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Aug. 13 | This Week in Government: Data Shows Suburban Growth, Shrinking Cities; Redistricting OKs New Work Timeline

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

  1. West Michigan, Detroit Suburbs Grow as Central Cities, Rurals Shrink
  2. Redistricting OKs New Work Timeline; Maps Finalized By Year’s End
  3. DTMB Employment Projections Show STEM, Trade Jobs in High Demand
  4. Berman Throws Hat in Ring to Seek GOP Nomination for AG
  5. SFA: July Collections Above Forecast, But 24% Below July 2020 Levels

West Michigan, Detroit Suburbs Grow as Central Cities, Rurals Shrink

Detroit’s northern and western suburbs, along with Grand Rapids and its surrounding counties paced population growth for the state in the past decade, offsetting population losses in the state’s urban centers and most of its rural regions outside of the I-96 corridor and that are not near Lake Michigan.

Michigan also became more diverse during the decade. The state’s white population fell by 4.6%. While the Black population fell by 1.7% and the American Indian and Alaskan native population fell by 1.2%, the Asian population soared by 40.3%, the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population rose by 17.2%, and the Hispanic or Latino population climbed by 29.3%. The number of people identifying as two or more races was up 175.8% from 2010.

Leading the state in growth from a county standpoint were Ottawa County (12.3%), Grand Traverse County (9.5%), and Kent County (9.2%). Other counties adjacent to Kent that saw growth, even those of a rural nature, were Allegan, Barry, Montcalm, Newaygo, Ionia, and Muskegon.

One city with an enormous population increase, attributable in large part to the surge in the Asian population, was Hamtramck, up 27% to 28,433. Its neighboring enclave, Highland Park, was the converse, losing 24% of its population.

Another city with big growth was Ann Arbor, up 8.7% to 123,851.

Detroit’s northern and western suburban regions also saw significant growth with Oakland County growing by 6%, Macomb by 4.8%, Washtenaw by 8%, and Livingston by 7.1%. While Wayne County overall lost 1.5% of its population, when Detroit with its massive loss of 74,000 people is factored out, the suburban regions of the county actually grew substantially in the past decade.

Among the Detroit suburbs that saw especially large growth were Novi, (20% to 66,243), Macomb Township (15.2% to 91,663), Dearborn (12% to 109,976), Canton Township (9.4% to 98,659), Troy (7.8% to 87,294), Shelby Township (7.6% to 79,408), and Rochester Hills (7.5% to 76,300).

Lyon Township, in the southwest corner of Oakland County, saw whopping growth of 60%, bringing its population to 23,271.

The counter to all this growth is that the state’s urban centers mostly lost population during the past decade. And the majority of Michigan’s 83 counties – 50 of them – lost population, largely in rural areas along the Indiana-Ohio border, in the Thumb, the I-75 corridor, the northeast Lower Peninsula, and the Upper Peninsula.

Detroit again lost a huge chunk of its population, 10.5%, continuing a trend since the 1950s, falling from 713,777 to 639,111. This was far worse than the 2019 census estimate of 670,031. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who has staked much of his reputation on growing the city’s population, immediately said the city would appeal. Recent similar appeals have failed. That type of population loss would have a major domino effect on redistricting, with the city’s U.S. House, state Senate and state House districts likely having to dig yet further into suburban areas with large minority populations to comply with the U.S. Voting Rights Act requirements that the number of minority-majority districts not decrease.

The most immediately jarring, if unsurprising, population decline was in Flint, which fell by a whopping 20.1%, from 102,434 to 81,252 (the estimate had been 95,538 in 2019). This following the water crisis that ripped the city from 2014 through much of the decade. It would have far-reaching effects on the redistricting process. There have long been two House districts with a significant Flint component. Now there will be one, and it will need a chunk of suburban turf to bring it to the minimum required population for a House seat.

Saginaw also saw a significant population loss, falling 14.2% to 44,202.

Population losses in other central cities were less severe, but consistent with Lansing, Kalamazoo, Jackson, and Bay City all losing a few thousand people. Kalamazoo County overall showed robust growth of 4.5%, thanks to its suburban regions, however.

