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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Wrong on FOIA

    WJSM in Benton Harbor, MIRS and the Lansing State Journal are reporting that the Michigan Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s ruling in a key case involving the Freedom of Information Act.


     
  2. Supreme Court Okays Using Public Schools for Political Fundraising
     
  3. Michigan Supreme Court Denies Appeal of Disastrous Lower Court Decision in Freedom of Information Act Case
     
  4. Politician Staffs: Your Money, Their Secret
     
  5. Political Gridlock Is a Good Thing

    As we look forward to a new year, let's hope we are not once again disappointed with decisions made by the ruling class in Lansing and finding ourselves pining for the days of political gridlock.


     
  6. Coming Soon: Higher Business Payroll Taxes
     
  7. The Rose-Colored Glasses of Political Dusk

    Despite political spin, Michiganders shouldn't be convinced that the economy right in front of their faces is a sign of progress.


     
  8. Regulation Without Representation Alive and Well in Washington

    Decisions made in Washington that affect every aspect of the lives of Americans, from the kind of cars we can drive to what type of light bulb we can put in our homes, are increasingly being made by individuals that never stand for election.


     
  9. Michigan Citizens More Reliant on Government than Most of Nation
     
  10. Your Favorites: 2010
     
  11. Annual Missed Votes Report from MichiganVotes.org

    The Detroit Free Press and The Saginaw News both reported on the “Missed Votes Report” assembled by MichiganVotes.org. There were 23 legislators who did not miss a vote during the 2009-2010 session, and 18 who missed more than 100 votes each.


     
  12. Show and Tell

    Putting more information online and requiring fewer written reports would help increase Michigan government’s transparency and accountability, according to one Mackinac Center analyst.


     
  13. Bad News About State Jobs Program "Not Heard" by Granholm
     
  14. Michigan's Real Financial State
     
  15. Politician Puppy Training
     
  16. Your Favorites: 2010
     
  17. School Funding in Michigan: Common Myths
    Michigan’s state-run school system is the largest and most expensive government service taxpayers support. It employs more than 350,000 people who work in one of the more than 4,100 different entities. The total amount this system expends each year adds up to more than $20 billion. Given the enormity and complexity of the system, it’s no surprise that a number of myths exist about how public schools are funded.
     
  18. Chevy Volt Will Win Car of the Year

    While it is always risky making predictions, this one is a slam dunk: The Chevrolet Volt will win the North American Car of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. Unfortunately we seem to live in a world where objective analysis has given way to political correctness, which is why I am confident regarding my prediction.


     
  19. Film Transparency – Just say No?
     
  20. Gov. Granhom Claims Ignorance of MEGA Failures

    If a person sits through Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s video portrait, they might think that the governor is interested and aware of her economic development programs. She spends nearly the entire production on her efforts to foster job creation. Unfortunately, a recent MIRS interview (subscription required) shows that she is blind to the failures of the programs she supports.


     
  21. Is Silence Golden?

    Outgoing Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is wrapping up her eight years in office with a series of ‘final interviews’ with media outlets around the state. And in the waning days of her reign, the governor is finally talking about the forced unionization of Michigan’s home based day care providers. But her comments are contrary to evidence uncovered by Mackinac Center analysts over the past 15 months.


     
  22. Saugatuck Township Uses Zoning Laws to Thwart Private Property Rights

    Saugatuck Township officials are willing to bankrupt the township to stop a development along Lake Michigan, according to an article appearing in The Wall Street Journal.
     

  23. Poor ROI for K-12 Schools in Michigan and the US

    The United States spends more on K-12 schooling than any other industrialized nation save for Switzerland, but gets mediocre results at best on internationally benchmarked standardized tests. Michigan mirrors this same situation: This state spends the 16th most among the states on schools, but its students consistently score near the bottom on national standardized tests.


     
  24. Nearly 3,000 Roll Call Votes of State Representatives and Senators Tallied for 2009-2010
     
  25. Manufacturing a Legacy
     
  26. The FCC’s 2010 Hollywood Blockbuster Extravaganza
     
  27. Wu-Wu’s Dystopian Petals: A Review of “The Master Switch” by Tim Wu
     
  28. Deals and Myths for Christmas

    In his Dec. 14 nationally syndicated column, famed economist Thomas Sowell shared a list of books that would make good Christmas gifts. Two of them (which also happened to be the top two) were authored by Burton Folsom, the Mackinac Center senior fellow in economic education.


     
  29. The Salary History of a West Bloomfield Public School Teacher
     
  30. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST December 21, 2010
     
  31. Grateful for President Obama
     
  32. The Mackinac Center Is not 'Pro-Business'

    The Mackinac Center is pro-free markets, not necessarily “pro-business.” The following excerpt from an article by Luigi Zingales does a good job of describing the difference (although the Center is not a lobbyist, either). Zingales is a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 


     
  33. California Leads Nation in Green Economic Suicide

    You do not have to look as far away as Europe to see how irresponsible spending can lead to economic collapse. California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency as state debt has ballooned to more than $20 billion, provides a good example right here at home.


     
  34. Editorial Cites Center Analyst on Teacher Insurance

    Today’s Detroit News editorial cites research by Mike Van Beek, education policy director, regarding teacher health insurance plans, saying “All teachers will have to contribute to the costs of their health care benefits to help (the) state recover.”


     
  35. When Is an Emergency Not an Emergency?

    St. Clair County fire departments that want firefighters to accompany ambulances on nonemergency medical calls will end up straining already fragile budgets, Fiscal Policy Director Mike LaFaive told the Port Huron Times Herald.


     
  36. Paid to Leave: Generous Teacher Buyouts at East Lansing Public Schools
     
  37. Christmas Giving Fills School Buses
    "Port Huron area residents filled two school buses with toys, food, clothing and other items earlier this month on behalf of a local service agency."
     
  38. Projections vs. Reality
     
  39. More federal money for K-12 called unlikely
    "When Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., pulled a $1.2 trillion spending bill off the floor of the Senate this week, extra money for K-12 public schools went with it ? at least for now."
     
  40. The Bush Tax Cut Compromise: A Good Deal or Not?
     
  41. Is it a Lie to Call Obamacare a "Government Takeover" of Health Care?
     
  42. Weekly Roundup - Dec. 18
     
  43. Ann Arbor seeks to fire two teachers
    "Ann Arbor Public Schools wants to fire a high school orchestra teacher for an allegedly inappropriate relationship with a student."
     
  44. MichiganVotes.org Dec. 17 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org reports on just how state legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days.


     
  45. The Return of the Company Union

    A weakened union that is overly compliant with the company's priorities is what used to be known as a "company union," and unionists used to treat them with suspicion if not contempt. But that was when the union movement was a genuine worker movement.


     
  46. Update on New Teacher Contracts

    Three Michigan districts recently signed new contracts with their teachers union. All three include across-the-board pay raises for teachers for this year and the next. Each district also modified the type of health insurance package it offers teachers, all which are still much more generous than than can be found on average in the private sector.


     
  47. Study: High Cigarette Taxes Cause Widespread Smuggling in Michigan, Elsewhere in U.S.
     
  48. Study: High Cigarette Taxes Cause Widespread Smuggling in Michigan, Elsewhere in U.S.
     
  49. Benchmarking Benefits Methodology Sheet
     
  50. Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling 2010
    Authors Michael LaFaive and Todd Nesbit update their 2008 cigarette taxes and smuggling study titled “Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling: A Statistical and Historical Review.” The update includes new statistical data to reflect the 27 state-level tax increases that occurred between January 2007 and the end of 2009 in Michigan’s 48 contiguous states.
     
  51. Where There's Cigarette Taxes, There's Smuggling
     
  52. A Public Employee Union Response
     
  53. High Cigarette Tax Leads to Smuggling
     
  54. Lawsuit says contract illegally prohibits privatization
    "Residents who joined a lawsuit against nine West Michigan public school districts say they were motivated by wasteful spending, while a school superintendent called the lawsuit "frivolous.""
     
  55. Mackinac Center Analysts Pioneered Prison Sentencing/Cost Reform 'Grand Bargain' Proposals

    As Michigan’s new governor and Legislature prepare to wrestle budgets increasingly pressured by generous government employee benefits, attention is turning once again to a “grand bargain” on prisons: Lock up fewer people for less time, and also adopt reforms that bring down prison employee costs.


     
  56. Study: Worst schools stay open
    "Most low-performing public schools — including charter and conventional schools in Michigan — rarely improve and rarely close."
     
  57. Tea Party Could Cut Up the Federal Credit Card
     
  58. What the Tea Party Is, Is Not, and its 'Core Competence'
     
  59. Center Suing Kent County Schools, Unions Over 'No-Privatization' Contract Language

    The Grand Rapids Press and WOOD-TV are reporting that the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation will file a lawsuit against the Kent County Intermediate School District, nine other school districts and several Michigan Education Association union affiliates over “no-privatization” language included in collective bargaining agreements. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Kent County taxpayers.


     
  60. All The Cool Guvs Are Doing It

    Rick Snyder has yet to tackle collective bargaining directly, but he has taken a pretty firm line on government employee benefits something that’s bound to make union officials in Michigan uncomfortable.


     
  61. Privatize the University of Michigan?

    AnnArbor.com is reporting that a budget document that discusses potential ways to cut state spending includes a recommendation to “privatize University of Michigan over 5 years.” Mackinac Center analysts recommended the same thing six years ago.


     
  62. New Tax Money Will Not Fix Brownfield Process

    Lawmakers should reject a proposal from the Michigan Environmental Council for a 3/8-cent increase in the sales tax to fund the state’s dysfunctional contaminated site cleanup program. Throwing more taxpayer money at environmental cleanups will not fix what’s wrong with the state’s contaminated site cleanup program.


     
  63. Gladwin leaves MESSA
    "Teachers and support staff at Gladwin Community Schools voted “overwhelmingly” to leave a union-backed health insurance plan in favor of a less expensive plan."
     
  64. What Is the Future for Michigan's Public Employee Unions?
     
  65. IMPACT Winter 2010
     
  66. Center Analyst Addressed MEA Pay

    Education Policy Director Mike Van Beek was a guest today on “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR AM760, where he discussed the expanding payroll of the Michigan Education Association teachers union.


     
  67. Jurrians v. Kent ISD
     
  68. Weak dollar brings in foreign students
    "The weak American dollar has translated into higher international enrollment at Michigan colleges and universities."
     
  69. ObamaCare Opponents in Michigan Claiming a Legal 'Touchdown'
     
  70. Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Files Suit Against 10 Kent County School Districts, KCEA, on Behalf of Taxpayers
     
  71. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST December 14, 2010
     
  72. MEA Executive Salaries 'Not Based on Merit'
     
  73. Two Governors

    Leaders of our fellow upper-Midwestern states are starting to zero-in on government employee unions. It will be interesting to see if Michigan's incoming governor takes a stand on this issue.


     
  74. Vocabulary Lesson

    There is no “union movement” in the United States, and hasn’t been since the 1930s. Instead, what we have today is a union establishment. One possessed of perks and privileges granted by New Deal-era labor laws, including the power to coerce employees to pay dues (at least in non-right-to-work states).


     
  75. Climate Negotiations Carry a Chilling Message

    Recent climate conferences in Stockholm and Cancun have revealed what the global climate change issue is really all about — the transfer of wealth from developed nations to developing countries.


     
  76. Columnist Cites Center Study on Union Disclosure

    A columnist in The Washington Examiner Sunday cited a 2004 Mackinac Center study that showed only 42 percent of union members believed that union funds are spent “helping workers get better pay, benefits and working conditions.”


     
  77. State Taxpayers Can Benefit from School, University and Local Government Benefits Reforms

    A reader responded to James Hohman’s “What can $5.7 billion get you in Michigan” in Michigan Capital Confidential, calling it “dishonest” to suggest that bringing the fringe benefits of all government workers in line with private sector averages would make a big difference in the state budget. The money is more "fungible" than taxpayers are led to believe, however.


     
  78. Fat Years for State's Big Teacher Union
     
  79. How to Save $500 Million on Michigan Schools

    Michigan could save around $500 million if public school employees contributed the same percentage toward their employer-provided health insurance benefits as federal workers do, on average. The reform would generate savings of more than $300 per pupil.


     
  80. Kent County School Services Privatization Lawsuit
     
  81. Survey: Social studies teachers agree on content, not impact
    "Public and private school teachers agree on what students should learn in social studies classes, but private school teachers appear more confident that the lessons are getting through."
     
  82. Structural Overspending in Michigan’s State Budget: One Way to Fix It
     
  83. Ann Arbor gets extra Great Start money
    "Ann Arbor Public Schools will receive more than $421,000 in Great Start Readiness Program funding this year, allowing it to serve an additional 51 students."
     
  84. Hiding the Evidence?
     
  85. Weekly Roundup - Dec. 11
     
  86. Island Sinking Story Sunk
     
  87. Owosso eyes salary, benefit cuts to resolve deficit
    "Personnel expenditures account for 89 percent of the budget in Owosso Public Schools, so that’s where the district will look to resolve a projected $5 million deficit over the next two years."
     
  88. Blueprint for Success

    Senior Environmental Analyst Russ Harding wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in The Oakland Press today, outlining the points made in his new study titled “Environmental Regulation in Michigan: A Blueprint for Reform.”


     
  89. Bid for Support, Planning Ahead, Par for the Course

    WNEM TV-5 and The Saginaw News have picked up Kathy Hoekstra’s discovery that the Saginaw-based company GlobalWatt is far from on-track to fulfill its job-creation promises but is instead reselling India-made solar panels on eBay.


     
  90. Look to Michigan for a Lesson in What Not to Do

    The federal government should look to the effects of Michigan's pursuit of green energy jobs as a warning, not as the shining model Gov. Jennifer Granholm paints in a recent article proposing a federal "green jobs" grant program.


     
  91. An Appealing Appeal

    The Detroit News and other media outlets have reported on the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s appeal Wednesday of the day care unionization case to the Michigan Supreme Court.


     
  92. Gov. Granholm Offers Nation Advice on Job Creation
     
  93. California parents demand switch to charter
    "California parents have become the first to use a so-called “parent trigger” law to force radical change at their children’s failing school."
     
  94. Forget the Election, Focus on Outcomes
     
  95. Fieldstone Golf Course Should Be Sold

    In a time of increasing pressure on local budgets, municipal managers should reach first for the lowest hanging fruit on the savings-tree: government golf courses. Let the slicing begin.


     
  96. Michigan's Cost of Trusting Pols to 'Do What's Right': $11.5 Billion

    A brief article in this week's Forbes explores the mounting debt crisis facing state, local and national governments worldwide; the title suggests one possible cause, "The Economic Incompetence of The Political Class."


     
  97. ObamaCare's Clear and Present Michigan Budget Danger

    In addition to a massive expansion of Medicaid set to begin 2014, the new federal "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PPACA) restricts fiscally-stessed states' ability to generate budget savings in the program right now. As a result, states can either play chicken with the federal government or give up and look for other places save.


     
  98. Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Asks Michigan Supreme Court to Review Day Care Union Case
     
  99. The Underfunded Myth
     
  100. GlobalWatt Sells Someone Else’s Solar Panels – on eBay
     
  101. State Subsidies for Hollywood Dying in Iowa and Drawing Fire In Missouri and Michigan
     
  102. What Can $5.7 Billion Get You in Michigan?
     
  103. Salters’ compensation approaching $300,000
    "Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters received total compensation of nearly $300,000 in the latest year on record — a $6,000 increase from the previous year — and Executive Director Luigi Battaglieri received nearly $272,000."
     
  104. GlobalWatt Sells Someone Else’s Solar Panels – on eBay

    Just in time to brighten the holidays, GlobalWatt, a Saginaw-based solar panel manufacturer, is selling five solar panels on the popular auction website, eBay. But GlobalWatt did not make the panels. A company in India did.


     
  105. Teacher Tenure Law Needs Changed

    Jarrett Skorup, research associate for online engagement, was a guest today on “The Ron Jolly Show” on WTCM-AM1270 in Traverse City, where he discussed an article he recently wrote for Michigan Capitol Confidential about teacher tenure reform.


     
  106. Harding Addresses Regulatory Concerns

    Senior Environmental Analyst Russ Harding was interviewed on Michigan Public Radio today about the state’s regulatory regime and its negative impact on business.


     
  107. Follow-Up MichiganVotes.org Dec. 3 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org reports on just how state legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days.


     
  108. MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call Report
     
  109. Warren Woods School District Pays Nearly Double the Private-Sector Average for Health Insurance
     
  110. Film Subsidy Secrecy May Be Ending
     
  111. Wins and losses in Detroit
    "In assorted power struggles, the Detroit school board, teachers union president and emergency financial manager counted various wins and losses this week and last."
     
  112. National Park Rangers Rewriting History?

    State and national parks play an important role in reminding visitors of the unique heritage we share in America as free and independent people by retelling the stories of our ancestors who often endured hardship or even death in securing the freedoms many of us take for granted.


     
  113. Warren Woods School District Pays Nearly Double the Private-Sector Average for Health Insurance

    Three school districts in the state recently agreed to new contracts with their teachers union. Warren Woods continues to pay an exhorbitant amount for health insurance, while Saugatuck saved money by just switching insurance providers.


     
  114. Editorial: End PLAs

    An editorial in The Detroit News calls for Gov.-elect Rick Snyder to issue an executive order after taking office that would put an end to project labor agreements, which use a tactic that drives up prices for government construction projects due to the “prevailing wage.”


     
  115. MichiganVotes.org Dec. 3 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org reports on just how state legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days.


     
  116. Overton Window Cited by Columnist

    A column in The Oakland Press talks about the role of the “Overton Window of Political Possibility” as it relates to tax cuts and federal spending.


     
  117. Property Rights Come in Many Forms

    Property rights ranging from natural gas recovery to urban development are the focus of two recent media citations for Mackinac Center analysts.


     
  118. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST December 7, 2010
     
  119. Don't Tenure Current Teacher Tenure Law
     
  120. Analysis: Transit Nonsense + State Health Care Rationing = Really Bad Policy
     
  121. Don't Tenure Current Teacher Tenure Law

    The Michigan Legislature recently debated a modest teacher tenure reform bill that passed in the Senate but then died when the House failed to act. The issue will surely return in the 2011 session, and when it does, lawmakers should consider the following:

    Under current law, it is nearly impossible to fire a tenured teacher, no matter how ineffective.


     
  122. Patterson, Center's Birmingham Event Cited

    A Mackinac Center event featuring Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was cited in the Birmingham Patch in a story about the economic outlook for downtown Birmingham.


     
  123. Government Spending Over Par, Overpriced

    Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, was cited in two separate stories Saturday about fiscal irresponsibility at the local government level.


     
  124. Employee Health Insurance Premium Co-Pays Still Rare at Public Schools
     
  125. Protecting Michigan’s Health Care System
     
  126. Why Do Michigan’s Failed Economic Programs Stick Around?
     
  127. Are Intermediate School Districts Bloated?
     
  128. Lawmakers OK Sale of School for the Deaf Site
    "The Michigan School for the Deaf campus in Flint would become home to Flint Powers Catholic High School and a new building to serve deaf students would be constructed on the site in a $36 million deal now under consideration."
     
  129. Mutual Honor Society
     
  130. DPS launches ‘full inclusion’ effort
    "Detroit Public Schools is mainstreaming about 5,000 high school special education students into general education classrooms, a “full inclusion” model that it says is better for students and required under federal rules."
     
