interested in making big reforms to save the state money. Among the findings mentioned in the Detroit News:
- Nearly 80 percent support finding means of punishment for nonviolent offenders, other than prison. It costs $5 million a day, or $2 billion a year, to run Michigan’s prison system, but leaders in Lansing have been at odds on how to reduce costs and the inmate population — expected to top 56,000 within five years.
- Nearly 75 percent said they would support increasing health care premiums for state employees. State employees pay between 5 percent and 10 percent of the cost of their health care premium, whereas private sector employees typically pay between 16 and 28 percent of their premiums, according to the survey.
- About 74 percent said they support changing retirement benefits for new teachers. Michigan teachers have a defined benefit system, which requires school districts to pay a specific amount into the retirement system each year. Those surveyed favored a 401(k)-type individual contribution plan for new teachers.
Many respondents also expressed their desire for wordy ballot initiatives with the intention of creating sweeping changes in the government structure in order to shift the balance of power. (Just kidding.)