MPPS Policy Brief: Challenges continue for state-local relations, according to Michigan local government leaders

November 2023

This policy brief presents local government officials’ assessments of the relationship between their jurisdiction and Michigan’s state government. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the spring 2023 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), with comparisons from the fall 2016 wave.

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Key findings

  • In 2023, over half (56%) of Michigan local officials rate their jurisdiction’s overall relationship with the State government as just fair (42%) or even poor (14%), while 34% of local officials say it is either good (32%) or excellent (2%).
    • Local leaders from the state’s smaller jurisdictions - those with fewer than 5,000 residents - are less likely to say their government’s relationship with the State is good or excellent (32% or less) compared with those from mid-sized and larger jurisdictions (47% or more).
    • There has been a decline in positive ratings since 2016, likely due in part to the shift in partisan control of the Governor’s office and state legislature, resulting in a flip in these ratings, with Republicans now more pessimistic about their local government’s relationship with the State compared with their views in 2016, while Democrats give more positive ratings than they did seven years ago.
  • Local leaders of all partisan types are concerned with a number of specific elements of state-local relations, with 70% of local officials saying that the State is taking too much decision-making authority away from local governments, 61% believing the State holds local governments to a higher standard than it holds for itself, and 57% saying that the State does not treat jurisdictions fairly across the board.