  131. Bi-partisan Disagreement Over Ethanol
     
  132. Creating Roadblocks to ObamaCare
     
  133. Weekly Roundup - Dec. 4
     
  134. Traverse City Schools' Post Union Negotiation Details Online
     
  135. Cass Tech still a hangout, but not for students
    "Closed in 2005, the shell of the former Cass Technical High School now beckons graffiti artists, thieves, alumni and “urban adventurers” who wander the hallways, play abandoned pianos and steal copper."
     
  136. Littmann: Don't Extend Unemployment Payments

    Senior Economist David Littmann told the Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal that an extension of federal unemployment payments will not help the economy.


     
  137. Top Transit Chief Salaries Criticized by State Lawmaker
     
  138. Traverse City Schools Set Transparency Precedent
     
  139. Some local districts forego ‘Race’ money
    "Fifty school districts in Ohio are among “Race to the Top” winners who have pulled out of the process, some saying they can’t manage such a major overhaul."
     
  140. No Free Lunch for Failing Schools
     
  141. Mutual Honor Society

    The Michigan Senate has been busy this week working on very important legislation, but on Wednesday the 29 outgoing members, plus the nine with a newly renewed four-year tenure, found time for 29 other items of business, listed below. These all passed on voice-votes.
    - Senate Resolution 186, a resolution of tribute for the Honorable Deborah Cherry . . .


     
  142. Ethanol for Duckies

    In the waning days of the lame-duck Congress, a bipartisan fight is brewing over federal handouts to encourage production of corn ethanol, with competing letters urging the continuation or end of these subsidies.


     
  143. ISD Bloat Redux
     
  144. Michigan Teacher Pay 16.5 Percent Higher Than Indiana
     
  145. ‘Edujobs’ money approved
    "Michigan public schools will receive one-time funding of $111 to $222 per pupil in federal “Edujobs” funding this year, as well as smaller amounts of additional funding from the state."
     
  146. ISD Bloat Redux

    My recent analysis showing that staffing levels at intermediate school districts grew significantly over the last decade — even as the number of students in Michigan public schools fell — drew some criticism from Dr. David A. Spitzley, an employee of the Washtenaw ISD. Dr. Spitzley points out that the data provided by the Michigan Department of Education's Center for Educational Performance and Information are inconsistent over time in some respects. Nevertheless, no matter how one slices the data, it still shows that ISD payrolls expanded while enrollment contracted.


     
  147. Traverse City Schools Set Transparency Precedent

    Traverse City Area Public Schools is raising transparency to a new level, and setting an example that other Michigan school districts should follow.


     
  148. Michigan Health Care Freedom Amendment Going to Round Two?
     
  149. Trustees say reporting mandate should stop
    "School board members in Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools say the state isn’t adhering to a court ruling that says school districts can’t be forced to submit reports to the state unless the district is paid for the work involved."
     
  150. In Memory of Peter C. Cook

    Peter C. Cook, faithful friend of liberty and exemplar of civil society, passed away Sunday evening at 96 years old in his hometown of Grand Rapids. Mr. Cook, as I knew him, served on the Mackinac Center’s board of directors from 1992 to 2003.


     
  151. More on an Autism Insurance Coverage Mandate

    The lobbyists and activists working to impose a state insurance mandate for autism coverage in Michigan are extremely active. Less than two hours after I blogged on this topic yesterday, I was contacted by two of them.


     
  152. Michigan School Privatization Survey 2010

    Privatization of support services has been a method that Michigan school districts have used for several years to lower costs. More than ever before, Michigan school districts are privatizing the three main support services they offer — food, custodial and transportation. Our annual survey finds that 48.8 percent of Michigan school districts are contracting out for these services. This is an 8 percent increase over 2009.

    The largest impetus for contracting is cost savings. The survey found that first-year contracts alone are expected to save districts $16.7 million cumulatively.


     
  153. Center Analyst Debunks School Funding Myths

    Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek authored Op-Eds on school funding myths, including the claim that public school funding is “unstable,” that appeared recently in The Oakland Press.


     
  154. Brighton Teacher Contract Summary
     
  155. Net Neutrality vs. The Fairness Doctrine
     
  156. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST November 30, 2010
     
  157. Just Keep Saying 'No' to Costly State Insurance Mandates

    Lieutenant Governor-elect Brian Calley is urging the lame-duck Legislature to pass a new mandate that would force health insurance companies to include coverage for autism treatments in all policies, potentially requiring them to pay for extraordinarily expensive new treatment regimes whose efficacy is still speculative.


     
  158. Littmann: Hold Fed Accountable

    Senior Economist David Littmann recently wrote in a Detroit News Op-Ed about the need to hold the Federal Reserve Board accountable for the damage it has done to the American economy.


     
  159. Exactly What Unions Are Expected to Do

    Government employees have every right to lobby and hire lawyers, but the public is not obligated to give in to their wishes or pay for those lobbyists and lawyers.


     
  160. The Bill for Protecting Detroit's Mayor: $1.35 Million
     
  161. Michigan Falls to Bottom 10 in Key Economic Measure

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis released a key measure of economic growth today that showed that Michigan has gone over a decade without increased production. New gross domestic product figures, a measure of the value of an area’s goods and services production, showed that Michigan’s economy produced 8 percent less in 2009 than it did in 2000 when adjusted for inflation. The nation rose 15 percent during this period.


     
  162. Big Labor Vs. Lansing Entrepreneur
     
  163. Traverse City Puts Bargaining Details Online
    "In a move intended to increase transparency, Traverse City Public Schools will post online the proposals made by the district and its unionized employees during contract talks."
     
  164. Jack McHugh Cited on 'Political Careerists'

    A Lansing State Journal editorial today calling for term limit reforms cites Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh, who wrote after the Nov. 2 elections that 86 percent of new legislators are already “political careerists.”


     
  165. Net Neutrality Is a Bad Marriage of Government, Internet
     
  166. RNC Chairman Candidate Favors Net Neutrality
     
  167. MEA Has $174.5 Million in Liabilities, $66.3 Million in Dues
     
  168. RNC Chairman Candidate Favors Net Neutrality

    Saul Anuzis has announced he’s running for chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. The former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party pits himself against sitting RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

    As a staunch advocate for net neutrality, however, Anuzis rows against the tide established by the majority of his party.


     
  169. Gov. Granholm's 'Mighty Wind' More a Light Breeze

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled “A Mighty Wind,” in which she credits Michigan’s renewable energy standard of 2008 — which requires 10 percent of energy produced by the major utilities in the state come from renewable sources — for revitalizing the state’s economy.


     
  170. Students to get mobile phones for homework help
    "Third-graders in Gobles Public Schools will receive mobile phones with Internet access beginning in January so they can do online research for school projects."
     
  171. Schools Buying Bigger Pension Payouts for Employees
     
  172. Does Anyone Still Believe in Ethanol?
     
  173. Right-to-Work: Resistance Is Feudal

    The notion of "fundamental privileges" that government cannot withdraw without causing some sort of "disruption" is antithetical to republican government, though it would fit well in a feudal society, with its complex web of privileges and obligations that tied individuals to their stations in life.


     
  174. Does Anyone Still Believe in Ethanol?

    While speaking overseas this week, former presidential candidate Al Gore took some questions about corn-based ethanol. So what does the green guru think about the fuel that was supposed to wean us off of foreign oil and cut carbon emissions?


     
  175. Nearly One Thousand Six-Figure Salaries at UAW and National Education Association
     
  176. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST November 23, 2010
     
  177. Analysis: Hydraulic Fracturing the Key to Michigan’s Energy Future
     
  178. "Green Energy" Subsidy Factory — not just Cap & Trade — the Real Test for GOP Energy Chair
     
  179. Hohman: State Employee Pay, Benefits Costly

    Governor-elect Rick Snyder will have to sort through “conflicting information” as he attempts to convince state employees to scale back wages and benefits that are out of line with the private sector, according to an article in MiTechNews.com that originally appeared in the Gongwer News Service.


     
  180. Harding: Regulatory Reform Needed

    An Op-Ed in Sunday’s Lansing State Journal by Russ Harding, senior environmental analyst, highlights the points he has made in a new study titled “Environmental Regulation in Michigan: A Blueprint for Reform.”


     
  181. Editorial: Reform Teacher Pay, Benefits

    A Detroit News editorial Sunday said that merit pay for public school teachers would “connect pay more closely to the quality of instruction, but also said that teacher benefits is a “better place to find cost savings,” and urged teachers and their unions to lead the reform.


     
  182. Government Putt Putt Golf in Jackson
     
  183. Reading Between the Billboard Lines
     
  184. School’s ‘green’ initiative to include cost-benefit analysis
    "Calculating the cost benefits and return on investment will be part of a “green” initiative that includes solar, wind, composting, recycling and gardening initiatives at Hudsonville High School."
     
  185. Rothwells Good Choice for Snyder, LaFaive Says

    Sharon and Doug Rothwell, former Engler administration veterans with corporate experience, are a good choice to head up Gov.-elect Rick Snyder’s transition team, Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, told the Detroit Free Press recently.


     
  186. Did the Auto Bailout Really Save One Million Jobs?
     
  187. Teachers switch insurance, receive pay hikes
    "Saugatuck Public Schools teachers will receive pay raises this year and next, made possible by agreeing to switch from a union-affiliated health insurance to a lower-cost provider."
     
  188. Critics Challenge Choosing Upton as Energy Chair
     
  189. "Green Energy" Subsidy Factory — not just Cap & Trade — the Real Test for GOP Energy Chair

    As described by today's Michigan Capitol Confidential, some on the right are fuming because Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is being considered for chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel suggests that opposition to cap-and-trade and support for more drilling are "baseline" criteria, and the next chair should be someone who's opposed a federal energy apparatus and "subsidy factory" that resembles "Soviet central planning." After being been blown away by eight years of such policies at the state level, this is something residents here will appreciate.


     
  190. Public can’t see new pact before board vote
    "The teachers union and school board in Rochester Community Schools have reached tentative agreement on a three-year contract, but the community won’t know the details until the pact is ratified."
     
  191. MichiganVotes.org Nov. 19 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Because no votes were taken in the Legislature this week, this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest.
    Senate Bill 1569 (Extend government pension tax exemption to private sector pensions)
    Introduced by Sen. Michael Switalski (D) on November 4, 2010, to extend to the pensions of non-government workers the same state income tax exemption granted to the pensions of retired government employees.
     

  192. Reading Between the Billboard Lines

    The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association says the taxpayer-funded Pure Michigan advertising "pays off in the long run." But apparently the MLTA isn't confident enough about the long run to put up their own money.


     
  193. Government Pay Outpaces Private Sector
     
  194. Reforming Michigan’s Auto Insurance Industry
     
  195. Teacher salaries a budget target
    "High teacher salaries are under the microscope in Lansing and at bargaining tables around Michigan in the face of a projected $1.6 billion state budget deficit."
     
  196. ‘Fantastic’ Food and Energy — Let’s Get Real
     
  197. Editorials Draw From Michigan Capitol Confidential

    Editorials in both the Port Huron Times-Herald and Livingston Daily Press & Argus about the changes in the Michigan Legislature due to term limits cite research by Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh that first appeared in Michigan Capitol Confidential.


     
  198. Michigan Falls to Bottom 10 in Key Economic Measure

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis released a key measure of economic growth today that showed that Michigan has gone over a decade without increased production. New gross domestic product figures, a measure of the value of an area’s goods and services production, showed that Michigan’s economy produced 8 percent less in 2009 than it did in 2000 when adjusted for inflation. The nation rose 15 percent during this period.


     
  199. School Transparency Laws Finally Catching Up With Mackinac Center Analysts' Research

    Teacher salaries and school district spending transparency are the focus of two Detroit News articles today that rely on the expertise of Mackinac Center analysts.


     
  200. Littmann on GM IPO

    Senior Economist David Littmann is the primary source for a Detroit Free Press article today regarding GM’s IPO, saying it is in “fine shape.”


     
  201. Fuel-Economy Standards Debate Could Shift

    A Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives could mean an easing on the federal fuel standards that many think would harm American automakers, Senior Environmental Analyst Russ Harding told Bloomberg recently.


     
  202. Analysis: Detroit Students Hostages to the Union
     
  203. MEDC vs. Kentucky
     
  204. MEDC Response
     
  205. Detroit Students Hostages to the Union

    A "multidimensional" crisis that's been unfolding for decades may finally be coming to a head in the Detroit Public Schools: The district is virtually bankrupt, the schools are unsafe and they generate the worst student achievement results in the nation. And now, Robert Bobb, the governor-appointed emergency financial manager, is waving the white flag, asking the state to borrow against future revenues to bail out the district. Doing so would be unfortunate for both students and state taxpayers.


     
  206. How to Swipe $200K From Your Union

    A UAW Local's bookkeeper cut herself an extra paycheck every week for four years. It would seem union financial reporting standards could afford some tightening up.


     
  207. Unity Studios: Whose Unhappy Ending?

    It appears likely the starry-eyed promise of Hollywood has left the taxpayers of Allen Park with quite the handful of overpriced real estate.


     
  208. Weekly MichiganVotes.org Roll Call Vote Report
     
  209. Will the Individual Mandate Sink ObamaCare?
     
  210. Tear Down This 'Film Industry' Facade

    Ending the handouts would send a signal that this state is done playing games with ephemeral and failed "economic development" programs, and instead will focus on a real economic growth agenda, including across-the-board tax relief, labor law changes and other regulatory reforms.


     
  211. Ethanol a 'Solution'? Think Again.

    In an important article in today’s Wall Street Journal, the brilliant George Gilder uses California as a poster-child to show how so-called "green energy" is paving the way to national bankruptcy and irrelevency. Michigan politicians have inflicted similar damage here too, including destructive ethanol subsidies and "renewable energy" electic utility mandates.


     
  212. Governor's Picks for the Civil Service Commission Will Matter

    Snyder has promised “customer oriented” government. If he wants to influence how state employees do their work on a “retail” level, or address state employee compensation, he will need to pay attention to this panel, be patient and put serious thought into his CSC appointments when they come up.


     
  213. Saugatuck School District Saves Big on Insurance

    The Grand Rapids Press reports that teachers in Saugatuck Public Schools will no longer be provided with health insurance from the Michigan Education Special Services Association, an arm of the state's largest teachers union. The district instead will purchase employee insurance from Priority Health, a move that is said to save $3,800 per teacher annually. If similar savings were extended to all of Michigan's teachers it would amount to $394.4 million.


     
  214. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST November 16, 2010
     
  215. Weekly MichiganVotes.org Roll Call Vote Report
    How legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days.

    Senate Bill 1578, Authorize county arts taxes, passed in the Senate (35 to 2)
    To allow counties to impose a property tax of up to .2 mils to subsidize art museums. Who voted yes and who voted no.
     

  216. College acts against potential financial aid fraud
    "A computerized review alerted Lansing Community College to 174 suspicious financial aid applications so far this year and may have saved it up to $275,000."
     
  217. Analysis: Michigan Should Reject High-Speed Rail Money
     
  218. Union Leadership Supported Bernero, Many Members Vote Snyder
     
  219. Catholic academy intended to attract Latino students
    "Six Catholic parishes with a strong Latino presence will jointly open San Juan Diego Academy in July 2011, church leaders announced last week."
     
  220. Big Labor Fights Against Lansing Entrepreneurs … and Virg Bernero?
     
  221. Report: Net Neutrality Would Harm Economy
     
  222. Jackson Considers Cutting Cops While City-Owned Pools Swim in Red Ink
     
  223. Weekly Roundup - Nov. 13
     
  224. Should the U.S. Raise the Age For Social Security Recipients?
     
  225. Wishful Reporting of Governor’s Investment Missions

    In Gov. Jennifer Granholm's weekly radio address, she ballyhoos her investment missions abroad by claiming that they're responsible for creating or retaining 20,000 Michigan jobs. Unfortunately, she continues to mistake job announcements for job creation.


     
  226. More on the School Employee Concession Myth

    In a recent Detroit Free Press article, Doug Pratt of the Michigan Education Association argued that school employees have become victims to considerable budget cuts. Check out this latest video for more information.


     
  227. Michigan Should Reject High-Speed Rail Money

    Michigan's roads and bridges are crumbling while the federal government is throwing money at states for the purpose of building high-speed rail lines.


     
  228. Sen. Switalski: Don't Ban Double-Dating
     
  229. One of America's 'Most Governed' States
     
  230. Thirst Quencher — Capitalizing on the California Exodus
     
  231. Taxpayer Dollars, Not Politics, Makes the Difference in Broadcast News

    The fall fundraiser for public radio supposedly ended in October, in the middle of the Juan Williams' firing imbroglio. And yet this morning, Nov. 11, my local NPR affiliate here in mid-Michigan was still interrupting programming to request listener donations.


     
  232. Troy Puts Off 'Distracted Driving' Penalties
     
  233. Contract talks may hold up $25 million grant
    "Grand Rapids Public Schools is in line to receive $25 million in federal grants to improve its lowest-performing schools, but teacher contract negotiations may stand in the way."
     
  234. Veteran’s Woes Illustrate Problem With Government Health Care
     
  235. Ethanol Could Go on GOP Chopping Block
     
  236. Sen. Switalski: Don't Ban Double-Dating

    Reportedly the Michigan Legislature is considering legislation to prohibit young drivers from having more than one non-related passenger in the car.


     
  237. Hangar42 Investor in Court Today

    The lead investor in the Hangar42 movie studio deal was in court today for a preliminary exam, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  238. Why Do Michigan’s Failed Economic Programs Stick Around?
     
  239. Will GOP Control Change the Wind on Wind Energy?
     
  240. Facebook Recommendations
     
  241. Bill would limit tenure to “effective” teachers
    "A bill requiring that teacher effectiveness be part of the tenure process passed the Senate Education Committee this week, along with one requiring teacher evaluations to rate educators as "effective" or "ineffective.""
     
  242. Sen. Cassis's 'Going Away Present' to Taxpayers

    Sen. Cassis, R-Novi, will leave the Legislature at the end of this year due to term limits, and last week she delivered a "going away present" to Michigan taxpayers in the form of a four-bill package eliminating the state's worst corporate welfare abuses.
     

  243. Labor Files

    Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey was a guest recently on "The Greg Marshall Show" on WMKT-AM1270 in Charlevoix, where he discussed how taxpayers foot the bill for public-sector union dues, the need for right-to-work protections in Michigan and how unions spend a fraction of the dues they take from workers on collective bargaining.


     
  244. Government Subsidies for Green Power Risky

    Michigan officials would be wise to follow the lead of other states that we compete with for jobs and protect Michigan consumers and businesses from higher green energy costs. A good place to start is repealing the Michigan's 10 percent alternative energy mandate.


     
  245. David Littmann on Gas Prices

    David Littmann, senior economist at the Mackinac Center, is cited in The Detroit News today in a story about rising gasoline prices.


     
  246. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST November 9, 2010
     
  247. Michigan's Regulatory Climate Drives Businesses and Jobs to States With Fewer Barriers, According to New Mackinac Center Study
     
  248. A Union Pension Bailout During the Lame Duck Season in Congress?
     
  249. A MichiganVotes.org Apology to Rep. Dave Agema
     
  250. Tiger Stadium proposed charter school site
    "Cornerstone Charter Schools wants to build an elementary school at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull where Tiger Stadium once stood."
     
