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Survey shows public trust in state government "alarmingly low"

Mar 21, 2017

How much do you trust state government and its ability to do its job?

The Center for Michigan spent the past year asking that question of thousands of Michigan residents. The overwhelming response?

We have an "alarmingly" low level of trust in our state government.

The details are in a report that's just been released today: "Fractured Trust: Lost faith in state government and how to restore it."

The Center for Michigan hosted 125 community conversations and surveyed thousands of Michiganders. 

"You'd think with the economy doing better now and unemployment relatively low and jobs coming back ... people would be more hopeful," said John Bebow, president and CEO of the Center for Michigan. "Just the opposite is true. I've not seen this dark of a public mood in the entire decade that we've been doing this work."

How bad are the numbers? Bebow said just about every government service citizens were asked about received poor marks -- from education, protection of public health and the environment to services for low income residents and fostering economic health.

One citizen quoted in the report said, "It's very difficult to have trust in a government that has, over a long period of time, declined to respond to its citizens."

According to Bebow, citizens brought up a number of priorities: infrastructure, education, college affordability, campaign finance reform, government transparency, and reforming the state's emergency manager law. 

For the full interview, listen above.

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