Michigan's Regulatory Climate Drives Businesses and Jobs to States With Fewer Barriers, According to New Mackinac Center Study
Harding: Legislature should act quickly to streamline 'dysfunctional' system, adopt specific reforms to make Michigan competitive
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010
Contact: Russ Harding
Senior Environmental Analyst
Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
MIDLAND — Newly elected state officials looking for ways to quickly improve Michigan's economic climate should streamline the state's uncompetitive regulatory system, according to Mackinac Center Senior Environmental Policy Analyst Russ Harding, author of "Environmental Regulation in Michigan: A Blueprint for Reform." The Blueprint, released today, assesses the state's regulatory climate and offers recommendations for revitalizing the economy and creating new jobs.
"There is no more important reform to enable the private sector to create jobs in Michigan than overhauling the state's dysfunctional environmental regulatory system," said Harding, who served as the state's chief environmental regulator from 1995 to 2002. "Obtaining an environmental permit is the gate that companies desiring to locate or expand operations in the state must pass through. But that gate has become an obstacle.
"We hear a lot about the loss of jobs to foreign competition," Harding added. "But a far greater threat is the loss of jobs to other states that have fewer regulatory barriers."
The Blueprint contains reforms that would transform the rigid environmental permitting bureaucracy into a system that provides certainty and customer service without sacrificing protection of Michigan's natural resources. Harding offers a variety of proposals for improving the regulatory climate, including requiring legislative approval of new regulations, maintaining state regulations at a level no more stringent than federal regulations, creating a single permitting agency, identifying opportunities for privatization and others.
"The Blueprint is a plain-English, common-sense read for taxpayers, business owners and elected officials who want to revitalize the state economy and put people back to work," said Michael Jahr, senior director of communications for the Mackinac Center. "The recommendations are drawn from Harding's own extensive experience as a regulator."