  251. MSU Continues Plagiarism Investigation

    Michigan State University continues to investigate potential plagiarism by one of its professors in a school consolidation study, according to the Student Free Press Association.


     
  252. Minimum Wage Hypocrisy in Congress

    Michigan Business Review reports on a recent Michigan Capitol Confidential story about members of Michigan's Congressional delegation who voted for an increase in the federal minimum wage law but offer unpaid internships in their offices.


     
  253. Trimming Ethanol Subsidies Early Test for New GOP Congress and Michigan Legislature

    Columnist Tim Carney observes in the Washington Examiner that whether or not they trim ethanol subsidies will provide an early test for how serious Republicans in Washington are about reducing the cost, size and intrusiveness of government. The same applies here in Michigan.


     
  254. A MichiganVotes.org Apology to Rep. Dave Agema

    Due to a data-entry error, Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, was incorrectly listed on MichiganVotes.org as the sponsor of House Bill 5593, now Public Act 216 of 2009, which increased the state licensure fees imposed on nurses. A Michigan Capitol Confidential story citing MichiganVotes.org inadvertently repeated the error.


     
  255. Story Broken by Michigan Capitol Confidential Becomes Front-Page News in Lansing State Journal

    A story Friday in Michigan Capitol Confidential about a CATA bus driver who made $140,000 last year provided the impetus for a front-page story Saturday in the Lansing State Journal.


     
  256. The Conservative Evolution of Randy Richardville
     
  257. Keeping Homeless Youth in School is Project Goal
    "School officials in Washtenaw County say there has been a 60 to 70 percent increase in activity in a program designed to help homeless youth educationally."
     
  258. State Supreme Court Will Hear MEA PAC case
    "The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether public school districts can administer payroll deduction plans that funnel money to the Michigan Education Association's political action committee."
     
  259. Speed Bump in Way of School Savings Could Be Removed by Republican Wave
     
  260. MEGA “GlobalWatt” Deal Raises Questions
     
  261. It Shouldn’t Take a Superhero to Fix Public Education
     
  262. Hydraulic Fracturing the Key to Michigan’s Energy Future
     
  263. Five Years Later... We Are Not 'Blown Away'
     
  264. Bus Drivers to Get Pay Raise, Time Off
    "School bus drivers will receive pay raises and more time off under a new contract agreement between Dean Transportation and the Grand Rapids union that represents some of its workers."
     
  265. Union Criticism May Have Helped Candidate Win
    "A union mailing that criticized a Brighton Area Schools board of education candidate may have helped him win election."
     
  266. Minimum Wage for Thee But Not for Me?
     
  267. MichiganVotes.org Nov. 5 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just their legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills of the week.


     
  268. Getting Railroaded?

    There are renewed calls and more pressure in metro Detroit to build a light-rail from the Oakland County suburbs to downtown Detroit, according to The Detroit News.


     
  269. Lansing's $140,000 Bus Driver
     
  270. District loses $3.7 million in alleged Ponzi scheme
    "The superintendent and finance director of Mona Shores Public Schools will leave the district in the wake of a financial loss involving an outside adviser that may have cost the district $3.7 million."
     
  271. Michigan Legislature Class of 2011 86 Percent 'Political Careerists'
     
  272. Beast of Burden

    Michigan's economy can recover if government places fewer burdens on business, Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman told Fortune Magazine today.


     
  273. The Real Work Is After the Election
     
  274. Memo to Media: Tea Party's Bite is as Big as its Bark
     
  275. Why Do Michigan’s Failed Economic Programs Stick Around?
     
  276. Transform Medicaid First

    If the state can reduce cost and provide better health care coverage to the poor, the premium support and personal account plan should be a no-brainer and get federal approval for a waiver.


     
  277. Michigan’s Economy: From Worst to Average

    There's no question that Michigan's economy has performed poorly over the past decade. Essentially, the state lost one out of every five jobs since employment peaked in 2000. However, Michigan's economic trends have changed in recent months. It is no longer the worst performer in the country. In fact, since the end of the U.S. recession, Michigan's performance is average.


     
  278. GM IPO Raises Questions

    As General Motors finalizes plans to begin selling stock again, questions surround the government takeover of the automaker that could affect the share price, according to David Littmann, senior economist.


     
  279. Analysis: Renewable Electricity 'Net Metering' Capacity: 1/28,000 of Michigan’s Total Needs
     
  280. Experience is Good, Except When it’s Not
     
  281. Washington's Bi Partisan Spending Binge
     
  282. Washington's Bi-Partisan Spending Binge
     
  283. The Real Work Is After the Election
     
  284. Newspaper: Union Postcard Got It Wrong
    "The political arm of the teachers union sent a postcard to Brighton-area voters last week that inaccurately depicted a school board candidate as being involved in a string of lawsuits."
     
  285. Renewable Electricity 'Net Metering' Capacity: 1/28,000 of Michigan’s Total Needs

    Even if dispersed renewable power generation became much more cost-effective than currently, net metering would never replace more than a fraction of the total electricity required to keep Michigan's homes, shops and factories humming.


     
  286. Elected Officials Work for the People, not the Government

    The only way to end poor behavior on the part of elected officials is to hold them accountable.
     

  287. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST November 2, 2010
     
  288. Center President Addresses Ballot Proposals

    Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman was on WEYI-TV25 in Saginaw discussing the two ballot proposals Michigan voters will address today.


     
  289. Most Schools Tardy in Posting Salary Data
     
  290. Huron Valley Teacher Contract Summary
     
  291. MEA, MESSA to Get Aid for Retiree Health Care
    "The Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Education Special Services Association will get financial aid from the federal government to help pay for health care for their early retirees."
     
  292. Tax Hike Would Fund Whose Future?

    Michigan Capitol Confidential reports that the Lansing School District used taxpayer-funded resources to send out a flier that clearly encourages voters to approve a tax increase to pay for more spending by the district.


     
  293. IMPACT Fall 2010
     
  294. Bloated Regulatory System Hurts Agriculture

    Regulatory reform is needed in the state to once again enable Michigan businesses to compete, and this is especially true for Michigan's agricultural industry.


     
  295. School Funding Myths, Privatization Featured

    Two Op-Eds by Mike Van Beek, director of education policy, on school employee concessions and how sales tax and lottery money fund public education, appeared in The Oakland Press Friday.


     
  296. Crippling Our Economic Competitiveness

    As reported by The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 27, the respected North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has determined that proposed new federal power plant rules will force the closure of electric generating plants representing 7 percent of America's capacity.


     
  297. DHS Funding Continues for Forced Unionization

    Funding will continue in fiscal 2011 for the Michigan Department of Human Services to operate the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.


     
  298. The School Employee Concessions Myth
     
  299. School Advocacy in Bond Elections Questioned
     
  300. Michigan Court of Appeals Judges – Not on the Same Page?
     
  301. State Pension Funds: Evidence of Public Class’s Overcompensation
     
  302. Supreme Court won’t hear teacher case
    "The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a school district that wanted to discharge a teacher for off-duty behavior."
     
  303. Weekly Roundup - Oct. 30
     
  304. Michigan Court of Appeals Judges – Not on the Same Page?

    For more than a year, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation (MCLF) has been battling the forced unionization of Michigan's home-based day care owners and providers in the state Court of Appeals. Four times, the appeals court rejected the Foundation's case with the legal equivalent of a wave of the hand.


     
  305. State Loans Often Losers
     
  306. Experts Say CAFE Still Kills Despite Congressional Support
     
  307. Trustee: Sell schools to prevent vandalism
    "Closed school buildings have attracted vandals and burglars in Pontiac School District, leading one school board trustee to call for selling the vacant schools."
     
  308. Land Bank Loans Often Losers
     
  309. Michigan Court of Appeals Denies Motion to Recommit — Once Again Without Comment — in Day Care Union Case
     
  310. The myth of the ‘highly qualified’ teacher
     
  311. Government Unions: The Real Wealth in American Politics
     
  312. Mike Barone Gets It

    Government employee unions have morphed into a permanent, taxpayer-funded lobby for big government. Any movement, like the Tea Parties, that wants to reduce the scope of government will need to confront and defeat government employee unions — and if they are to have any lasting success, it will be essential that government employee unions lose taxpayer funding.


     
  313. Overregulation Killing Economic Recovery

    A recent report from the Small Business Administration calculates the existing annual regulatory costs at $1.75 trillion. This is nearly twice as large as the sum of all individual income taxes collected last year.


     
  314. Is College Accessibility Really a Problem?

    Both of Michigan's gubernatorial candidates favor spending more on higher education and claim more students need to gain access to college. Yet more students are enrolled in Michigan colleges than ever before, and a larger portion of Michigan residents are enrolled in college than other similarly sized states.


     
  315. MEA Ignoring Membership

    USA Today notes that a recent article in Michigan Education Digest reports that even though a high percentage of members consider themselves "conservative," the Michigan Education Association has endorsed Democrats in 111 of 114 races statewide.


     
  316. Michigan's Mixed Messages on Trade With China
     
  317. Carrot and stick for Detroit parents
    "Parents can receive discounts from stores and retailers if they become more involved in Detroit Public Schools parent programs."
     
  318. ISD Bloat?

    The number of school employees for each student in Michigan's public school system has been rising for most of the past 15 years, and stands now at one employee for every eight students. This is surprising given Michigan's declining economy over the last decade, and the school establishment's perpetual complaints of being underfunded.


     
  319. The Alternatives: New Media
     
  320. Lehman Cited in National Review on Elections

    Mackinac Center President Joseph Lehman is quoted in the November 2010 issue of National Review about the upcoming elections


     
  321. And They Think California Is a Lost Jobs Basketcase?

    Some 867,500 jobs have disappeared from the Great Lakes State since our 2000 employment peak of 4,690,300 jobs.


     
  322. Green for Green

    Russ Harding, senior environmental analyst, was featured in a story on using government subsidies to purchase hybrid trucks that appeared on both Michigan Public Radio and National Public Radio recently.


     
  323. Sports Spending at Bloomfield Hills Schools is $285 Per Pupil
     
  324. Analysis: Good News on Natural Gas Threatened by Regulatory Overreach
     
  325. An Evening With the Mackinac Center
     
  326. Michigan Mediocre on New Business Tax Climate Index (and Awful on MBT)

    The Tax Foundation released its 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index today, and not surprisingly Michigan comes off looking rather mediocre.


     
  327. ISD Bloat?

    The number of school employees for each student in Michigan's public school system has been rising for most of the past 15 years, and stands now at one employee for every eight students. This is surprising given Michigan's declining economy over the last decade, and the school establishment's perpetual complaints of being underfunded.


     
  328. Government Benefits Outpace Private Firms

    A new study by Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar Rick Dreyfuss shows the pension and retiree health care benefits given to public school and other state of Michigan public-sector employees are "out of line" with those offered in the private sector, according to MIRS Capitol Capsule.


     
  329. Superintendent pay sparks headlines
    "School superintendent salaries made headlines in Coopersville and Livonia recently, as school board members defended compensation of about $300,000 and $199,000, respectively, in those districts.."
     
  330. Union recommends Democrats to its conservative members
    "The Michigan Education Association reported in October that a large percentage of teachers nationwide consider themselves "conservative," while also recommending in the same publication that teachers vote for Democrats in nearly all political races."
     
  331. Natural Resources the Key to Energy Security
     
  332. School Pensions Sucking Up Per Pupil Cash
     
  333. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST October 26, 2010
     
  334. Tax Rates Matter

    As the governor's race heats up, it is refreshing to see an occasional area of agreement between the candidates; especially when the agreement makes good economic sense.


     
  335. Natural Resources the Key to Energy Security

    Environmental groups and other proponents of shifting to renewable energy to power our factories, heat our homes and fuel our vehicles are often the same groups that stand in the way of natural resource development. They don't realize you cannot have one without the other.


     
  336. How to Create Jobs

    Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, suggests some alternatives for creating jobs after several years of government failure on that front in this Detroit Free Press Op-Ed.


     
  337. Reforming Michigan’s Auto Insurance Industry

    Michigan auto insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation. The American Association of Retired Persons, in a recent survey, found that Michigan’s premiums were the second highest in the nation, behind only Louisiana. This, combined with a statutory requirement to purchase insurance, has led to legislative attempts to keep premiums down. Unfortunately, state lawmakers have pursued an approach that includes price controls, regulation of how premiums may be set, and requirements for insurance companies to provide specific types of coverage. As the famous Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out decades ago, this kind of government intervention, while well-intended, leads to unintended consequences that then lead to further government interventions, further unintended consequences, in a lengthy cycle with results that no legislator would have expected at the beginning.

    Rather than attempting to regulate insurance company and individual behavior, Michigan legislators would much better serve the people they represent by examining why insurance premiums are so high in the first place, in order to address the problem at its source. A careful study of Michigan’s insurance market and the regulations governing it indicates that no-fault insurance and the legislative requirement for individuals to purchase unlimited personal injury protection are two important reasons for the increased costs of providing insurance coverage in Michigan. The good news is that it is possible to reduce these costs and reduce the number of drivers who take the risk of violating the law and do not purchase insurance.


     
  338. Does Public Education Have Favorite Politicians?
     
  339. The Obama ... Tax Cut?
     
  340. Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    The Legislature did not meet this week. Because there were no votes, this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest.
    Senate Bill 1531 (Impose new regulations on natural gas “fracking”) Introduced by Sen. Liz Brater (D), to impose groundwater discharge regulations, fees, permit requirements, etc. on "hydraulic fracturing" to extract natural gas, a technology that reportedly has more than doubled domestic gas reserves. See also the Brater amendment to Senate Bill 1177, defeated on a party-line vote, which would have banned “fracking” altogether.
    Senate Bill 1505 (Ban labeling 100-mile produce “locally grown”) Introduced by Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom (R) ...


     
  341. Low-income numbers on rise in Dearborn
    "Almost two-thirds of Dearborn Public Schools students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, up from about 36 percent in 2000."
     
  342. Retirement Benefits for Public School and State Employees Significantly Above Those in Michigan’s Private Sector, According to New Mackinac Center Study
     
  343. Michigan’s Public-Employee Retirement Benefits: Benchmarking and Managing Benefits and Costs

    The state of Michigan manages two major statewide defined-benefit pension plans.* The largest plan provides benefits for public school employees through the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System, known as “MPSERS.” The second defined-benefit plan is provided through the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System, which covers employees of state government and is known as “MSERS.” The MSERS defined-benefit plan was closed to state employees hired after March 1997; these employees were enrolled in MSERS’ new defined-contribution plan.*

    This paper reviews MPSERS and MSERS pension and retiree medical benefits and confirms many of the published concerns* related to the level of benefits provided and the associated fiscal challenges facing Michigan taxpayers in both the short and long term.

    *Citations provided in the study’s main text.


     
  344. The Rise of 'Multi Stream' Media
     
  345. Report: Half of Michigan college students graduate
    "Only about half of the students who entered college in Michigan as full-time students in 2003 graduated within six years."
     
  346. "Censorship is a Bad Business Model" for NPR
     
  347. Armada teacher receives $25,000 Milken Award
    "Patty Paxton, an elementary school teacher in Armada Area Public Schools, received one of 55 Milken National Educator Awards this year."
     
  348. Weekly Roundup - Oct. 23
     
  349. Teacher Union Doubles Republican Count on Recommendation List
     
  350. Political Careerists to Dominate Legislature

    An article currently appearing on MichCapCon.org and Mackinac.org describes how 72 of the likely winners in 81 races for open Michigan state House and Senate seats are already members-in-good-standing of the bipartisan political class. These include 61 current or former office-holders, eight current or former political staffers, several relatives of legislators, and others who have been government or school officials or employees.


     
  351. Oct. 22 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report
    The Legislature did not meet this week. Because there were no votes, this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest.
    Senate Bill 1531 (Impose new regulations on natural gas “fracking”) Introduced by Sen. Liz Brater (D), to impose groundwater discharge regulations, fees, permit requirements, etc. on "hydraulic fracturing" to extract natural gas, a technology that reportedly has more than doubled domestic gas reserves. See also the Brater amendment to Senate Bill 1177, defeated on a party-line vote, which would have banned “fracking” altogether.
    Senate Bill 1505 (Ban labeling 100-mile produce “locally grown”) Introduced by Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom (R) ...


     
  352. Virg Bernero on Education: Was Lost, But Now He's Found

    In an interview with The Detroit News, gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero said, "One of the reasons we lose kids to the private school system is because of discipline."

    "Losing" kids is an interesting way for Bernero to describe families who choose to opt-out of the public school system, since he himself was primarily educated at a non-public school, and also chose one for one of his children.


     
  353. GlobalWatt Finds Colorado Partner

    A Saginaw company under fire for problems associated with its application for tax subsidies in Michigan says it will partner with a Colorado company on a solar module project, according to WJRT-TV 12 in Flint.


     
  354. New Energy Policy for a New Governor

    There has been very little innovative thinking on energy policy by political leaders in Michigan in recent years.


     
  355. Jail time for missing conferences?
    "Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants parents who miss conferences with school teachers to face jail time."
     
  356. Conyers Hits Obama Administration, Tea Party at Socialist Event
     
  357. School District Defends Its Neutrality in State House Race
     
  358. Bribing Voters?

    There are a lot of people who need help in our current economy, but taking from one group to give to another merely encourages the idea that government is there to provide for all of your needs rather than serving to protect all citizens equally.


     
  359. Oops! $300k School Super Under-Reports Pay

    Today's Grand Rapids Press adds important details to a story Michigan Capitol Confidential reported on Oct. 13 about Kevin O'Neill, superintendent of the Coopersville School District, whose annual compensation totals $311,034.


     
  360. Con-Con: No Pros, Just Cons

    Mackinac Center President Joe Lehman explains why a constitutional convention is not the answer to Michigan's fiscal, labor and regulatory problems in this Op-Ed in the Detroit Free Press today.


     
  361. Superintendent getting $300k retiring
    "The highest paid superintendent in west Michigan announced Monday that he is retiring."
     
  362. Michigan Loses $2.5 billion Yearly Income; Right to Work States Gain Billions
     
  363. 88 Percent of New 2011 Legislators 'Political Careerists'
     
  364. The Alternatives
     
  365. Healthcare Corporatism
    Big Business thrives off of Big Government, and as long as government is involved in certain sectors of the economy, these political favors will not end.


     
  366. Event: The Alternatives
     
  367. Livonia super gets $50k raise
    "Livonia Public Schools, which has closed 10 buildings in the last four years and cut bus routes by 30 percent, gave Superintendent Randy Liepa a $50,000 raise Monday night."
     
  368. New GOP House Candidate Is One of Top Recipients for Teacher Union Money
     
  369. Environmental Regulation in Michigan
     
  370. Political Careerism and Current Legislature Candidates
     
  371. MEA Republicans
     
  372. Good News on Natural Gas Threatened by Regulatory Overreach

    An amendment that would have banned revolutionary new natural gas drilling technology in Michigan received 16 Democratic "yes" votes in a party-line vote in the state Senate last month. Party-line roll call votes usually say more about caucus discipline than lawmakers' sincere policy preferences, and Democrats hardly have a monopoly on seeking burdensome new environmental regulations and mandates, but it's still disappointing that not one savvy Democrat — including ones generally considered "moderate" rather than anti-business or anti-energy — recognized this outright ban proposal as extremist.


