Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson joined us from The Detroit News as Bridge’s computer-assisted reporting specialist. Mike performed a similar role at the News, where his work showed, for instance, that just under half of all Detroit property owners paid their annual tax bills. He was also part of a team at The Blade of Toledo that won national honors, including the National Headliner and Gerald Loeb awards, for exposing widespread political corruption in a scandal that came to be known as Coingate. The stories led to political reform in Ohio state government. You can reach Mike via email at mwilkinson@bridgemi.com or call him at 313-815-7068.

Articles

Joe Biden’s path to victory in Michigan: Win every county in primary (MAP)

Joe Biden’s path to victory in Michigan: Win every county in primary (MAP)

March 11, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Jonathan Oosting

The former vice president crushed Bernie Sanders during balloting Tuesday, as turnout surged with no-reason absentee voting. The only potential concern for Biden: He didn’t win as thoroughly in urban areas as Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

Michigan lawmakers move to approve $37M pet projects on Election Day

Michigan lawmakers move to approve $37M pet projects on Election Day

March 10, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Jonathan Oosting, Riley Beggin

One year after blasting pork-barrel spending, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs onto a larger spending deal that includes $37 million in small community grants. Among other things, the money will pay for a Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall elevator and $1 million for the auto show.

 

Biden, Sanders make final case to Michigan: Revolution or return to normal?

Biden, Sanders make final case to Michigan: Revolution or return to normal?

March 9, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Jonathan Oosting, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has changed since Bernie Sanders won the presidential primary in 2016. The economy is far better. But many remain left behind, and could be a receptive audience to Sanders’ calls for massive change.

How Bernie Sanders won Michigan in 2016, and what to watch for on Tuesday

How Bernie Sanders won Michigan in 2016, and what to watch for on Tuesday

March 6, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Mike Wilkinson

Bernie Sanders stunned pollsters in 2016 when he narrowly topped Hillary Clinton in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary. How did he do it?Could he do it again?

Michigan districts make millions teaching home-schoolers karate and crafts

Michigan districts make millions teaching home-schoolers karate and crafts

March 3, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan school districts are profiting from taxpayer-funded online academies that teach home-schoolers electives like ice skating and animal husbandry. The programs are legal, but the state is cracking down, alleging some districts are overcharging taxpayers.

Growth of nontraditional school programs costs Michigan $260M, study finds

Growth of nontraditional school programs costs Michigan $260M, study finds

March 3, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

As enrollment declines, Michigan districts are turning to two-year kindergarten programs, placing teachers in private schools and academies for home-schoolers.

I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

February 17, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

After two years of decline, Detroit water shutoffs jumped 44 percent last year, as the city stopped water to 1 in 9 homes. Most stayed off a month or more, and nearly 10,000 homes still don’t have service.

Michigan could decide presidency. These are the facts that shape our state.

Michigan could decide presidency. These are the facts that shape our state.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

With the Michigan primary just weeks away, Bridge Magazine is unveiling its 2020 Fact Guide to help frame the debate and separate rhetoric from facts.

Michigan K-12 test scores slowly improving but remain mediocre at best

Michigan K-12 test scores slowly improving but remain mediocre at best

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Education funding in Michigan hasn’t kept up with other states, and lawmakers are trying a host of reforms to boost outcomes that, while improving, lag much of the nation.

Early childhood education is key to success. Michigan still has work to do.

Early childhood education is key to success. Michigan still has work to do.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has vastly improved access to state-funded preschool, but gaps remain. Should the state spend another $400 million to make its Great Start Readiness Program universal?

Michigan college tuition hikes leave average graduate with $35K in debt

Michigan college tuition hikes leave average graduate with $35K in debt

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

More Michigan graduates than ever have college degrees. But disinvestment in higher education has prompted skyrocketing tuition, leaving graduates with big debts.

Jobs up, poverty declines as Michigan emerges from Great Recession hangover

Jobs up, poverty declines as Michigan emerges from Great Recession hangover

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

In the past five years, total employment and personal income have grown by double-digits in Michigan, while poverty has plunged. But not all news is good.

Incomes climb in Michigan, but state still struggles with loss of manufacturing

Incomes climb in Michigan, but state still struggles with loss of manufacturing

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

The loss of 300,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs means that, even though, Michigan wages have climbed over the past few years, they’re still less than the nationwide average.

Michigan has great access to health care. Health outcomes are another story

Michigan has great access to health care. Health outcomes are another story

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Like much of the Midwest, Michigan is more obese and less healthy than the rest of the nation. The state has terrific rates of insurance, immunization and primary care physicians, though, making the state’s overall health a bit of a puzzle.

Michigan’s cherished Great Lakes, clean waters face threats from all sides

Michigan’s cherished Great Lakes, clean waters face threats from all sides

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Flint was a wake-up call about access to clean water. Since that crisis, numerous new threats have emerged to Michigan’s waterways, from PFAS to corporate extractions.

Michigan roads are infamously bad. But sewers and dams are in rough shape too

Michigan roads are infamously bad. But sewers and dams are in rough shape too

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Even with new funding to pay for roads, Michigan’s infrastructure is aging rapidly. Solutions are not only expensive but politically divisive in an era of divided government.

Michigan doles out more in tax breaks than it spends on schools

Michigan doles out more in tax breaks than it spends on schools

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

More than $25 billion in tax breaks go to businesses and Michigan is considered the nation’s 12th most business-friendly tax state. And even though tax bills increase, the amount of money flowing into state coffers is restricted.

Michigan employs 48K people. A quarter of them work in prisons.

Michigan employs 48K people. A quarter of them work in prisons.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

The average Michigan state government worker is a woman who makes $64,000 and works in either corrections or health and human services. That’s just one takeaway from a vast enterprise with a $60B budget.

Nearly 200 Michigan communities are financially distressed, despite economy

Nearly 200 Michigan communities are financially distressed, despite economy

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan municipalities cut staff big-time to get through the last 20 years, including 22,000 fewer law-enforcement positions. And while municipalities most have recovered, the state still considers 139 cities, 36 townships and 15 villages financially distressed.

Michigan is a toss-up state again after favoring Democrats for a generation

Michigan is a toss-up state again after favoring Democrats for a generation

February 10, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has only 16 electoral votes among the 538 in the Electoral College that decides the U.S. presidency. But the state is expected to be a key battleground for Democrats and President Donald Trump.

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