There were some bright spots among some of the older cities, however.

Grand Rapids grew by 5.8%, reaching 198,917 people. Pontiac (3.5%), Southfield (6.8%), and Warren (4%) all grew. Muskegon, Taylor, and Battle Creek essentially stayed where they were.

While most rural counties saw declines, they tended to range from 1 to 3%. Larger decreases affected some areas with Isabella in particular a surprise with an 8.4% loss to 64,394 people. Mecosta, Sanilac, Arenac, and Huron all saw losses of at least 5%.


Redistricting OKs New Work Timeline; Maps Finalized By Year’s End

The independent commission tasked with redrawing Michigan’s legislative and congressional maps on Thursday approved a new timeline for its road ahead, which due to late delivery of U.S. Census data assumes it will blow past its constitutional deadline of Nov. 1 to have maps finalized.

But the group does not appear to be too far off the mark, the new schedule shows, as the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is slated to take a first vote on proposed maps Friday, Nov. 5, and a final vote to adopt a new redistricting plan on Dec. 30.

Commissioners also received an update on the latent census data as first batch was released Thursday. The body later voted to approve the hiring of law firm BakerHostetler as its litigation counsel.

The state’s Senate districts will be mapped first, beginning Aug. 19 and starting with the west and southwest regions. Regions are based on a map of Michigan the commission created and adopted for reference only.

Aug. 20 would see the commission map out Senate districts in the southeast and south central regions, the Detroit metro region on August 23, the east and east central regions on Aug. 24, and finally the Upper Peninsula, northeast and northwest area of the Lower Peninsula on Aug. 26.

State House districts would come next beginning Aug. 30, starting this time in the Upper Peninsula and the northeast region of the Lower Peninsula. Commissioners will map the northwestern region on Aug. 31, the east central region on Sept. 1, and the southeast region on Sept. 2. Mapping of House districts would resume on Sept. 7 with the east region, the Detroit metro region on Sept. 8, the west region on Sept. 9, south central on Sept.13, and ending in the southwest region on Sept. 14.

Congressional districts would be the last to be mapped, the timeline shows, starting in the U.P., the northwest and northeast regions on Sept. 15. The southwest and west area would be mapped on Sept. 16, the east central and east regions on Sept. 20, and the south central and southeast regions on Sept. 21. The commission would conclude congressional district mapping in the Detroit metro area on Sept. 22 – which is noted with emphasis as the final day of mapping.

Deliberations on said maps would begin Sept. 23, into Sept. 24, and through Sept. 27-30. A vote on the proposed draft maps would take place Sept. 30.

Between that date and Oct. 8, the commission’s mapping consultant, Election Data Services, would work to reconcile Thursday’s 2020 legacy data dump with a more user friendly but identical batch of census data to be released in September. Meanwhile, EDS would also be working to develop the maps, associated data and a legal plan to be published for review no later than Oct. 8.

Several public hearings would commence starting Oct. 11, beginning at Northern Michigan University. The public hearing schedule also includes the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Treetop Resorts in Gaylord;
  • Thursday, Oct. 14 at The Dort Center in Flint;
  • Monday, Oct. 18 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids;
  • Thursday, Oct. 21 at the Lansing Center;
  • Monday, Oct. 25 at the MRCC Banquet and Convention Center in Warren;
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi; and
  • Thursday, Oct. 28 at the TCF Center in Detroit.

The commission also added a public hearing in Kalamazoo during Thursday’s meeting which does not appear on the draft schedule.

The schedule notes for hearings that begin in the afternoon, the commission could very well hold regular meetings on the morning of those days to review comments or suggestions from the previous hearing.

Regular commission meetings would resume beginning Oct. 29, with further deliberations on maps to continue Nov. 1 through Nov. 5, at which point the commission plans to vote again on the proposed maps.

Following that vote, EDS would produce the maps, accompanying data, and legal descriptions beginning Nov. 6 through Nov. 13. All three of those items would be published Nov. 14. A 45-day public comment period would follow and is scheduled to end on Dec. 29.