     
  373. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST October 19, 2010
     
  374. MICHIGAN CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL
     
  375. A Budget-Cutting Democrat Runs Against Union-Backed Republican
     
  376. New 2011 Legislators 88 Percent Political Careerists
     
  377. A Conservative Teacher Speaks Up
     
  378. 'Rich States, Poor States'
     
  379. Unelected EPA Bureaucrats Threat to Rule of Law

    The greatest power of government to affect the daily lives of Americans may be wielded by federal, state and local regulatory officials who never stand for election.


     
  380. Recaps of New Teacher Contracts

    Many school boards around the state are attempting to renegotiate contracts with their local teachers unions to contain costs. Here's a brief recap of some of the new contracts agreed to recently.


     
  381. Fees and Thank You

    This recent Michigan Capitol Confidential story by Managing Editor Ken Braun formed the basis for this editorial in The Detroit News.


     
  382. MEA Concedes Large Percentage of 'Conservative' Teachers, Endorses 97% Democrats
     
  383. Unions Would Benefit From a Right-to-Work Law
     
  384. The Consequences of the Federal Deficit
     
  385. In deficit, Ishpeming privatizes custodial work
    "Ishpeming Public Schools will privatize custodial services at two schools as of Jan. 1, 2011, in a move that will eliminate four jobs and is expected to save the district about $95,000."
     
  386. Albion looks to lure back students
    "Looking to lure back former students, Albion Public Schools will allow them to re-enroll in the district at any time instead of waiting until semester break."
     
  387. Weekly Roundup - Oct. 16
     
  388. Solar module maker GlobalWatt claimed Texas economic incentives to win $40 million package in Michigan
     
  389. L. Brooks Patterson at Center Event

    Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was the keynote speaker Thursday night at an event sponsored by the Mackinac Center in metro Detroit.


     
  390. Center Files Motion in Forced Unionization Case

    WPBN-WTOM Channels 7&4 in Traverse City is reporting that the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a motion for reconsideration with the Michigan Court of Appeals in an effort to end the illegal, forced unionization of home-based day care operators.


     
  391. A 19th Century Solution to a 21st Century Issue

    Detroit's current "light rail" system has been called a "Horizontal Elevator to Nowhere" and the "least cost-effective transit project in the last 20 years." So what's the response to this epic disaster of central planning from the political class? To build more, of course.


     
  392. Should China Stop Buying From Michigan?
     
  393. Mackinac Center Amicus Curiae Brief to Michigan Supreme Court in Michigan Education Association v. Secretary of State
     
  394. Green Investments Yield Little ‘Green’
     
  395. MEA lawsuit may be costing teaching jobs
    "A Michigan Education Association lawsuit over retiree health care is one reason schools aren't hiring new teachers."
     
  396. Bare-Knees-Over-Broken-Glass to Vote for Local Tax Hikes?

    The National Taxpayer's Union has just released a 2010 election guide called "The Taxpayer's Perspective" that lists every local millage election in the states by county. Each is given a "plus" or "minus" sign rating based on whether it "could lower taxes or control government" or "raise taxes or expand government." But maybe Michigan voters really don't mind local tax hikes, and instead have a "strong appetite for taxes."


     
  397. EPA Decision a Boon for Mechanics and Lawyers

    Government attempts to direct energy markets by mandates, regulations and subsidies almost always ends badly. Yesterday's E15 decision by the EPA is just one more example.


     
  398. Go for the Movie, Stay for the Audience Reaction

    Well-meaning progressives may hope that the teachers unions will embrace reforms at some point, but by now they should realize that the chances of that happening are infinitesimal. Failing that, they face a stark choice between allowing public schools to continue to fail, or confronting a teachers’ union movement that is both one of their most important creations and most generous political benefactors. Davis Guggenheim has shined a light on the progressives’ predicament. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.


     
  399. Mackinac Center Files Motion for Reconsideration in Home-Based Day Care Union Case
     
  400. Federal school money on hold
    "About $316 million in federal education money is on hold in Lansing until legislators discuss whether the distribution plan meets federal guidelines."
     
  401. Not a Model of the Future
     
  402. The Prognosticators Reply – Not a Model of the Future
     
  403. How to Hold Elected Officials Accountable
     
  404. Teachers Picket as One of Michigan's Wealthiest School Districts Faces Big Deficit
     
  405. 'An Evening With the Mackinac Center' Live Video
     
  406. An Evening With the Mackinac Center
    Featured Speaker: L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive
     
  407. Pontiac Contracts With Oakland County Sheriff for Police Services

    By contracting with the county to provide police services, the city of Pontiac will get a step closer to fiscal solvency.


     
  408. Teachers Picket as One of Michigan's Wealthiest School Districts Faces Big Deficit

    Michigan and local taxpayers provided the West Bloomfield School District with more than $13,500 per student in 2008-2009, yet it still faces a $1.7 million deficit this year and $3.8 million next year. Employee compensation makes up 85 percent of the budget, so the district has asked teachers to help close the gap with revisions to their union contract. Their response was to picket, which they did Monday night.


     
  409. Bailout Wal-Mart?
     
  410. House Abandons Net Neutrality Bill
     
  411. School Board Prez Says State's 3rd-Highest Paid Superintendent is 'Worth It'
     
  412. Taylor announces concessions
    "Newly hired support staff in the Taylor School District will start at lower wages and pay more for health care under an agreement expected to save the district $1.6 million over two years."
     
  413. Bailout Wal-Mart?
     
  414. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST October 12, 2010
     
  415. MEA tops lobbyist spending list
    "The Michigan Education Association spent nearly $292,000 on lobbying in Lansing in the first seven months of 2010, up 22 percent from a year ago."
     
  416. Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems
     
  417. Where Has All the Money Gone?
     
  418. Where Has All the Money Gone?
     
  419. Lack of Transparency at MEDC, MEGA

    The Washington Examiner and San Jose Mercury News both recently cited Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, about the need for transparency within government-run economic development programs.


     
  420. Constitutional Convention Not the Answer

    Voters who favor Proposal 1, calling for a constitutional convention, on the November ballot as a way to solve Michigan's problems are misdirecting their anger, according to a Mackinac Center analyst.


     
  421. Putting education on speed dial
    "Students at Lutheran High School South are using school-issued mobile phones to take notes, complete assignments and watch presentations this year."
     
  422. The Big Election Day That You Don’t Know About
     
  423. Governor Describes Film Subsidies as Jobs Program, so "Why Not Give Them Spoons?"

    The headline of a story today's Detroit Free Press characterizes Gov. Jennifer Granholm's understanding of the state film production subsidies' role like this: "Goal of film tax credit is jobs, not more revenue." This reminds one of the late economist Milton Friedman's question upon seeing a U.S. taxpayer-funded public works project in a poor country where thousands of men with shovels were moving dirt one spadeful at a time.


     
  424. Mackinac Center Idea Tops Bestseller List
     
  425. Flier on candidate reception draws questions
    "The Kent County Intermediate School District says that a flier it distributed through school e-mail announcing the "MEA Grassroots - Patrick Miles Reception," describes an educational forum, not a political event."
     
  426. Troubles for Track Were Known to State Before It Granted Special Tax Deal
     
  427. Weekly Roundup - Oct. 9
     
  428. Predictions of Success Are Public - Failures Are Secret?
     
  429. The play’s the thing
    "Shakespeare is no longer the ultimate choice of American high school thespians."
     
  430. Governor: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose on Job Projections

    Gongwer News Service reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm is unhappy that a new economic forecast estimates that Michigan will start adding jobs next year. But crediting those programs for improving the job estimates is an injudicious use of the forecasts since the economic estimates cited have been optimistic.


     
  431. Governor Describes Film Subsidies as Jobs Program, so "Why Not Give Them Spoons?"

    The headline of a story today's Detroit Free Press characterizes Gov. Jennifer Granholm's understanding of the state film production subsidies' role like this: "Goal of film tax credit is jobs, not more revenue." This reminds one of the late economist Milton Friedman's question upon seeing a U.S. taxpayer-funded public works project in a poor country where thousands of men with shovels were moving dirt one spadeful at a time.


     
  432. Pocket Full of Kryptonite

    The problem isn’t individual teachers, it’s a larger system that protects mediocrity and incompetence, and elevates political correctness over the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science and history. And teachers unions like MEA have been both the strongest defenders and the largest beneficiaries of this system.


     
  433. Poor Subsidizing Rich to Buy New Cars

    When most people talk about the government redistributing wealth, it involves money being taken from those who have more and being given to those who have less, such as with entitlement programs.

    That has taken a new twist that few would have predicted with lavish government subsidies for purchasing electric vehicles.


     
  434. How to Fix Flint Schools

    The Flint Journal reports that members of a newly formed group called Flint Area Congregations Together (FACT) recently traveled to California, Virginia and New York looking for successful schools in areas with demographics similar Flint. While the aim is noble, the group could learn from a number of high-performing schools right at home in Flint.


     
  435. A Pension Perk for Political Appointees
     
  436. Analysis: Slaves to Green Ideology
     
  437. Covert asks for cash advance
    "Covert Public Schools has asked for an advance on its monthly state aid so that it can make payroll on Oct. 15."
     
  438. Government Subsidy Deal Off for Competitor to Lansing Restaurant Owners

    Existing, home-grown restaurant owners in the area — who pay their taxes in full and get no special privileges from the government — are no doubt relieved that they won't have to compete with a politically favored and subsidized outsider.


     
  439. Beacon of Truth

    In an Op-Ed in the St. Louis Beacon, Christine Harbin of the Missouri-based Show-Me Institute argued that "Tax credit programs are not as effective as advertised" and used Mackinac Center research to help make the case.


     
  440. An 'Expensive Game' Providing the 'Illusion of Creating Jobs'
     
  441. Analysis: Pseudo School 'Cuts'
     
  442. Global Warming Fears a Threat to National Security
     
  443. Slaves to Green Ideology

    Liberty is seldom lost in one fell swoop. In America, freedom is dying a death by a thousand green cuts.


     
  444. Pseudo School 'Cuts'

    Whenever faced with the possibility of lower revenue, Michigan's public school establishment perennially cry they've already been "cut to the bone." Many people find the claim plausible given the state's "lost decade," so they may be surprised to discover how many school districts have consistently cut costs in recent years: Five.


     
  445. Analysis: State of Embarrassment
     
  446. Kent ISD Resources Used to Promote a 'Reception' for Democrat Congressional Candidate
     
  447. Joe Lehman on Comcast Newsmakers
     
  448. State of Embarrassment

    Citing companies receiving targeted tax breaks and subsidies has gone from an "economic development" victory lap to a series of embarrassing blunders.


     
  449. GlobalWatt Media Coverage Goes National; MEDC Gives Texas Different Story

    Following up on a Mackinac Center investigation, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. "didn't check [GlobalWatt's] claims" on its application for tax credits, despite the agency's insistence that it thoroughly vetted the company.


     
  450. North Carolina's Lessons for Michigan

    Guest post by Jay Schalin

    North Carolina's hefty spending on higher education is no model for improving Michigan's economy.


     
  451. Horse Racetracks Are Beneficiaries and Victims of State's Gambling Schizophrenia

    Horse racetrack owners complain that the state is schizophrenic about their industry, erecting statutory and bureaucratic barriers to it operating profitably while throwing special favors at particular tracks in the form of subsidies and selective tax breaks.


     
  452. Analysis: Horse Racetracks Are Beneficiaries and Victims of State's Gambling Schizophrenia
     
  453. 'Schizophrenic' State Planning
     
  454. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST October 5, 2010
     
  455. DPS willing to sell to charter operators
    "Legacy Charter Academy opened this fall at the site of the former Atkinson Elementary School in Detroit, demonstrating a policy shift at Detroit Public Schools to allow selling closed buildings to charter school operators."
     
  456. Taxpayers Never Get Early Retirement from Paying for Government Pensions
     
  457. A Little Good News for Kids and Taxpayers

    Taxpayers and students won a small but potentially very important victory Friday when administrative law Judge David M. Peltz found that the Legislature did not give unions the authority to sidetrack privatization of non-instructional services by school districts.


     
  458. State Officials 'Stretch' the Law to Award Special Tax Deal to Troubled Business
     
  459. Recaps of New Teachers Union Contracts

    Many school boards around the state are attempting to renegotiate contracts with their local teachers unions to contain costs. Here's a brief recap of some of the new contracts agreed to this last month.


     
  460. Michigan Schools Contract Out More Than Ever (Viewpoint)
     
  461. Consolidating School Districts Won’t Save Michigan $600 Million
     
  462. Choice and Privatization Reform for Basic Welfare Services
     
  463. Horse Race Track Says Wayne County “Perfectly Comfortable” With Controversial Land Deal
     
  464. Baltimore would end ‘step’ increases
    ""Step" increases may be erased in Baltimore public schools in favor of a contract that pays teachers partly according to students' performance but also gives them more input on working conditions."
     
  465. Weekly Roundup - Oct. 2
     
  466. Schools pay more for retirement
    "Michigan public school districts began paying higher retirement contributions for their employees this week, and may see a second jump in November as a lawsuit over retiree health payments plays out."
     
  467. GR Press Cites Mackinac Center Study on Public School District Consolidation

    A school district consolidation study done by Andrew Coulson, Mackinac Center adjunct fellow, was cited Thursday in The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  468. Bad Week for Michigan Corporate Welfare Machine

    On Thursday the plug was officially pulled on a monumentally hyped film endeavor in Allen Park called "Unity Studios." There were no press releases from the Governor's office or the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announcing the evaporation of the mirage.


     
  469. Michigan FY 2011 Budget Ignores the Problem

    A columnist in today's Detroit News cites research by Center scholars on the disparity between the wage increases in the public sector and wage decreases in the private sector in Michigan over the last decade.


     
  470. Muskegon enrollment down by 800
    "Muskegon County public school enrollment dropped by 800 students this fall compared to 2009, a decline that school officials attributed to families leaving the area to find work."
     
  471. Michigan’s 'Job Killer' Environment – An Exclusive Interview with Rick Snyder
     
  472. Bad Week for Michigan Corporate Welfare Machine

    On Thursday the plug was officially pulled on a monumentally hyped film endeavor in Allen Park called "Unity Studios." There were no press releases from the Governor's office or the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announcing the evaporation of the mirage.


     
  473. A Plan to End ‘ObamaCare’ — and the Current Health Care Status Quo
     
  474. Recaps of New Teachers Union Contracts

    Many school boards around the state are attempting to renegotiate contracts with their local teachers unions to contain costs. Here's a brief recap of some of the new contracts agreed to this last month.


     
  475. MEA: Merit Pay Works!

    The Michigan Education Association opposes bonus pay for teachers who excel at improving student performance, but supports a merit system for teachers who excel at raising money for MEA politicking.


     
  476. Media Reporting on MEGA Investigation

    WNEW-TV5 in Saginaw reports that questions have been raised regarding an "alleged preferential tax deal" involving the Michigan Economic Growth Authority and GlobalWatt Inc.


     
  477. Parents say volunteer screening is unfair
    "Individuals with a felony conviction are not allowed to be in-school volunteers in Grand Rapids Public Schools, a policy that some parents say is unfairly distancing them from their children's education."
     
  478. Republican Senator Squawks at Stimulus Spending
     
  479. Cash-Hungry State Turns to Tattoo Parlor Fees for More Money
     
  480. Life is Good for State Employees

    State employees get a 3 percent pay hike this Friday, because lawmakers in the House and Senate failed to veto it earlier this year. This will be the 11th raise they've received since 2002. In addition, individual employees are constantly getting "step" or seniority pay hikes, longevity boosts, and more.


     
  481. Bill would require schools to hold policies, not MESSA
    "Public school districts would have to be the official policyholder of any group insurance offered to their employees under legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives."
     
  482. What's Missing From the Health Care Debate
     
  483. MEGA Questions Surround GlobalWatt
     
  484. GlobalWatt Claims on Applications for MEGA Deals Disputed, Raise Questions About MEDC Scrutiny
     
  485. Legislature's Early-Out Deal: New Government Retirees 21, Taxpayers 3
     
  486. MEGA Questions Surround GlobalWatt
     
  487. GlobalWatt's the Deal?
     
  488. GlobalWatt Claims on Applications for MEGA Deals Disputed, Raise Questions About MEDC Scrutiny
     
  489. Politician Embraces Center Idea

    Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners recently wrote in an Op-Ed for The Oakland Press that he embraces the Mackinac Center's transparency initiative and wants Oakland County to post expenditures online.


     
  490. Detroiters May Lose Right to Garden

    House Bill 6458, introduced by Reps. Gabe Leland, D-Detroit, and Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville, is the latest assault on private property rights to come out of Lansing.


     
  491. Reconsidering Worker Rights

    Federal labor law isn’t supposed to provide for workers to be unionized after the company makes an agreement with a union. Union representation is supposed to be the workers' own choice.


     
  492. Big Savings With School Contracting

    The Oakland Press and Macomb Daily reported recently that school privatization of noninstructional services increased over last year.


     
  493. Analysis: We Still Need to Reform Teacher Pay
     
  494. The Slacker Mandate
     
  495. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST September 28, 2010
     
  496. Hangar 42 Issues Unresolved

    Legal problems and a family squabble continue to surround the failed film studio known as Hangar42, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  497. Court of Appeals Dismisses Forced Unionization Case Again

    The Michigan Court of Appeals for a second time dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation on behalf of three small-business owners who object to being forced into a union, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.


     
  498. How Fees Fuel Big Government
     
  499. Superintendent defends salary
    "Harbor Beach Community Schools Superintendent Ron Kraft received total compensation of more than $300,000 last year, higher than his counterparts in some of Michigan's largest public school districts."
     
  500. Sept. 26 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report
     
  501. Analysis: State Park Campground Additions a Bad Idea
     
  502. What Michigan's Next Governor Can Learn From Oakland County
     
  503. State may sell, then lease back School for the Deaf site
    "Alumni and the deaf community have mixed feelings about selling the current site of the Michigan School for the Deaf to a private investor who would build a new school and lease it back to the institution, The Flint Journal reported."
     
  504. Weekly Roundup - Sept. 25
     
  505. $300k Superintendent Defends His Compensation
     
  506. State Park Campground Additions a Bad Idea

    Michigan State Parks officials often complain that there is insufficient revenue to adequately operate and maintain the system. The legislative response to the problem? Add more revenue-losing rustic campgrounds to the State Park system.


     
  507. Sept. 24 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just their legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills of the week.


     
  508. Court Rules Again for Zombie Child Care Agency
     
  509. Media Groups Aims to Stop ‘Bailout’ of Journalism
     
  510. Court’s inaction allows illegal stealth unionization to continue
     
  511. Panel would study service consolidation
    "The state would create a new panel to make recommendations on consolidating public school services if legislation discussed Thursday by the House Education Committee is adopted."
     
  512. Michigan Court of Appeals’ Second Terse Dismissal of Day Care Union Suit Again Fails to Address Core Legal Questions
     
  513. Ain't No Party Like a Chrysler Party

    Last night, Channel 2 News in Detroit busted a group of about half a dozen workers at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant drinking and smoking pot during their lunch break. Do we really need TV cameras to prevent UAW workers from getting buzzed on their lunch breaks?


     
  514. We Still Need to Reform Teacher Pay

    A study released this week shows that merit pay didn't improve test scores for students in Nashville, Tenn. While they're no panacea for all that ails public schools, merit pay and other differential pay systems are improvements over the "single salary schedule" — the method by which nearly every school in the country pays its teachers.


