In an effort to help this state's political class bust out of its narrow conceptual box the Detroit News is running a "50 ideas to fix Michigan" feature, solicited from various entities that have a few. The Mackinac Center tried to provide ideas that no one else would offer, that represent not just "cuts" but genuine transformational reform in the way the state does business, and that truly "blow up the box" that constricts most conversations on state budget issues to a simplistic "cuts vs. tax hikes" formula. The first Mackinac Center idea highlighted by the News is one we first offered back in 2003, to save $65 million without reducing the number of law enforcement officers by devolving Michigan State Police road patrols to county sheriff deputies - something the Lansing budgeteers should have on the table this week as they struggle to craft a budget that "saves" the jobs of 105 troopers eliminated last spring.

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