Dec. 30 would be the first day that the commission could adopt the final maps by majority vote from at least two commissioners from each affiliation pool (two Democrats, two Republicans, and two independents). If no plan satisfied those requirements, the commission would engage in an alternative procedure as outlined in the Michigan Constitution.

Notably, the original date for maps to become law was Dec. 31.

Beginning Jan. 3, 2022, and through the whole of the month, the body would draft a requisite commission report and would work to compile its information for publication. The report is due on Feb. 2, 2022. Within 30 days of adopting a plan, the commission would also be required to publish the new redistricting plan, material reports, and other references materials or data used in drawing up that plan. That would include any programming information used to produce and test the plan.

Maps adopted by the commission would become law on March 3, 2022, 60 days after publication.

The deadline for candidates to file is April 19, 2022, which is also the deadline for the Bureau of Elections to update the Qualified Voter File.


DTMB Employment Projections Show STEM, Trade Jobs in High Demand

The latest long-term regional employment projections indicate jobs in STEM and the trades are expected to drastically expand with the majority of jobs to require a bachelor’s degree or other form of higher education, the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget said Thursday.

DTMB presented the findings during their 2021 Michigan Occupational Outlook conference, breaking the state down into 10 prosperity regions. Based on the projections, the Regional Career Outlook publications provide information that will be in high demand by education groups through 2028 in the state.

“The information compiled in these lists is invaluable to students and jobseekers alike as they make decisions about their futures,” Scott Powell, director of DTMB’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “It is our goal to provide our education and workforce development partners with the information they need to help Michiganders find their path to high-demand, high-wage jobs.”

Michigan has been struggling to keep talent in the state. Kerry Ebersole, director and senior advisor for DTMB’s 60 by 30, said it was important to attract and retain talent. She said the state needs to close the skills gap to increase opportunity and make Michigan more competitive.

“We have amazing colleges and universities that are producing some of the top talent in their fields, but unfortunately many do not stay here,” Ebersole said. “We need to do a better job of retaining our graduates and talent here in our state that our businesses and industries can put to work.”

To help those who wish to continue their education, Ebersole said the Future for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect program help individuals pay for their tuition costs.

Kevin Doyle, DTMB Regional Economic Analyst, said the statewide 2018 to 2028 data showed a projected change of employment of just 0.1%. Only west Michigan is expected to show greater than a 2% change, either positive or negative, Doyle said.

“An important underlying assumption of our long-term projections is a full employment job market,” Doyle said. “You can see that generally throughout the 10 regions, the 2018 unemployment rate was very close to this assumed full employment rate. What that means is under such a market, labor demand must be met by new labor force entrance rather than the unemployed.”

Though annual openings requiring bachelor’s degrees are the second fastest-growing group, the dominant group among annual openings are jobs requiring a high school diploma or its equivalent. STEM jobs are expected to expand by 3.1%, more than the regional rate.

“These STEM jobs are expected to outpace … total employment growth in every one of these 10 regions,” Doyle said. “Generally, STEM jobs such as engineering or IT are expected to see the most growth throughout the regions.”

Professional trades jobs are similar to STEM jobs, expected to grow by an average of 2.4%. Health care support and the construction and extraction groups are expected to see the highest growth over the 10-year period among professional trades, Doyle said.

Laleah Fernandez, associate director of research and analytics for DTMB, finished the presentation by breaking down how the regions compare with occupations. While there are 23 occupations listed in all regions, 64 occupations are only listed in one region, suggesting regional differences.

“Some jobs appear on fewer lists and this illustrates a regional uniqueness,” Fernandez said. “Over 50% of occupations featured only appear in three or less prosperity regions. This accounts for 125 occupations.”

In the Detroit region, 78% of occupations are similar to those statewide while 48% of occupations in northeast Michigan are similar statewide. In all 10 regions, Fernandez said the top jobs require a secondary education. Some occupations did not even make the list due to their low wages.

“Teacher assistants, cooks, and medical assistants are in demand but don’t show up on the … list due to being less than the regional median wage,” Fernandez said. “It’s important to recognize the median wage also varies across the state … this has a large impact on which occupations appear (as high-demand).”


Berman Throws Hat in Ring to Seek GOP Nomination for AG

Rep. Ryan Berman on Wednesday announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for attorney general.

