MIDLANDIn anticipation of new legislative opportunities that will come as a result of Michigan's House, Senate and gubernatorial elections this year, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy today has released "Keeping Michigan on Track: A Blueprint for a Freer, More Prosperous State." This comprehensive policy blueprint offers dozens of specific ideas for lawmakers to consider in crafting state policy for the next term and beyond.
The blueprint offers suggestions on a host of controversial topics, including government involvement in broadband technology and economic development, Internet taxation, "urban sprawl," "living-wage" laws, charter schools, tuition tax credits, teacher certification, Proposal A, and Michigan's transportation infrastructure.
In addition to suggesting policy changes on topics already familiar to Michigan citizens through coverage in the news media, "Keeping Michigan on Track" offers many brand-new ideas thoughtful enough to spark interest from lawmakers across the political spectrum in coming months.
For example, the Mackinac Center's labor policy department calls for a "Union Accountability Act" that would require of unions the same level of financial disclosure required of publicly held corporations. The Center's education policy experts recommend allowing charter schools to use multiple sites under a single charter, and replacing Michigan's public school "count day" with an average daily attendance calculation for purposes of determining per-student funding levels. The blueprint calls for an end to the ban on Internet wine sales. It also recommends creating a market for "vanity" license plates by allowing citizens to bid for the ones they really wantand using to extra money generated to pay for much-needed road repair.
"We want Michigan lawmakers to have a briefcase-sized, categorized manual to refer to when looking for new, innovative ideas for expanding opportunity and making life better for their constituents," said Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed upon the release of "Keeping Michigan on Track." "If the current or new Michigan House, Senate and administration follow the recommendations contained in this document, our state could become a beacon of opportunity and prosperity, and shed forever its `rust belt' reputation," Reed said.
The policy blueprint is divided into eight areas, which include strengthening property rights protection, improving environmental protection, encouraging telecommunications technology, reforming labor law to protect worker rights, improving education for Michigan children, spurring economic growth and development, enhancing the transportation infrastructure, and "miscellaneous." The miscellaneous section includes such topics as part-time legislatures and mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
"Lawmakers ought to put aside parochial concerns, avoid the pork barrel, eschew the temptation to plan and control the lives and businesses of people, keep government in its proper place, and solve problems in ways that leave citizens freer, better off materially, and facing a future full of new opportunities," the Mackinac Center report concludes.
"Keeping Michigan on Track: A Blueprint for a Freer, More Prosperous State" also is available online.