     
  515. A Chance at Redemption: How the UAW Can Learn From the Past

    The UAW can no longer defend improper behavior.


     
  516. Analysis: Broken Windows on Display in Michigan Senate Finance Committee
     
  517. Study: Bonus pay didn’t improve student performance
    "A recent Vanderbilt University study concluded that performance-based pay for teachers did not significantly increase student achievement but also did not create ill will among educators."
     
  518. The 600-Student District With the $300k Superintendent
     
  519. Broken Windows on Display in Michigan Senate Finance Committee

    Mark Adler, a lobbyist for the Michigan Production Alliance, and Carrie Jones, the director of the Michigan Film Office, defended the state's film subsidy program in a Senate Finance Committee meeting today. To do so they employed a long-recognized economic fallacy, the "Broken Window" theory, which only considers economic activity that is "seen" while ignoring unseen economic costs.


     
  520. More Taxpayer Money for Social Engineering

    The ruling class in Washington and Lansing has determined that for our own good motorists should be driving electric cars.


     
  521. Legislators Realizing Center Scholars Were Correct

    Michigan lawmakers are considering a package of bills that would reverse an anti-competitive energy policy that Mackinac Center scholars warned about in a study more than two years ago, according to The Detroit News.


     
  522. Stimulus Blows Open Billion-Dollar State Budget Hole, 'Guaranteed Catastrophe'
     
  523. Would Tea Partiers Favor Wealth Redistribution Without the Bureaucracy?
     
  524. Clio, intermediate district at odds over GenNET
    The Clio School District has opted out of GenNET, the Genessee Intermediate School District’s countywide technology and communications program, saying it questions the program’s finances and has found a less expensive alternative, according to The Flint Journal.
     
  525. Would Tea Partiers Favor Wealth Redistribution Without the Bureaucracy?

    The Gongwer Michigan Report (subscription required) recently did a story on the status of welfare programs today compared to past recessions. The Mackinac Center's Jack McHugh was quoted in the piece, and here he "revises and extends" his remarks to explain that welfare doesn't just redistribute wealth, but imposes bureaucratic micromanagement on the lives of recipients. Further, he believes that most Americans, including Tea Partiers, may object more to the destructive effects of this futile micromanagement than to some level of wealth redistribution.


     
  526. Teacher retirements may not be helping newcomers
    "Metro Detroit public school districts are bypassing entry-level teacher applicants in favor of hiring experienced educators to fill jobs left open by retirees.
     
  527. Virtual Learning Forum
     
  528. Michigan School Privatization Up 8 Percent
     
  529. Cost to Replace Lost Jobs with Michigan Film Subsidies: $39.4 Billion
     
  530. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST September 21, 2010
     
  531. Littmann: How to Fix Michigan

    David Littmann, senior economist, was a guest on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR AM760 today. The interview was recorded Friday in Grand Rapids, where Littmann spoke at the West Michigan Policy Forum. President Joe Lehman spoke at the same conference Thursday.


     
  532. May elections will cost schools more
    "If the Hazel Park and Ferndale public school districts continue to hold elections in May rather than November, their costs are likely to increase from 60 to 100 percent."
     
  533. Tourism Industry Declined to Support Pure Michigan
     
  534. Sept. 20 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report
     
  535. Students use public transit
    "Suttons Bay Public Schools students are riding public transit buses to school this year, a yearlong trial that will become permanent if successful."
     
  536. National Media and the Stealth Unionization Case
     
  537. Will Troy's "Distracted Driving" Crackdown Lead to "Distracted Policing"?
     
  538. Weekly Roundup - Sept. 18
     
  539. Schools would become senior housing
    "The city of Eastpointe would convert two school buildings into senior housing if it qualifies for $490,000 in federal money to help pay for the project."
     
  540. Study Verifies What Center Analysts Have Known All Along Regarding Failure of Film Subsidies

    The Detroit Free Press reports today that Michigan's film subsidy program is "a big loser for Michigan taxpayers," according to a new Senate Fiscal Agency Report.


     
  541. Court of Appeals Must Explain Itself

    The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Michigan Court of Appeals must explain why it rejected a lawsuit regarding the forced unionization of small-business owners, according to the Detroit Free Press.


     
  542. “…Funny Numbers They Pull Out of Their Backside”
     
  543. Sept. 17 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just their legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills of the week.


     
  544. The Tax Hiker's Shopping Guide
     
  545. ‘Lab school’ would offer teacher training
    "Ann Arbor Public Schools is developing a year-round, extended-day school that also will serve as a community center for local families."
     
  546. Escape Is Never the Safest Path
     
  547. Bloated Public Sector Hurts Job Growth

    Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman addressed the disparity in benefits between the private and public sectors in Michigan as a main reason for the state's economic turmoil at the West Michigan Policy Forum Thursday, according to the West Michigan Business Review.


     
  548. Issues And Ideas Forum Live Video
     
  549. Experts Say State Battery-Plant Subsidy Is a “Risky Venture”
     
  550. East Grand Rapids limits choice enrollment
    "East Grand Rapids Public Schools accepted fewer schools-of-choice students this year, reflecting a priority on smaller class size and a belief that students who attend schools there should live in the district."
     
  551. Issues & Ideas Forum, Sept. 16, 2010
     
  552. Michigan Supreme Court Votes Unanimously to Require Michigan Court of Appeals to Explain Its Rejection of Day Care Unionization Lawsuit
     
  553. Lawsuit Over Forced Unionization Gets Green Light

    A federal district judge in Grand Rapids has ruled that a class action lawsuit brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation aimed at ending the forced unionization of small-business owners can proceed, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  554. Michigan School Privatization Up 8 Percent

    WKZO AM590 in Kalamazoo and WSJM AM1400 in Lansing both report that privatization of support services in Michigan public schools is up 8 percent over last year.


     
  555. Bay City schools could move election
    "Bay City Public Schools could save $40,000 annually by changing the date of school board elections."
     
  556. Michigan Governor Touts Jobs Costing Taxpayers $113,000 Each
     
  557. Analysis: Consolidating School Districts Won’t Save Michigan $600 Million
     
  558. Consolidating School Districts Won’t Save Michigan $600 Million
     
  559. 'The Star-Spangled Banner': A Key to My Past
     
  560. EduJobs Bill a "Gift to Unions"
     
  561. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST September 14, 2010
     
  562. More schools than ever privatizing services
    "An increasing number of Michigan public schools are outsourcing noninstructional services."
     
  563. 'The Star-Spangled Banner': A Key to My Past

    A direct descendant of Francis Scott Key on "The Star Spangled Banner."


     
  564. 'Jobs' Fund: More Funds Than Jobs?

    A Lansing company that received $2 million in state subsidies three years ago is hoping to expand from 12 employees to 14, according to the Lansing State Journal.


     
  565. Grand Rapids Superintendent Wants to Use "EduJobs" Bailout Money for Health Insurance
     
  566. Analysis: Detroit Public Schools Students Bear the Pain of Limited Educational Opportunities

    A freshman at a Detroit high school experienced a disturbing first day: Two fellow students were shot on their way home from school Tuesday. Not surprisingly, he doesn't want to return to the school, but the state has effectively limited his chances of finding a better and safer learning environment.


     
  567. ‘Edujobs’ rules leave out many charter teachers
    "Michigan charter public schools are being punished by "edujobs" rules that disallow spending on teachers hired through private management companies."
     
  568. The President's $50 Billion Planes, Trains and Automobiles Plan: Is It Good Public Policy
     
  569. Does Michigan Adding Jobs in July Redeem the Granholm Record?
     
  570. Special education numbers down
    "The number of students classified as learning-disabled is on a downward trend nationally, as is the number of special education students overall, but experts disagree about the reasons why."
     
  571. Weekly Roundup - September 11
     
  572. Storm Front

    If anyone in Lansing is serious about helping Detroit, this would be a good time for a bill that would suspend collective bargaining for government employees in the city, so that Detroit's leadership can make the tough choices and make the most of the resources it has.


     
  573. Flint Transit Manager: MichCapCon Story 'Accurate'

    The director of Flint's Mass Transit Authority disagrees with a recent Michigan Capitol Confidential analysis that shows that cities that buy zero-emission or hybrid buses pay too much money for any resulting environmental benefit, but still calls the story "accurate," according to The Flint Journal.


     
  574. Center Analysts Cited on Job Growth, Road Construction

    Skepticism surrounds a recent report from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that claims its "21st Century Jobs Fund" helped "save or retain" 20,000 jobs in the last five years, according to WOOD-TV8 in Grand Rapids.


     
  575. Detroit Public Schools Students Bear the Pain of Limited Educational Opportunities

    A freshman at a Detroit high school experienced a disturbing first day: Two fellow students were shot on their way home from school Tuesday. Not surprisingly, he doesn't want to return to the school, but the state has effectively limited his chances of finding a better and safer learning environment.


     
  576. Michigan Schools Contract Out More Than Ever
     
  577. Michigan Charter Schools Host ‘Meet the Candidate’ Nights
     
  578. Analysis: Cool Cities Are Not So Cool When You Don't Have a Job
     
  579. Public School Support Service Privatization Increases 8.0 Percent in Michigan
     
  580. Thirty Percent of Shelby Twp. Police Salaries Exceed $90k
     
  581. School Aid Fund surplus sent to community colleges
    "Patching part of a hole in the state budget, lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm officially moved $208 million out of the School Aid Fund to use for community colleges, freeing up general fund money for other uses."
     
  582. State Budget Deal Kicks Can Down the Road to New Guys

    The fiscal 2011 budget appears done. It contains no systemic reforms or program reductions. Meanwhile, with the end of federal stimulus subsidies, revenue projections for the following fiscal year fall off a cliff.


     
  583. Michigan Public School Health Insurance Costs Soar Above National Trends
     
  584. Green Buses Driving Costs Higher
     
  585. Districts choose improvement plans
    "Michigan's lowest-performing public schools are implementing programs ranging from tutoring to greater teacher communication as they begin spending federal funds intended to improve student achievement."
     
  586. Cool Cities Are Not So Cool When You Don't Have a Job

    Urban planning efforts hurt the little guy while pursuing elitist policies.


     
  587. Grand Rapids Press Recognizes Importance of Right-to-Work in Michigan's Future

    Last Sunday, The Grand Rapids Press released a new study on the likely effects of a right-to-work law on Michigan’s economy as part of its ongoing “Michigan 10.0” series.


     
  588. Living Here in Allentown
     
  589. Public Payrolls and Political Workers
     
  590. School invests in solar
    "Solar panels are expected to produce two-thirds of the electricity needed to operate the Upland Hills School complex this year."
     
  591. Michigan Public School Health Insurance Costs Soar Above National Trends

    A new annual survey of health insurance shows a slowdown in rising costs of premiums, yet in Michigan's public schools, premiums are skyrocketing.


     
  592. Plagiarism, Credibility Issues for MSU Study

    A recent Michigan State University study about school consolidation should be ignored both because of plagiarism issues and because its methodology is flawed, according to an Op-Ed by Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek in Sunday's Lansing State Journal.


     
  593. Districts bargain raises, insurance
    "Teachers in Grand Haven and Alpena public schools will receive pay raises while switching insurance plans under new contracts in each district."
     
  594. Professor says consolidation study misapplied his work
    "A Syracuse University professor said Friday that he would not endorse the findings of a school consolidation study in Michigan because his original research was "misapplied.""
     
  595. The School Employee Concession Myth
     
  596. The Sales Tax and Lottery Myth
     
  597. The Unstable Funding Myth
     
  598. Common School Funding Myths
     
  599. Main Source for MSU School Consolidation Study Says His Data Was Misapplied
     
  600. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST September 7, 2010
     
  601. Does Michigan Need a New Jersey Tax System?
     
  602. Joe Lehman and David Littmann to Speak at West Michigan Policy Forum
     
  603. Public Employees Pay Least Toward Their Health Insurance
     
  604. Studying Right to Work

    A new poll shows 51 percent of likely voters in Michigan support right-to-work.


     
  605. Worth the Wait?

    In an article on a proposed three-day review period for legislation, The Grand Rapids Press cites Center Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh.


     
  606. Licensing Requirements Help Trade Associations More Than Consumers

    House Bill 6374 would greatly increase the government control of hundreds of professions.


     
  607. Sept. 3 Michigan Legislature Report

    There were no votes this week, so this report instead contains several newly introduced bills of interest instead:

    House Bill 6398 (Authorize county gas tax)
    Introduced by Rep. Gabe Leland (D) on August 23, 2010, to give counties the power to impose a 3 cents per gallon motor fuel tax.
     
  608. Right-to-Work: Looking Back, Moving Forward
     
  609. Analysis: Republican Vows — Seven Lean Years Later
     
  610. Budget Savings Drained and Raises Continue at Alpena Schools
     
  611. 'The Tea Party' Barred From November Ballot
     
  612. Teachers union sues Detroit Public Schools
    "The Detroit teachers union claims in a new lawsuit that it should have played a bigger role in assigning teachers to the district's worst schools this year."
     
  613. Holland wants legal opinion on rate hike
    "Facing a 27 percent rate hike for teacher health insurance, the Holland Board of Education has asked state Attorney General Mike Cox to issue a ruling on whether it has to honor a previous employee contract while a new one is being negotiated."
     
  614. Will the Tea Party Fade if Republicans Win It All?
     
  615. Senator Says MEDC Should Stop Believing Its Own Press Releases
     
  616. Taking Stimulus Dollars Isn’t Hypocritical
     
  617. Free Press Column Riffs on The MC

    A recent blog post by James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst, appears to be the impetus for a column in today's Detroit Free Press about job creation in Michigan.


     
  618. Plagiarism Investigation Continues at MSU

    A plagiarism investigation of a Michigan State University professor is ongoing, according to The State News.


     
  619. Charter schools begin to specialize
    "An aviation school in Michigan is one example of a new generation of public charter schools designed to serve niche audiences."
     
  620. Replacing Brian Calley
     
  621. Legislation needed to address MEGA audit findings
     
  622. Improve your search with these tips
     
  623. Republican Vows — Seven Lean Years Later

    A PR stunt a few years back shows how "economic development" programs are really political development programs.


     
  624. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST August 31, 2010
     
  625. 10-year-old can't enroll in Windsor high school
    "A 10-year-old Windsor boy who completed part of his education in Michigan is being denied entry to public high school in Windsor even though he's completed the eighth-grade curriculum."
     
  626. Analysis: Phony 'Sandbox Party' Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Lobby for More Goverment Spending
     
  627. Survey Says Tea Party and GOP Bonds are Weakening
     
  628. Survey Says Tea Party and GOP Bonds Are Weakening
     
  629. The 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry: A March to Liberty
     
  630. Right-to-Work Is Right for Michigan

    Radio host Ron Jolly of WTCM recently wrote about right-to-work protections for employees in the Traverse City Business News, explaining that making Michigan a right-to-work state would lure more job creators to the state while allowing unions to continue operating and organizing.


     
  631. Principal sees potential in Facebook
    "Principal John Hoving is using Facebook as a way to promote Bay City All Saints Central School as well as to head off possible cyber bullying."
     
  632. Lawmakers Demand Time to Read Bills Before Voting on Them
     
  633. Analysis: Merit Pay in Mt. Clemens?
     
  634. Brian Calley - Who Is This Guy?
     
  635. Students featured in reality show
    "Royal Oak Public Schools students will be featured in an Oct. 12 episode of MTV's "If You Really Knew Me," a cable television program that the producer describes as "students trying to be accepted for who they are.""
     
  636. Michigan is Tops for Unemployment, Near Bottom for Stimulus Help
     
  637. Weekly Roundup - August 28
     
  638. Schools receive automatic ‘A’ for reporting
    "Public schools in Michigan were offered an automatic "A" on part of their annual state report card this year, a one-time arrangement that may have spared some from being unaccredited."
     
  639. Phony 'Sandbox Party' Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Lobby for More Goverment Spending

    A government entity that received $14.6 million of taxpayer money in the current state budget organized a publicity stunt to lobby for more government spending, called the "First Ever Sandbox Party Convention" in East Lansing.


     
  640. It Would Be a Living...

    New non-union auto jobs in right-to-work Mississippi pay $15 an hour and even in a tough economy they are relatively easy to find.


     
  641. Aug. 27 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just their legislators voted on the most important and interesting bills of the week.
    House Bill 5872, Spend federal "Edujobs" stimulus money, passed in the House (90 to 14)
    To authorize spending $312 million granted to Michigan's school budget by the "Edujobs" portion of the federal "Stimulus 2." 


     
  642. Retirement spree means no DPS layoffs
    "More than 1,000 teacher retirements will allow Detroit Public Schools to recall all teachers from layoff and hire up to 300 more to fill staffing gaps."
     
  643. State Gives Failing Schools Perfect Grades for Paperwork
     
  644. Analysis: Horse Racing Subsidies Fail to Win, Place or Show
     
  645. Tea Partiers, Conventions, Politicians and Real Change

    Tea Partiers are expected to play a big role at the Michigan Republican convention Saturday, but they cannot change the political establishment by playing nice with it.


     
  646. Horse Racing Subsidies Fail to Win, Place or Show

    If the state's political establishment thinks Michigan's adult population should have access to gambling, then it should remove the obstacles to other forms, not use that as an excuse to redistribute taxpayer dollars to a handful of players in a politically favored one.


     
  647. July Was a Good Month for Michigan

    Last week's state-by-state employment release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Michigan led the nation in job growth from June to July. The state gained an estimated 27,800 jobs in the month.


     
  648. Merit Pay in Mt. Clemens?

    A new union contract in Mt. Clemens ties satisfactory teacher evaluations to pay raises. To be sure, this represents a move towards breaking from the assembly line mentality of the single salary schedule in favor of a compensation model based in part on performance. But this is a very small baby step, and it's unlikely to have any impact on raising student achievement.


     
  649. Littmann: UAW in a 'Time Warp'

    A push by the UAW to get back concessions it gave up when Chrysler and GM declared bankruptcy leaves the union stuck in a "time warp," Senior Economist David Littmann told Bloomberg today.


     
  650. Analysis: This Time It’s Liquor Distribution
     
  651. Restaurants Say Smoking Ban Leaves Sales Cold
     
  652. Union: Federal money should end privatization
    "Inland Lakes Schools is considering hiring a private firm to provide custodial services as a way to save money, but a union representative says that new federal funding makes such a move unnecessary."
     
  653. Flight Fight
     
  654. Comstock Public Schools Shows Taxpayers the Money
     
  655. Disaster Losses From Global Warming Debunked

    "Climate campaigners" should hold off on making sweeping generalizations regarding global warming.


     
  656. Snyder the Tax Cutter?

    If Rick Snyder really wants conservatives and tea party activists in his corner and energized, and if he really wants to reinvent Michigan next January, the next step will be dust off one of his own position papers and show some leadership on business tax relief.


     
  657. State Says Schools in "Distress" Are Making "Adequate Yearly Progress"
     
  658. Community colleges want to offer baccalaureates
    "The Michigan Community College Association predicts it will win a legislative battle this week over allowing community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in specific areas."
     