Berman of Commerce Township is serving his second term in Oakland County’s 39th House District.

A statement announcing the run focused on criticizing Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel and the current administration’s actions during the coronavirus pandemic. Before he can formally face Nessel, Berman first would have to receive the nomination by being chosen by Michigan Republican Party convention delegates.

Currently, Matthew DePerno, an attorney who has pushed false conspiracy theories insisting the 2020 election was fraudulent and President Joe Biden was not the real winner, is the only other Republican to officially announce for the race so far.

Berman did not return a request for comment Wednesday on if he accepts the 2020 election results as valid. Last year, he did support an impeachment inquiry into Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In a statement, Berman said if he were attorney general, he would focus on applying the laws with integrity and equality.

“As a state representative and reserve police officer, I value the rule of law and fully support our law enforcement community. And, as a defense attorney, I know how important it is to prosecute the laws equitably,” Berman said. “The only way to build trust in government is advancing transparency, accountability, and integrity at all levels. That is not happening today in Lansing.”

If Berman were to win the nomination, it would leave open a House seat Democrats have coveted, especially during the last two terms, and at a time when it could be substantially reconfigured in redistricting. Despite Biden’s performance in Oakland County – he narrowly carried Berman’s district – Berman won with nearly 52% of the vote in 2020, and in 2018, the Democratic candidate was charged with embezzlement weeks before the election.

In his announcement, Berman attacked Nessel as the “most partisan, political attorney general in Michigan history.”

“I am running to restore the rule of law and pursuit of justice,” he said.

Nessel’s 2022 campaign defended her record in a statement, saying she has expanded the civil rights and consumer protection arms of the agency, advocated for victims of elder abuse and sexual assault, and more.

“Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to be an effective champion for Michigan consumers, seniors, rate payers, and sexual assault survivors,” the statement said. “Nessel has never shied away from fighting for her constituents. The voters of this state recognize this and don’t want to turn the clock back to when this office was primarily used to shield special interests and partisan priorities.”


SFA: July Collections Above Forecast, But 24% Below July 2020 Levels

While July revenue collections were more than $300 million ahead of estimates for the month, the Senate Fiscal Agency noted Wednesday that collections earmarked to the state’s two major funds were down nearly 25% from the same period last year.

The agency in its monthly revenue report said combined General Fund and School Aid Fund earmarks totaled $2.6 billion in July, which was down 24.3% from July 2020 collections.

Collections for the month were still $307.1 million above what the agency projected for the month based on the May consensus revenue estimate.

For the General Fund, July collections were $137.5 million above expectations, while the School Aid Fund collections were $131.2 million higher than expected.

For the fiscal year to date, General Fund collections were $1.1 billion above projections, and School Aid Fund collections were $604.4 million ahead of estimates. These totals were based on the May 2021 consensus revenue estimate.

Net income tax revenue for July totaled $872.8 million. This was a 50.4% decrease from July 2020 levels but also $33.4 million above what was anticipated. The decline, the agency said, reflected revised July 2020 numbers because the date for quarterly and annual payments was moved from April 2020 to July 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales tax collections totaled $886.1 million for the month. This was up 2.2% from the previous July as well as $89.5 million ahead of projections. Sales tax collections from vehicle sales came in at $117.5 million. It was the fifth consecutive month of more than $100 million in sales tax reported from vehicle sales.

Use tax collections were at $249.7 million for the month, or $45.9 million above expectations.

For the fiscal year to date, use tax collections are up 51.7% and 16.8% for sales tax collection, the agency said.

Combined business tax collections from the Single Business Tax, Michigan Business Tax, and Corporate Income Tax totaled $131 million in July. That was $48.7 million higher than expected. For the fiscal year to date, business tax collections were up 138.8% compared to the same period in 2020.

Wagering taxes for July were at $61.9 million. This total came from $52.5 million from expanded gaming activities and $9.4 million from traditional casino activity. It was noted by the agency that most of the July collections from expanded gaming reflected activity from earlier months.

Lottery revenue to the School Aid Fund came in at $124.5 million for July, or $48.8 million more than projected.