A state Senate bill to shift Michigan’s county tax collection date from December to July suffered a withering rejection in the state House on Sept. 15, when voting on the proposal was stopped after it became clear that the measure was headed for an overwhelming defeat. The House’s rebuff of the proposed shift — a shift that was, in fact, a tax hike — frees the Legislature to consider long-term, pro‑growth adjustments to the state budget, rather than short-term fixes that sap Michigan’s wealth and fuel uncertainty about its economic future.

The Mackinac Center has made many detailed recommendations for state budget reform, most recently in May in a major report, "Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget." Although many of the spending figures and some of the legal provisions in the state’s currently proposed budget have changed from those included in the earlier study, the study’s basic approach to reducing state liabilities and spending remains valid, including such general recommendations as the following:

  • selling unproductive state assets and real estate;

  • redirecting state tobacco lawsuit monies to the general fund;

  • eliminating counterproductive economic development programs; and

  • ending nonessential state agriculture programs.

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