  659. Analysis: Michigan Legislature No Slouch at Fiscal Malpractice
     
  660. ‘Spending Revolt’ Bus Tour Comes to Michigan
     
  661. This Time It’s Liquor Distribution

    It's hard to imagine how the current state liquor distribution system could be made worse, but according to MIRS News, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has discovered a way. She apparently wants to make this partial monopoly into a complete one, selling the lucrative privilege to just one outfit. 


     
  662. Plagiarism at MSU? You Decide.

    Take a look at the MSU study and decide whether this should be considered plagiarism or not.


     
  663. ...And a Few More Questions for Virg

    Mayor Bernero, last week during an interview with Paul W. Smith, you made the case that as governor you would have a better chance of developing good working relationships with government employee unions based on your experience as mayor of Lansing.


     
  664. Environmentalism Is a Threat to Liberty

    Most environmentalists would not consider themselves socialists, much less communists, but the policies they support in the name of saving the planet almost always sacrifice individual liberty for central government control.


     
  665. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST August 24, 2010
     
  666. MSU Investigates School Consolidation Study
    "Michigan State University is investigating concerns raised by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that some material in a study of school consolidation may have been plagiarized."
     
  667. 2010 Awards

    In 2010, the Mackinac Center garnered multiple national awards for outstanding videos and an innovative project.


     
  668. Michigan Legislature No Slouch at Fiscal Malpractice

    The Michigan Legislature may be on the verge of passing some of gimmicks to deceive taxpayers (and bond buyers) about the magnitude of the state's spending and liabilities.


     
  669. Schools Start to Comply With Transparency Law

    Just more than half of the public school districts in Michigan are complying with a new state law aimed at providing better transparency of how tax dollars are spent.


     
  670. State, National Media Report on Possible Plagiarism in MSU School Consolidation Study

    State and national media are continuing to report that a school consolidation study commissioned by Booth Newspapers appears to include plagiarism.


     
  671. About half of districts posting financial data
    "About half of Michigan's public school districts have complied with a new law requiring them to post financial data online, while about 31 percent have not."
     
  672. Mysterious ‘The Tea Party,’ Under Investigation and Going to Court
     
  673. A Lawyer Offering Few Details is Face of Mysterious ‘The Tea Party’
     
  674. Analysis: Plagiarism, Flawed MSU Studies, and the People vs. the Ruling Class

    Alleged plagiarism in a study by an MSU scholar matters more than just as a violation of academic standards. The deeply flawed study wildly exaggerates the amount that could be saved by consolidating Michigan school districts, which will divert attention from the real solution to funding problems in Michigan public schools — scaling back outsized employee compensation and benefits. This is the second time in the last year that a flawed study was produced by an MSU professor that serves the interests of government employees and their unions.


     
  675. Public Salary Database Puts Political Work of State Employee Under Scrutiny
     
  676. Another Year of Hollow School “Progress” Reports
     
  677. DPS ordered to bring back union guards
    "A Wayne Circuit Court judge has ruled that Detroit Public Schools must return unionized security guards to their jobs rather than follow through with its contract with a private security firm."
     
  678. Cities, Fiscal Health and Union Contracts
     
  679. Owner of "One Dollar" Race Track Property Was Not Sent Tax Bills for Two Years
     
  680. Performance pay in Mount Clemens
    "Mount Clemens Community School District teachers have ratified a four-year contract that partially ties pay hikes to job performance."
     
  681. Weekly Roundup - August 21
     
  682. Plagiarism, Flawed MSU Studies, and the People vs. the Ruling Class

    Alleged plagiarism in a study by an MSU scholar matters more than just as a violation of academic standards. The deeply flawed study wildly exaggerates the amount that could be saved by consolidating Michigan school districts, which will divert attention from the real solution to funding problems in Michigan public schools — scaling back outsized employee compensation and benefits. This is the second time in the last year that a flawed study was produced by an MSU professor that serves the interests of government employees and their unions.


     
  683. Another Question for Snyder

    Why do you think morale is so low among unionized government employees?


     
  684. Questionable MSU Scholarship Hurts Policy Debate

    As revealed by the Mackinac Center on Wednesday, a school consolidation study by Michigan State University's Education Policy Center senior scholar Sharif M. Shakrani contained what appeared to be unattributed material (about 800 words) lifted from work that was not his own. The report received wide press coverage, yet it is the third study of questionable quality in 20 months from MSU-affiliated researchers, a pattern that has damaged the public policy debate in Michigan.


     
  685. Aug. 20 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  686. Pay Attention to Candidates' Stance on Subsidies

    When considering which candidates to vote for in November — regardless of the office — be sure to examine their stance on Michigan's growing empire of economic development programs, which selectively hand out subsidies and tax favors to politically favored industries and firms.


     
  687. MSU: 'Full Year' to Investigate Plagiarism Issue

    Michigan State University officials said Thursday it could take "a full year" to review 13 pages in a school consolidation study that Mackinac Center analysts believe contain large amounts of plagiarized text, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  688. Granholm: Give surplus to community colleges
    "Surplus money in the 2011 school aid fund would go to community colleges as part of a larger proposal by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to fill holes in the state budget this year and next."
     
  689. PowerPoint Postscript
     
  690. Experts Analyze the Trouble With Plagiarism
     
  691. MSU Investigating Charges of Researcher Plagiarism
     
  692. Mona Shores Teacher Contract Summary
     
  693. BREAKING NEWS: Oakland County Clerk claims forged candidate filing from “fake” Tea Party
     
  694. MSU Consolidation Study Seriously Flawed

    A new Michigan State University report on school consolidation appears to contain a substantial amount of plagiarized material, as reported by the Mackinac Center on Aug. 18. Diligent reviewers shouldn't stop there, however, because the study's methodology is also deeply flawed. Even if one believes that all districts would save money through consolidation, the conclusion that they could save $612 million is wildly exaggerated.


     
  695. Center Analyst Alerts Grand Rapids Press to Possible Plagiarism in MSU Study on Which it Reported

    The Grand Rapids Press is reporting that a Mackinac Center analyst has raised concerns about potential plagiarism in a Michigan State University professor's study about school consolidation.


     
  696. FOIA Lawsuit Should Continue

    The death of a the man who filed a lawsuit seeking copies of e-mails sent among union leaders on government-owned computers in Howell Public Schools should not mean an end to the case supporters say, according to The Detroit News.


     
  697. Michigan Film Subsidy Program Shortcomings

    An Op-Ed by Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, in today's Detroit Free Press highlights the failures and costs of Michigan's film subsidy program.


     
  698. Montessori program gains charter status
    "Leelanau Montessori will become a public charter school this fall, authorized by Suttons Bay Public Schools and located at Suttons Bay Elementary School."
     
  699. Wayland Schools Show Taxpayers the Money
     
  700. Choice and Privatization Reform for Basic Welfare Services
     
  701. Plagiarism in MSU Study?

    A recent study commissioned by Booth Newspapers and conducted by Michigan State University's Education Policy Center concludes that Michigan would save $612 million by consolidating school districts at the county level. While the methodology remains highly suspect, the study suffers from a far greater problem: It appears to contain significant amounts of plagiarized material.


     
  702. Michael LaFaive, Ralph Nader: Separated at Birth?

    When it comes to targeted government "economic development" programs, Ralph Nader and Michael LaFaive agree.


     
  703. Environmentalists Missing in Action on Protecting Great Lakes From Wind Farms

    The Great Lakes are a national treasure and are too important to Michigan to sacrifice to environmental and political ideology. Locating windmills in the Great Lakes is a high-risk venture. It is time for the state to do its job and ensure the Great Lakes are protected.


     
  704. Government Press Release Journalism
     
  705. City's 'Free Land' Offer Not Quite a Modern 'Homestead Act'

    The Muskegon Chronicle is reporting a new twist on Michigan's growing corporate welfare empire: The coastal city is offering to give free land to job providers who occupy space in a pair of government-owned industrial parks.


     
  706. Washtenaw GOP Delegate Dispute About Ruth Johnson, Not Ron Weiser
     
  707. Analysis: Low-Carbon Fuel Standard a Gift to Ethanol Lobby
     
  708. Snyder Talks Up 'Fixing Michigan' in Chelsea
     
  709. Nearly 19,000 apply for 71 teacher jobs
    "Chippewa Valley Schools received nearly 19,000 applications for 71 teaching jobs it recently posted."
     
  710. Center Analyst: MSU School Consolidation Study Appears to Contain Plagiarized Material

    A school consolidation study published by Michigan State University's Education Policy Center appears to contain plagiarized material.


     
  711. Possible Plagiarism in MSU/Newspaper Report on School Consolidation

    A school consolidation study done by Michigan State University's Education Policy Center received significant media coverage around the state. It also appears to have had portions of it plagiarized, according to Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek.


     
  712. 'Edujobs' Will Hurt Public Schools

    The public school bailout bill, doling out $318 million to Michigan, will ultimately do more harm than good.


     
  713. School Consolidation Is No ‘Silver Bullet’
     
  714. 'Bail Out Irresponsible Unions Act' Proposal Getting 11th Hour Push in Congress
     
  715. Low-Carbon Fuel Standard a Gift to Ethanol Lobby
     
  716. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST August 17, 2010
     
  717. Consolidation vs. cooperation
    "Consolidation of public school districts as a way to save money is on the front burner again in Michigan, but many districts say they're already saving cash by sharing services."
     
  718. 'Bail Out Irresponsible Unions Act' Proposal Getting 11th Hour Push in Congress

    Unions have begun a full-court lobbying press to get a bill that would bail out multi-employer union pension funds passed this year.


     
  719. The Defendants Plead Guilty, Your Honor

    In two separate cases over the last month, two Michigan union officials pled guilty to violations of federal law.


     
  720. The Secret of Economic Growth in Michigan

    In a recent radio interview with Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative Director Michael LaFaive, radio host Tony Conley stated that we should be looking at what Texas and North Carolina are doing to foster economic development. Any benchmarking attempt should first start with the right states, but North Carolina isn't one of them.


     
  721. Center Analysts at Heart of School Funding Issues

    School spending — an area of expertise for Mackinac Center analysts — continues to dominate the headlines.


     
  722. MEDC-Endorsed Bet on Horse Track Now Under Investigation by Wayne Co.
     
  723. Los Angeles Times rates city teachers
    "The Los Angeles Times is publishing an independent analysis of the best and worst teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District using a "value-added" approach that shows wide variation in teacher effectiveness."
     
  724. The Public Employee Union Problem
     
  725. "Edujobs" Fact Check, Part II
     
  726. Bill would facilitate tribal language courses
    "The Michigan Senate agreed unanimously that an individual who has mastered a Native American tribal language does not have to be certified by the state before teaching that language in a public school classroom."
     
  727. Bernero or Snyder: Which Way Could the Public Policy Winds Blow?
     
  728. Are Michigan Voters Really Ready to Pay Higher Taxes?
     
  729. College comes early for home-schoolers
    "A number of home-schooled students nationally enter college well before the typical age."
     
  730. Weekly Roundup - August 14
     
  731. Guide Someone Hunting on National Forest Land and You Could be Breaking the Law

    The U.S. Forest Service has issued new regulations regarding guiding and outfitting on national forest lands. If you plan to guide someone in the fall bear season and you have not made application for a permit, you may be out of luck as the application deadline was July 1.


     
  732. Aug. 13 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    The Senate met one day this week and passed several non-controversial measures with unanimous votes. The House had one session scheduled but there was no quorum and no votes were taken.


     
  733. Asking the Questions Others Won't

    Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey has written open letters to the two main gubernatorial candidates — Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder — in attempt to get clarification of their views on a variety of labor and other issues.


     
  734. Racetrack Buys Property From Wayne Co. Taxpayers for $1 and Sells It for $179K
     
  735. Interest payments eat into revenue
    "Garden City Public Schools will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest this year as it borrows up to $10 million to smooth cash flow."
     
  736. An Open Letter to Rick Snyder
     
  737. New Bill Seeks to Rein in FCC Regulatory Authority
     
  738. This Economic Engine Needs a Tune-up

    Michigan's  business, labor and regulatory climate must change if the state's economy is going to recover, Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, explained today on "The Tony Conley Show" on WILS 1320AM in Lansing.


     
  739. Explaining Why Public Schools Are 'Broke'

    Michigan Public Radio recently turned to Education Policy Director Mike Van Beek to explain some of the issues surrounding funding for Michigan's public schools, which some seem to constantly claim are underfunded, despite evidence to the contrary.


     
  740. "Edujobs" Fact Check, Part II

    Michigan's share of the loot from the "edujobs" bill passed by Congress this week will be about $310 million. We're told  that this will "save" 4,700 teacher jobs in Michigan. That's highly unlikely, for a couple of reasons.


     
  741. Student loans surpass credit card debt
    For the first time, Americans owe more in student loans than they do in credit card debt.
     
  742. Lawmaker Lobbies Against Lobbyist
     
  743. An Open Letter to Virg Bernero
     
  744. 'EduJobs' Fact Check
     
  745. 'Laid Off Teachers' a Fiction

    President Obama, Gov. Granholm and much of the political class are misleading the public by leaving out key information when they say that the $26 billion state budgets bailout bill signed into law yesterday will reverse "thousands of teacher layoffs."


     
  746. Public Sector Still Doing All Right

    Special interest groups whose members' compensation comes from tax dollars are afraid that Michigan's economic crisis will impact their paychecks. They're right to be concerned since there is less private money left to pay generous public-sector salaries and benefits.


     
  747. 'EduJobs' Fact Check

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Debbie Stabenow were quick to praise the new "edujobs" bill passed by Congress as part of a "stimulus II" package. The $310 million is said to "save" 4,700 teacher jobs. That's unlikely. What is likely is that the public school bureaucracy merely gets another shot in the arm.


     
  748. Peters Votes for $26 Billion Spending Bill
     
  749. New Spending Fuels Status Quo
     
  750. Riverview restores busing
    "Reducing the supply budget and correcting a budget error will allow Riverview Community Schools to restore elementary and middle school transportation."
     
  751. Analysis: Michigan Primaries a Tea Party Failure?
     
  752. The Foundation Allowance Myth
     
  753. New Report Misses the Mark on Higher Education

    A new report by the Michigan League for Human Services bemoans the lack of tax money going to higher education. But the authors give a skewed view of appropriations, get some facts wrong, and completely miss the 800-pound gorilla of higher education: that increasing costs drive tuition increases.


     
  754. Teachers Should Pay Fair Share of Health Care

    Detroit Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson says Michigan needs the money that will come from the so-called 'edujobs' bill, but the state must also tackle the issue of school spending reform.


     
  755. Michigan Primaries a Tea Party Failure?

    A number of pundits here and nationally have pointed to recent primary results as evidence that the Tea Party movement is ineffective or a failure. These analyses are flawed, because they are based on a conventional Republican vs. Democrat electoral politics worldview. This misses the Tea Party’s rejection of the entire ruling class establishment, including the major political parties as currently constituted.
     

  756. Wind Power Will Blow Household Budgets

    Michigan residents can expect to pay significantly higher energy bills in the future due in large part to state law that requires that 10 percent of electricity sales in the state come from renewable sources, such as wind.


     
  757. Schools Starting to Post Salary Details
     
  758. MEGA Careful?
     
  759. Our Economics Knowledge Deficit
     
  760. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST August 10, 2010
     
  761. School leaders: MESSA facing more competition
    "The number of school districts moving out of its insurance plans is forcing the Michigan Education Special Services Association to offer more competitive pricing and varied health plans."
     
  762. More MEA Obfuscation

    The Michigan Education Association continues its perpetual campaign to obfuscate the facts about teacher pay.


     
  763. Governor, DHS Disagree on Small-Business Owners They Forced Into Union

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office and the Department of Human Services appear to be at odds over the classification of some 40,000 small-business owners who were forced into a union.


     
  764. Impure Michigan

    A recent USA Today story trumpets the alleged successes of taxpayer-subsidized state tourism programs, although it doesn't account for the cost of the programs and what could have been done with that money had it been left in the pockets of those who earned it.


     
  765. Auditor General Uncovers Numerous Troubles with Dept. of Community Health
     
  766. St. Joseph Teacher Contract Summary
     
  767. College president wants out of MPSERS
    "Washtenaw Community College could save about $1 million a year by removing 1,100 part-time employees from the payroll and rehiring them as contract employees, an idea that President Larry Whitworth has recommended to the board of trustees."
     
  768. MEA Lawsuit on Retiree Health Benefits Misguided
     
  769. Oakland County Gives Local Governments Something to Shoot For
     
  770. The Unequal Funding Myth
     
  771. Proposal: Turn high school into university center
    "Howell Public Schools continues to discuss the future of its $70 million Parker Campus high school; one new proposal is to turn the property into a central site for a number of college and university programs."
     
  772. Pelosi Economics
     
  773. FBI to review Pontiac finances
    "The FBI picked up a cartload of financial records from the Pontiac School District Wednesday almost immediately after the school board requested the agency to review the district's handling of accounts."
     
  774. Weekly Roundup - August 7
     
  775. The Six Figure Cops of Sterling Heights
     
  776. Governor's Role in Forced Unionization Case

    Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, was a guest on "The Frank Beckmann Show" on WJR 760AM this morning, discussing recent findings that point directly to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's role in the forced unionization of more than 40,000 small-business owners.


     
  777. Mail Call

    CNN is reporting that the U.S. Postal Service lost $3.5 billion in its most recent quarter. Are there alternatives? This Current Comment from August 2007 — the most popular item on the Mackinac Center's website that year — explores that issue.


     
  778. Aug. 6 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

    The Legislature did not meet this week. Instead of votes, this report contains several newly introduced bills of interest.


     
  779. Grantees say they’ll spend money in Michigan
    "Two education reform groups that stand to receive a combined $48 million in federal "i3" innovation grants intend to spend part of their money in Michigan."
     
  780. Jackson Activist Asks Third-Party Tea Party ‘Interloper’ to ‘Cease and Desist’
     
  781. Breaking News: Complaint Filed Against Hangar42 Principals

    The Mackinac Center has obtained a copy of a lawsuit today filed by the attorney for 11 contractors hired to perform work on a building now known as Hangar42. You can read the complaint by clicking here.
     

  782. Michigan Capitol Confidential Coverage Goes National

    Michigan Capitol Confidential coverage of links between the Oakland County Democratic Party and mysterious "Tea Party" candidates has drawn national attention.


     
  783. A Rocking Good Time

    MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals.


     
  784. Mackinac Center Video: Gov. Granholm Boasts of Role in Forced Unionization of Home Day Care Workers
     
  785. Center Video: Gov. Granholm Boasts of Role in Forced Unionization of Home Day Care Workers
    Key early steps involved the offices of both the governor and the lieutenant governor, indicating 'unconstitutional overreach' and belying suggestion they were simply responding to other government actions
     
  786. ‘Edujobs’ said to benefit unions
    "An "edujobs" bill that appears likely to clear the Senate would shift money from food assistance and other education programs into a $10 billion teachers' job fund and Medicaid payments to states."
     
  787. Four Midland Teachers Paid More Per Hour Than Superintendent
     
  788. The Granholm-AFSCME Partnership
     
  789. Analysis: United States No Longer Among Top Nations in Protecting Private Property Rights
     
  790. Analysis: Genesee County Land Bank Threatens Private Property Rights
     
  791. Bob King's First Amendment

    Actually, workers ought to have the full range of First Amendment rights — to join a union, to not join a union, to contribute to causes they believe in, to withhold support from causes they don’t believe in, and to hear speech that is not screened by union officials first.


