Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Govt. v. Michigan (Opinion - Leave Granted)Annotate this Case
Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government and several individuals brought an original action to the Court of Appeals against the state of Michigan; the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget; and the Office of the Auditor General to enforce section 30 of the Headlee Amendment, Const 1963, art 9, which prohibited the state from reducing its budget for total state spending paid to all units of local government, taken as a group, below that proportion in effect in fiscal year 1978–1979. Plaintiffs: (Count I) alleged the state violated section 30 by classifying as state spending paid to local government monies paid to school districts pursuant to Proposal A, Const 1963, art 9, section 11; (Count II) alleged the same assertion as to monies paid to public school academies (PSAs) pursuant to Proposal A and MCL 380.501(1); (Count III) alleged the state improperly classified as section 30 state spending those funds paid to maintain trunk-line roads; and (Count IV) sought a determination that state funds directed to local governments for new state mandates could not be counted toward the proportion of state funds required by section 30. The Court of Appeal dismissed Count III without prejudice upon stipulation of the parties; all parties moved for summary judgment on the remaining claims. The appellate court granted the state defendants motion on Counts I and II; plaintiffs' motion was granted as to Count IV. Finally, the court granted plaintiffs mandamus relief and directed the state to comply with reporting requirements found in MCL 21.235(3) and MCL 21.241. The Michigan Supreme Court concluded the appellate court erred when it held that PSAs were “school districts” as the term was used in the Headlee Amendment. Further, the Court held PSAs were themselves not a “political subdivision of the state” as voters would have understood the term when the Headlee Amendment was ratified. The Court thus reversed the conclusion reached in Part III(C) of the Court of Appeals opinion that PSAs were “school districts” and remanded to the Court of Appeals for its reconsideration of this issue. The Supreme Court vacated the panel’s grant of mandamus in Part III(E), and directed the Court of Appeals to provide further explanation of its decision to grant this extraordinary remedy.