     
  792. MEGA Careful?

    How much background research does Michigan's corporate welfare bureaucracy actually perform on the potential recipients of its selective tax breaks and subsidies? Due to recent embarrassments the amount may be increasing, but until now the answer appears to be, "Not much at all."


     
  793. Hangar42 in Court

    The lead investor in a Grand Rapids-area film studio was in court Tuesday after being charged by the Michigan Attorney General's office with a felony relating to the deal.

    As WZZM TV13 in Grand Rapids reports, the Mackinac Center "was the first to question the deal."


     
  794. August in Michigan Is Teacher Freedom Month
     
  795. Dept. of Community Health Refutes Report Showing Dead People Getting Paid
     
  796. Thirty-One MEDC Salaries Top $100K

    At a time when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is saying it is being unfairly criticized, its staffers are among the best paid in the state.

    According to information from a Freedom of Information Act request, the MEDC has 31 employees making $100,000 or more. The MEDC has 351 positions.


     
  797. Summer school at farmers market
    "Summer school is in session at the farmers market in Wyoming this year, where students practice math by making change and develop social skills by waiting on customers."
     
  798. IMPACT Summer 2010
     
  799. Hangar42 Deal Shows Misguided Incentive Policies

    The only way to avoid these problems in the future is to shut down the MEDC and the programs it administers. They don't work, are unfair and open to abuse.


     
  800. Parks and Wrecks

    Michigan doesn't need more funds for state parks, just better management of them.


     
  801. Editorial on Tax Subsidies Ignores Facts

    The Grand Rapids Press on July 27 published an editorial defending state business tax incentives ("Michigan needs to keep offering business tax breaks to create jobs," July 27) that fails to recognize one vital argument: They don't work.


     
  802. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST August 3, 2010
     
  803. Court: Teachers can sue over assaults
    "The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Monday that teachers have standing to sue the Lansing School District for allegedly failing to follow state law and expel four students accused of assaulting the teachers."
     
  804. Will reform proceed without 'Race' money?
    "Some Michigan lawmakers say the state should push ahead with education reform even though it did not win "Race to the Top" funding, but a teachers union spokesman says the state may need to reconsider."
     
  805. Mackinac Center Ideas Permeate Primary Election
     
  806. Charges Filed in Film Studio Deal

    The main investor in a Grand Rapids movie studio that applied for state film subsidy money has been charged with attempted felony false pretenses over $20,000, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  807. School Funding Myths Explored, Corrected

    Paul W. Smith, who hosts a talk show from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays on WJR 760AM, cited a commentary on school funding by Education Policy Director Mike Van Beek in his Detroit News column Saturday.


     
  808. Mackinac Center Investigation Leads to Criminal Charge
     
  809. Charge Filed in Hangar42 Case Shows Greater Need for Transparency in State Government, Center Analyst Says
     
  810. Michigan Pols Approve Stimulus Spending
     
  811. Lansing board considers downsizing itself
    "Shorter terms and fewer members are two ideas the Lansing School District Board of Education should consider, some board members said at a recent retreat."
     
  812. The Class Size Myth
     
  813. Analysis: Dangers of Status Quo Budgeting in Higher Education
     
  814. States reconsider scholarships
    "A weak economy has led many states besides Michigan to cut back on merit-based college scholarship programs, even though states overall spent 5.6 percent more on all college grants last year."
     
  815. The Auto Bailout Payback
     
  816. DPS to require pre-algebra in seventh grade
    "Detroit Public Schools seventh-graders will be required to take pre-algebra classes beginning this fall."
     
  817. This Week In Michigan - July 31
     
  818. Here's Michigan's REAL Tea Party

    With Michigan Capitol Confidential and Tea Party organizer Jason Gillman breaking the news that the faux-"Michigan Tea Party" political party appears to be a dirty trick created by Democratic Party operatives, it's worth noting who comprises the real Tea Party movement in this state.

    List:  Michigan's REAL Tea Party groups and leaders


     
  819. Michigan Education Association May Help Fund Oklahoma Revenue Grab

    Oklahoma's state affiliate of the National Education Association only has 23,451 members, but has nevertheless launched a revenue-grabbing initiative, SQ 744, that will be on the ballot in November.


     
  820. Michigan Capitol Confidential Stirs Radio Discussion

    Stories in Michigan Capitol Confidential were the subject of recent radio interviews.


     
  821. Tea Party Candidate Identity Statements Could Be Invalid
     
  822. Michigan's REAL Tea Party Groups and Leaders
     
  823. Islamic Academy plans expansion
    "The Michigan Islamic Academy will add eight new classrooms and a gymnasium in a $1.8 million construction program."
     
  824. No Conversation Allowed

    Some economic development officials are complaining of “collateral damage” from candidates and others who publicly discuss reining in Michigan’s generous array of targeted business subsidies and incentives.


     
  825. Let He Who Is Without Jobs Sin Cast the First Stone

    An article in Saturday's Grand Rapids Press contains one of the most troubling quotes from an economic development official we have ever read.


     
  826. We Report. They Decide

    A recent Michigan Capitol Confidential story about driver license renewal for people with outstanding parking tickets was cited as the source of information for two different newspaper editorials.


     
  827. United States no Longer Among Top Nations in Protecting Private Property Rights

    According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, there are 16 countries that do a better job of protecting private property rights than the United States.


     
  828. Michael Moore Film Subsidy Blog Picked Up by Other Media

    A recent blog post by Michael Jahr, senior director of communications, about Michael Moore accepting a Michigan film subsidy for a movie of his that railed against government subsidies was quickly picked up by other media, including The Michigan View at The Detroit News and The Houghton Lake Resorter.


     
  829. Students can choose: Business or ‘green’
    "Henry Ford High School students must choose to attend the Academy for Green and Renewable Energy or the Academy of Business Technology when returning to school this fall, while all incoming freshmen will attend the 9th Grade Leadership Academy."
     
  830. Analysis: Michael Moore Appears Ready to Take Film Subsidy for Anti-Subsidy Film
     
  831. Dangers of Status Quo Budgeting in Higher Education
     
  832. Full Time Stimulus Spending - Part Time Work
     
  833. Migration Troubling, Especially in Michigan

    United Van Lines has released mid-year data on where it takes its clients to and from in the 48 contiguous states. Once again, Michigan finds itself in the number one position.


     
  834. Greatest Tragedy of Gulf Oil Spill Isn't Environmental

    The New York Times reported yesterday that "the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than expected" and that "the immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf are largely gone."


     
  835. Democratic Party Political Director Linked to Mysterious Tea Party Political Party
     
  836. Michigan out of ‘Race’
    "Michigan failed to make the cut in the second round of competition for federal "Race to the Top" education reform dollars, despite increased support from its largest teachers union."
     
  837. Outbound Michigan
     
  838. Fake Political Party Runs Mystery Candidates
     
  839. Students for a Free Economy Celebrates Milton Friedman Legacy Day
     
  840. Michigan Stimulus Recipients Failing to Report – Part 2
     
  841. New State Data Shows Michigan Public Schools Spent Record Amount Per-Student
     
  842. Luxury Is Not an Illness That Needs Cured

    Donald J. Kochan, an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center and an associate professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif., wrote Monday in the Los Angeles Times about Ben Franklin's views on "luxury" and how they apply to today's society.


     
  843. Angelo M. Codevilla — Our Era's Tom Paine?

    Here's how important I think Angelo M. Codevilla's American Spectator article is: It makes me think of Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

    Excerpt: "Our ruling class's agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof."


     
  844. Three Unpaid Parking Tickets? No License!
     
  845. University to offer programs at charter site
    "Lake Superior State University will open a satellite campus this fall on the site of a public school academy that it charters in Dearborn."
     
  846. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST July 27, 2010
     
  847. Michigan’s meaningless teacher certification reform
     
  848. Michael Moore Appears Ready to Take Film Subsidy for Anti-Subsidy Film

    The Traverse City Record-Eagle yesterday reported that filmmaker Michael Moore expects to receive between $650,000 and $1 million in state film subsidies for producing part of "Capitalism: A Love Story" in Michigan.


     
  849. It's Not Rocket Science

    A Dearborn Times-Herald Op-Ed by Mike LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, points out the obvious: tax hikes kill jobs and tax cuts create them.


     
  850. New State Data Show Michigan Public Schools Spent Record Amount Per-Student

    Michigan public schools received and spent more money per pupil in 2008-2009 than in any previous year for which figures are available, according to new data from the Michigan Department of Education.


     
  851. Poll: Voters split on mayoral oversight of DPS
    "Eighty-two percent of those surveyed in a recent poll gave a negative rating to the quality of education in Detroit Public Schools, while 54 percent said they would favor having the mayor be accountable for the school system, and 28 percent said they would oppose mayoral oversight."
     
  852. Snyder and Cox - Top Spenders on Facebook Fans
     
  853. Mandatory Fire Sprinklers – Reigniting or Fizzling Out?

    What could have been a ‘burning’ issue for the incoming director of the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) may be all but washed out. That’s after a hearing Tuesday in Lansing before the director of Michigan’s Bureau of Construction Codes, Irvin J. Poke. He heard comments from about three dozen people, most of whom were opposed to making fire sprinkler installation mandatory for new home construction in Michigan.


     
  854. Auditor General Sees Dead People... Getting Paid
     
  855. Community college sets higher entry bar
    "Students who want to enroll at Jackson Community College this fall must be able to read and write at least at the seventh-grade level."
     
  856. Green Jobs Training
     
  857. This Week In Michigan - July 24th
     
  858. Bill would require 200-day school year
    "A state senator has introduced legislation to require public school districts to offer instruction at least 200 days per year."
     
  859. MichiganVotes.org July 23 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The Legislature did not meet this week, so instead of votes this report contains eight newly introduced bills of interest:


     
  860. Cap-and-Trade Dead but Not Gone

    It is good news that cap-and-trade legislation passed by the U.S. House will not be taken up by the Senate as announced by Senate leader Harry Reid yesterday. However, it is too early to celebrate the death of this job-killing legislation that would increase the cost of energy for American consumers and businesses. Bad ideas coming out of Washington die only to be resurrected in another form.


     
  861. Ann Arbor 'Sculpturegate' Gets National Attention; Fox News Appearance

    The Tuesday, July 22, Michigan Capitol Confidential story "The Art of the Ann Arbor City Budget" reached millions of readers, starting with an appearance on national news aggregator, the Drudge Report. The American Spectator quickly followed with a column expanding on similiar "creative" arts funding in other states. USA Today, Instapundit and Neal Boortz picked up the story as well.

    This story has also received the attention of a national television network. This morning at 11:30 a.m., Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive is scheduled to discuss the story on Fox News with Jon Scott and Jenna Lee.


     
  862. About Those Companies Getting All the Electric Car Battery Subsidies ...

    A123 is one of two companies written about recently in Capitol Confidential for each being the recipient of at least $100 million in cash subsidies from Michigan taxpayers.


     
  863. Voter Scorecard Designed to 'Make Lansing Listen'

    The state's lawmakers need to understand that they will be judged by actual deeds and votes, not just the mere words that they speak on the campaign trail in advance of the Aug. 3 primary election. That's the message that Common Sense in Government hopes to deliver to politicians with their Common Sense Votes Scorecard — a spreadsheet tabulation of a dozen votes in the Michigan House and seven in the Senate impacting the "limited government, free market principles that Michigan needs to get back on the right track."
     

  864. You Do It? They Have a Tax For It
     
  865. MME shows slight improvement
    "High school student scores improved slightly on the Michigan Merit Examination in 2010, though only half the test-takers achieved "proficient" scores in math and 65 percent in reading."
     
  866. Michael LaFaive Discusses 'Sculpturegate' on Fox News
     
  867. Bill Reveals New Politically Correct Economic Development

    A newly introduced bill in Michigan gives new meaning to the phrase "politically correct economic development."


     
  868. Federal Government Wants to Decide Which Car Models Americans Drive

    When it comes to which model of vehicle Americans should buy, the federal government knows best — or believes it does.


     
  869. Mandatory Fire Sprinklers – Reigniting or Fizzling Out?

    What could have been a ‘burning’ issue for the incoming director of the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) may be all but washed out. That’s after a hearing Tuesday in Lansing before the director of Michigan’s Bureau of Construction Codes, Irvin J. Poke. He heard comments from about three dozen people, most of whom were opposed to making fire sprinkler installation mandatory for new home construction in Michigan.


     
  870. Regular Joe

    Ron Dzwonkowski at the Detroit Free Press wrote an article on the late Joe Overton, the man behind the Overton Window concept of political possibilities. Overton was vice president of the Mackinac Center, and his idea of a moveable window of acceptable public policies is now the title of a best-selling novel. Dzwonkowski, however, focused on the man behind the window.


     
  871. Derailed: Michigan Should Heed Greece's Experience With Light Rail
     
  872. The Art of the Ann Arbor City Budget

    The debate in Ann Arbor, where firefighters are being laid off due to a multimillion dollar budget deficit, is over an $850,000 piece of art.

    That's how much the city has agreed to pay German artist Herbert Dreiseitl for a three-piece water sculpture that would go in front of the new police and courts building right by the City Hall.
     

  873. Michigan standards get mixed grades
    "Michigan's academic standards in math earned an A-, while its English standards received a D in a report issued this week by the Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based education think tank."
     
  874. Derailed: Michigan Should Heed Greece's Experience With Light Rail

    Michigan leaders who are enamored with building new light-rail passenger lines should look to Greece's experience with its railway system.


     
  875. Clarenceville privatizes custodial services
    "Facing a projected budget deficit of $852,000 in 2010-2011, the Clarenceville School District Board of Education voted recently to outsource custodial services and save an estimated $1.2 million over three years."
     
  876. Inside the Overton Window
     
  877. Gary Peters' 'Deathbed Conversion'

    One of his political rivals called Gary Peters' "revolt" over spending a "deathbed conversion."

    The Club for Growth says the Democrat Congressman from Bloomfield Township approved trillions in spending and gave him a worse rating than Nancy Pelosi for his voting on economic growth bills.

    Yet, the news site Politico is reporting that Peters is part of a "rogue" group of four junior House Democrats frustrated with spending at the federal level.


     
  878. Find Out Who Works for YOU in the Michigan Legislature
     
  879. Chetly Zarko, RIP

    Michigan has lost forever the contributions of a stalwart freedom fighter: Chetly Zarko was found dead this morning at the age of 39.


     
  880. New Teacher’s 'Hybrid' Pension Label a Phony Political Confection

    Last spring, the Legislature adopted a largely-gutted version of a modest school employee pension reform. One of its features was a retirement plan labeled a "hybrid" between defined-benefit and defined-contribution.

    The term "hybrid" is bogus. It's a political label, not anything real.


     
  881. Contrary to Popular Belief ...

    The work of Mackinac Center analysts has provided information to challenge conventional wisdom on several points, and Michigan newspapers have taken note.


     
  882. Ribbon-Cutting

    Media outlets across the state are highlighting the debate about job-creation policies. Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael LaFaive has long argued that tax incentives and subsidies are not the path to improving Michigan's economy.


     
  883. Angelo M. Codevilla — Our Era's Tom Paine?

    Here's how important I think Angelo M. Codevilla's American Spectator article is: It makes me think of Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

    Excerpt: "Our ruling class's agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof."


     
  884. More Federal Spending On the Way — And the Michigan House Asked for It
     
  885. Lawmaker Says Special Tax Favors Are 'Cronyism'
     
  886. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST July 20, 2010
     
  887. Godwin Heights trying mini-laptops
    "Godwin Heights Public Schools will try using mini-laptop computers to boost freshman academic performance, according to The Grand Rapids Press."
     
  888. Do Unemployment Benefits Stimulate the Economy?

    There's valid argument that a compassionate society with a dynamic economy should provide unemployment benefits, and a legitimate debate regarding how much and how long. But recently, some have gone beyond this and argued not only that these benefits are necessary, but that they actually stimulate the economy.


     
  889. $41 Million in Stimulus Money Went Unreported by Michigan Agency
     
  890. An Impromptu Fishing Trip Isn't 'Pure Michigan'
     
  891. Have We Really Been Stimulated?
     
  892. Cost to Revive Economy With Battery Plant Subsidies: $5 Trillion

    Yesterday, President Barack Obama and Gov. Jennifer Granholm came to Holland bearing gifts: cash subsidies for an electric car battery plant owned by the Korean firm LG Chem. The federal contribution is $151 million in "stimulus" money, and Michigan taxpayers are kicking in another $100 million. This means that each of the plant's approximately 400 jobs will cost taxpayers $625,000. At this rate, it would cost $5 trillion to provide employment to the approximately 8 million Americans who lost have their jobs in the current downturn.


     
  893. This Week In Michigan - July 18
     
  894. Troy Takes Texting and Driving Ban to Another Level
     
  895. Michigan Taxpayers Writing Check to Second Electric Car Battery Maker for $100 Million
     
  896. Cost to Revive Economy With Battery Plant Subsidies: $5 Trillion

    Yesterday, President Barack Obama and Gov. Jennifer Granholm came to Holland bearing gifts: cash subsidies for an electric car battery plant owned by the Korean firm LG Chem. The federal contribution is $151 million in "stimulus" money, and Michigan taxpayers are kicking in another $100 million. This means that each of the plant's approximately 400 jobs will cost taxpayers $625,000. At this rate, it would cost $5 trillion to provide employment to the approximately 8 million Americans who lost have their jobs in the current downturn.


     
  897. MichiganVotes.org July 16 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The legislature did not meet this week, so instead of votes this report contains eight newly introduced bills of interest:

    House Bill 6319 (Impose annual registration and fees on canoes and kayaks)
    Introduced by Rep. Richard J. Ball (R) on July 1, 2010, to impose registration with a $5 fee on canoes and kayaks. Owners would have to attach the same kind of registration decal as is required on power boats or larger sailboats. Failure to register and display the decal would be punishable by a fine of up to $500.


     
  898. The 'Green' in Green Jobs Is Money

    Centrally planned jobs with a "green" focus are not the way to boost the economy in Michigan or nationwide, a Mackinac Center analyst told The Daily Caller, a Washington, D.C.-based political news website.


     
  899. Court: School data law violates Constitution
    "The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public school districts cannot be forced to collect data for the Center for Educational Performance and Information unless they are paid for the work."
     
  900. Holland workers move to high-deductible plan
    "Support staff employees in Holland Public Schools will switch to a high-deductible health care plan purchased from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan under the terms of a new, three-year contract, leaving behind the health plan offered through a union affiliate."
     
  901. City, school district team up on demolition
    "The city of Taylor will use Community Development Block Grant federal funding to demolish three unused school buildings owned by the Taylor School District."
     
  902. Taxing Canoes and Kayaks
     
  903. The Sales Tax and Lottery Myth
     
  904. ‘Project ReImagine’ taking shape in N.I.C.E.
     
  905. Analysis: Gulf Moratorium Similar to Directional Drilling Ban
     
  906. Analysis: Michigan Needs Regulatory Certainty
     
  907. Michigan Taxpayers Writing Check to Second Electric Car Battery Maker for $100 Million

    The owners of another Michigan electric car battery plant, A123 Systems, will receive a $100 million cash subsidy from the state for a 75-acre facility the company has leased in Romulus.


     
  908. Plug In to the Freedom Movement!
     
  909. Schools consolidate on labor to save money
    "Five northern Kent County school districts anticipate jointly saving at least $430,000 in the coming fiscal year by consolidating certain business and technology services."
     
  910. MichCapCon Profile: The 12th State Senate District Primary
     
  911. Michigan Exports to China Grow

    The Chinese market for Michigan goods continues to grow. So it's strange that politicians here continue to point fingers at Chinese trade for Michigan's economic decay.


     
  912. Mike Bouchard and Right-to-Work Legislation

    Whether Mike Bouchard is acting out of principle or pragmatism, one can only hope that more gubernatorial candidates follow his lead.


     
  913. Union Lawyer Admits in Court that Stealth Unionization Is a 'Slippery Slope'
     
  914. Tuition up, but so is enrollment
    "Community colleges in metro Detroit are raising tuition to compensate for declining property tax revenue, a move that so far has not dampened enrollment."
     
  915. Bouchard Embraces Right-to-Work

    Mike Bouchard became the first GOP candidate for Governor to embrace Right To Work legislation when he announced Wednesday in Grand Rapids he would support it.


     
  916. Sun May Finally Shine on State Pols' Staff Salary Secrets

    Michigan's Freedom of Information Act requires that the politicians running local governments tell taxpayers who has been hired to work for them and how much those persons are being paid. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — made infamous in part because of his "friends and family" hiring policy — had to disclose this information.

    But if you're the governor of Michigan or one of the lawmakers running either chamber of the Michigan Legislature, such rules literally do not apply to you, because of a little-known secrecy perk in FOIA.

    If any of the five men running on the GOP side to become Michigan's next governor win the job, this shroud of secrecy could be lifted.


     
  917. Gulf Moratorium Similar to Directional Drilling Ban
    The ban on oil drilling in the Gulf has much in common with the ban on directional drilling for oil and gas under the Great Lakes.
     
  918. Michigan Exports to China Grow

    The Chinese market for Michigan goods continues to grow. So it's strange that politicians here continue to point fingers at Chinese trade for Michigan's economic decay.


     
  919. Detroit Taking Center's Advice 8 Years Later

    The city of Detroit is slowly moving toward adopting a recommendation Center analysts made more than eight years ago.


     
  920. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST July 13, 2010
     
  921. Opinion mixed on minority-teacher emphasis
    "A new emphasis on hiring minority teachers and administrators has drawn mixed opinion in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, where 25 percent of the student body is made up of minorities compared to less than 3 percent of educational staff."
     
  922. Teachers to run DPS elementary school
    "Teachers will take over operations at Barbara Jordan Elementary School in Detroit beginning this fall, a move generally seen as a test of whether more educator involvement can improvement student achievement."
     
  923. The Book on ObamaCare’s True Cost
     
  924. Wayne-Westland Teacher Contract: Summary and Analysis
     
  925. Michigan Public Payrolls Protected in Recent Recession

    Since the beginning of the national recession in December 2007, Michigan's private sector has lost 70 times more jobs than its government sector.


     
  926. Michigan Needs Regulatory Certainty
    Regulatory uncertainty is a major barrier to job creation in this state.
     
  927. Alpena board implements contract
    "Teachers in the Alpena Education Association will receive a 0.5 percent wage increase and a one-time, $500 payment in lieu of salary step increases under the terms of a two-year contract implemented by the school board."
     
  928. MichCapCon Profile: The 3rd Congressional District Primary
     
  929. State Lawmakers Map Out New ObamaCare Battles
     
  930. Candidate Questionnaire for Tea Party Activists: 2009-2010 Edition
     
  931. DPS students working on district construction
    "Several dozen Detroit Public Schools students will get work experience as they start construction apprenticeships in the district."
     
  932. Failing schools eligible for turnaround money
    "More than 100 of the worst performing public schools in Michigan are eligible to apply for $136 in subsidies from the federal government."
     
  933. Bill Would Ban Gas Chamber for Pets
     
  934. DPS principals to be judged on performance
    "More than one-third of the buildings in Detroit Public Schools will have new principals in the fall."
     
  935. Can Michigan Become a Right-to-Work State?
     
  936. MICHIGAN CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL
     
  937. MichiganVotes.org July 9 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  938. School retirements don’t add up
    "About 17,000 public school employees have decided to retire this year, far short of the 27,000 the state had hoped for."
     
  939. MichCapCon Profile: The 6th Congressional District Primary
     
  940. K-12 Tumbles Down Voters' List of Priorities
     
  941. Political Society vs. Civil Society
     
  942. Michigan Public Payrolls Protected in Recent Recession

    Since the beginning of the national recession in December 2007, Michigan's private sector has lost 70 times more jobs than its government sector.


     
  943. Students Prepare for Careers in Sagging Michigan Film Industry

    The cost of the Michigan film subsidy program continues to be ignored, according to a Mackinac Center fiscal analyst.


     
  944. Governor Surrenders on Service Tax

    Michigan taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief: The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has abandoned hope that her service tax will become law. At a news conference on an unrelated issue, the Governor stated that she did not expect the Legislature to enact her plan.


     
  945. Federal Labor Board Sets Up Snap Union Elections
     
  946. Berkley battles allegations
    "The Berkley School District issued a statement recently stating that the allegations against Superintendent Michael Simeck being investigated by the Michigan Secretary of State are false."
     
  947. Analysis: Michigan Beats Most States in Tax Revenue Growth

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released state and local government quarterly tax information that shows Michigan's tax revenue continues to outperform the rest of the state economy. Policymakers should keep these figures in mind as Lansing cries poverty over this year's budget.


     
  948. MichCapCon Profile: The 11th State Senate District Primary
     
  949. Severe Weather in Michigan

    MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals.


     
  950. EPA Action on Sulfur Dioxide Points to Future Under Cap-and-Trade

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it is drastically lowering the standard for sulfur dioxide under the Clean Air Act.


     
  951. Health Care Freedom Petition Comes Up Short
     
  952. MichCapCon Profile: The 2nd Congressional District Primary
     
  953. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    While the government fails to maintain the city, private individuals like Jean West and those profiled in this article will continue to fight to preserve Detroit's neighborhoods.


     
  954. An Apology

    Reasonable people may disagree with my position, and fair enough. But I should not ascribe their personal motivations to anything other than good will, and was wrong to say something that sounded like I was doing so.


     
  955. Census Bureau: Michigan Beats Most States in Tax Revenue Growth

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released state and local government quarterly tax information that shows Michigan's tax revenue continues to outperform the rest of the state economy. Policymakers should keep these figures in mind as Lansing cries poverty over this year's budget.


     
  956. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST July 6, 2010
     
  957. Reality Check: Governor’s Budget 'Poor Mouthing'

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm cried poverty yesterday, claiming that her administration already cut 11,000 state employees and that the state cannot make further cuts without lowering "critical services that struggling families count on to survive in this tough economy." However, thanks to higher compensation levels, taxpayers are paying more overall even with fewer workers on the job.


     
  958. MEA Lawsuit May Be Against Policy That They Already Endorsed

    The Michigan Education Association has done a reversal on a 3 percent pension contribution its members are required to make, as it now is fighting a clause it originally supported just months ago. 

    The MEA supported the pension contribution in April when the House of Representatives was voting on Senate Bill 1227.


     
  959. The Unequal Funding Myth
     
  960. Are Public Schools Underfunded? No
     
  961. Tax Hikes Kill Jobs and Tax Cuts Create Them
     
  962. ‘The Overton Window’: Made in Michigan
     
  963. MichCapCon Profile: The 30th State Senate District Primary
     
  964. Analysis: McCotter Bill Puts Extra Burden on Bloggers
     
  965. Counting on Demonstrators
     
  966. CMU, AFT agree on new bargaining unit
    "Non-tenure track faculty  at Central Michigan University are expected to vote soon on certifying the American Federation of Teachers as their union representative, now that a dispute over who would be eligible to join has been resolved."
     
  967. Small Biz vs. Big Labor
     
  968. Schools would get $11-per-pupil bump
    "Michigan public schools would receive an $11-per-pupil increase in 2010-2011 under a legislative conference committee agreement reached Wednesday."
     
  969. This Week In Michigan, July 4
     
  970. MichCapCon Profile: The 12th Congressional District Primary
     
  971. Analysis: Michigan Taxpayers to Write $100 Million Check to Korean Battery Maker
     
  972. MichiganVotes.org July 2 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  973. Lawmaker: Shift ‘Race’ money to jobs
    "Money earmarked for education reform would go instead to education jobs under a proposal by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee."
     
  974. Reality Check: Governor’s Budget 'Poor Mouthing'

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm cried poverty yesterday, claiming that her administration already cut 11,000 state employees and that the state cannot make further cuts without lowering "critical services that struggling families count on to survive in this tough economy." However, thanks to higher compensation levels, taxpayers are paying more overall even with fewer workers on the job.


     
  975. School Union's Ballot Box Avenger Speaks at Capitol Rally
     
  976. The 4th of July
     
  977. Bobb says superintendent is out; board pushes back
    "The Detroit Public Schools board of education says that Teresa Gueyser is still district superintendent, even though her contract expired and emergency financial manager Robert Bobb did not renew it."
     
  978. Genesee County Land Bank Threatens Private Property Rights
     
  979. Traditional Values Group Splits its Gov Endorsement
     
  980. G.R. Press: AG's Office Knew About Hangar42 Months Ago; Legislators Addressing Transparency

    Attorney General Mike Cox's office knew about concerns regarding the Hangar42 film studio as early as February, according to a story in today's Grand Rapids Press. Cox, however, did not officially announce an investigation of the film subsidy deal until a day after being called on to do so by Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director Patrick J. Wright.


     
  981. Ann Arbor Teachers Union Keeps District Out of Balance

    The union concedes to help close one-fifth of budget gap, while pay for its members consumes three-quarters of district spending.


     
  982. Selective Disclosure

    There is no reason, aside from political calculation, why unions should not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as political parties, companies, or issue groups like the Chamber of Commerce. If anything the scrutiny should be even closer because so much of their funds are drawn from union dues that workers must pay or lose their jobs.


     
  983. Why More Government Regulation Seldom Works

    As BP has belatedly learned, the strongest incentive for environmental compliance is the very survival of the company. No amount of additional regulations can provide that kind of incentive.


     
  984. Michigan Taxpayers to Write $100 Million Check to Korean Battery Maker

    Last week the the Michigan Economic Development Corp. upped the ante on a $100 million "refundable" business tax credit approved by the Michigan House and Senate for a subsidiary of the South Korean battery maker LG Chem. The MEDC in effect converted the credit into an outright cash subsidy from Michigan taxpayers by granting the plant's 120-acre site in Holland "renaissance zone" status for 15 years.


     
  985. Cap-and-Trade and Michigan's Economy
     
  986. Districts Save With Health Savings Accounts
     
  987. Ending the Individual Mandate
     
  988. What is Your Share of Government Debt?
     
  989. Center Analysts Detail Public-Sector Power

    The amount of state resources consumed by and the political leverage of public-sector employees were the focus of two Op-Eds by Mackinac Center analysts in The Oakland Press today.


     
  990. Districts Save With Health Savings Accounts

    More school districts are realizing the savings that can be had from consumer-driven, high-deductible health insurance plans.


     
  991. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST June 29, 2010
     
  992. Judge puts new school health fund on reserve
    "The state can collect money from school employees for retiree health care, but can't spend it until a lawsuit over the new system is resolved."
     
  993. Analysis: Gutted School Pension 'Reform' Could Come Back to Bite Schools
     
  994. Polling the State of the State's Voters

    Trust in state government among Michigan residents and their views of Gov. Jennifer Granholm are at all-time lows, according to a poll released on Monday.

    The poll found 43.7 percent of those surveyed said Granholm was doing a "poor" job; 35.5 percent rated her as "fair"; 17.4 percent said "good"; and 3.4 percent said "excellent."


     
  995. Columnist: Film Subsidy Proponents Should Welcome Transparency

    A Grand Rapids Press columnist said Sunday that those who support film subsidies in Michigan should embrace scrutiny of the program.


     
  996. Gutted School Pension 'Reform' Could Come Back to Bite Schools

    A modest school pension reform proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier this year was mostly gutted by the Republican Senate, and subjected to more savagery in the Democratic House, but it nevertheless crawled out with a provision requiring employees to contribute an additional 3 percent to the cost of their retirement benefits. The amended statute contains no language requiring that money be used to ease the budget challenges facing school districts, however.


     
  997. Troy City Service Privatization Plan Rolls Forward
     
  998. The Unstable Funding Myth
     
  999. Clare to begin Chinese language immersion program
    "Farwell Area Schools will use part of its Project ReImagine grant to begin Chinese language classes in kindergarten and possibly in preschool."
     
  1000. Yeah, That's How to Boost Confidence in Detroit's Finances (NOT)

    From MichiganVotes.org:

    2010 House Bill 6274 and 6275 (Allow Detroit pension funds to loan to city)

    Introduced by Rep. Bettie Scott (D) on June 22, 2010, to allow the Detroit police, fire and other employee pension funds to lend up to 20 percent of their assets to the city at a discounted interest rate.

    Referred to the House Banking and Financial Services Committee on June 22, 2010.


     
  1001. Truth and Taxes: The Obama Record
     
  1002. An End to MEAP Tests?
    "Michigan has joined a group of 31 states trying to win federal funds to develop a new approach to standardized tests."
     
  1003. School Boards Wary of No-Cut Promise
    "At least two Michigan public school districts aren't counting on state lawmakers' predictions that  per-pupil funding will not be cut in 2010-2011."
     
  1004. This Week In Michigan
     
  1005. Biz Leaders: Gov's Tax Plan is 'More of a Tax Increase'
     
  1006. MEA Rally: Massive Failure or Just Waste of Time and Money?

    MEA said they'd bring 10,000 people to Lansing and wound up with only 3,500.


     
  1007. MEA Complains About More Money To Spend On Education?

    The Michigan Education Association protested in Lansing yesterday to demand more taxpayer money to go to the public school system and to protest recent public school pension reforms. But the pension reforms will allow districts to have more resources to devote to improving education.


     
  1008. Subpoenas Issued in Hangar42 Investigation

    Michigan Film Office Director Janet Lockwood said she has received a subpoena as part of the Michigan Attorney General's investigation of movie studio Hangar42, according to WWMT-TV3 in Grand Rapids.


     
  1009. State Has Better Things to do Than Worry About Bird Feeders
     
  1010. Deadline Looming: Day Care Providers Could Lose State Subsidies
     
  1011. South Lyon Ties Wages to Per-Pupil Funding
    "Support staff employees have agreed to a 10 percent pay scale reduction in South Lyon Community Schools as of July 1, as well as a monthly medical benefit cap."
     
  1012. School Funding Goes Up ... MEA Wants More
     
  1013. School Funding Goes Up ... MEA Wants More

    The Michigan Education Association, which represents a majority of the teachers in the state (who happen to be the highest paid in the nation when compared to relative state wealth), is holding a demonstration at the state Capitol today to lobby for more money.


     
  1014. You Can't Make This Stuff Up (MichiganVotes Edition)

    Reportedly the bill was introduced after a Northern Michigan man who broadcasts the action at his bird feeder on his website was served with an arrest warrant by the Department of Natural Resources because deer sometimes are seen eating the fallen seeds.


     
  1015. Threats of Eminent Domain Should Not Be a Bargaining Tool

    Private capitol essential to growing jobs in Michigan is much more likely to be invested where private property rights are secure and not threatened by the actions of well-meaning public officials.


     
  1016. The Unstable Funding Myth
     
  1017. Private Contractors Pilloried at School Union Rally
     
  1018. Analysis: The Man Who Would Be (Bob) King
     
  1019. Big Waste, Bad News

    Two bills are working their way through the House of Representatives in Lansing that would change the process of binding arbitration, which is used to resolve contract disputes between local governments and their employees. One of these bills is, at best, a complete waste of time. The other is just a lousy idea.


     
  1020. Kelo Decision Five Years Ago Today

    Today marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's attack on private property rights in the Kelo vs. New London decision.


     
  1021. No Free Lunch: 'Taxing Teens at Taco Bell'

    Although it may be "free," that's not stopping some legislators from attempting to tax it.

    State Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, has introduced House Bill 6214, which would tax free meals employees get while working at restaurants and food establishments.


     
  1022. Analysis: Nominees for Top 5 Worst Government Services
     
  1023. Bouchard 'Would Not Hesitate' to End State's Economic Central Planning Agency
     
  1024. New School Pension Reforms Will Be Worthless
     
  1025. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST June 22, 2010
     
  1026. Senate Bill Pending in House Could Cause Local Government Costs to Climb

    At at time when municipalities are being warned to prepare to make severe budget cuts, some are wondering how a Republican-controlled state Senate could pass legislation that makes local government more costly.

    At issue is Senate Bill 1072, which is now being debated in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The bill, critics say, expands which public safety groups can go before arbitrators in contract disputes involving Public Act 312.


     
  1027. ObamaCare: To Tax or Not to Tax?
     
  1028. Michigan Adopts National Standards
    "Michigan has agreed to integrate "Common Core State Standards" into its public education system, part of a national effort to have every state adopt the same academic standards in English and math."
     
  1029. Michigan’s Borrow-and-Spend Politicians Eye Kids’ Piggybanks
     
  1030. Critics Say Google Wants Internet Access - Just Not the Bill for It
     
  1031. DPS Suit: Who's to Blame?

    The lawsuit filed by the Detroit Public Schools Board of Education against Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb is "unprecedented," according to Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek.


     
  1032. Isn't Lottery Money Supposed to Be for Public Schools?

    Lansing political newsletter MIRS News (subscription required) reports that some legislators are steamed about a decision by state Lottery Commissioner Scott Bowen — a former Grand Rapids city council member — to burn $40,000 in lottery money that otherwise would be available to fund public schools by giving it to Grand Rapids for a fireworks display. The Lottery Commissioner serves "at the pleasure of the governor," so this one may well be looking for work starting next January. Bowen unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination as Attorney General candidate in 2006, and has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the state Senate or Congress.


     
  1033. Attorney General Investigating Hangar42

    Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's office has heeded calls from Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director Patrick J. Wright to investigate the Hangar42 movie studio subsidy deal, according to The Grand Rapids Press.


     
  1034. Study Says Tort Costs Killing Business in Michigan

    The lawyer profession is often the butt of many jokes. But now there is a public policy research think tank that says the profession could be driving business away from Michigan.

    The Pacific Research Institute of San Francisco ranked Michigan 43rd in the nation in terms of "tort cost" after an analytical look at things such as number of cases filed, personal-injury lawyers, damage awards and settlement losses.


     
  1035. The proper role of a public school board

    Our guest commentator says that the best school boards are those that hold themselves accountable for the district’s performance.


     
  1036. 'Wannabes' may not return to Howell
    "Filming of "The Wannabes Starring Savvy" wrapped for the season in May, and whether the production returns to Parker High School in Howell may depend on the outcome of claims and counterclaims regarding alcohol use, building damage and educational value."
     
  1037. Nominees for Top 5 Worst Government Services
     
  1038. Livonia considers charter school

    Livonia Public Schools may grant a charter to a Japanese American school that would open to kindergarteners in September.
     

  1039. YouTubes Praising Special Tax Breaks for Filmmakers Getting Yanked
     
  1040. Salary survey under way

    A study of how college salaries compare across Michigan has been delayed until mid-September, when it may be used to determine future wages at Grand Rapids Community College.


     
  1041. This Week In Michigan
     
  1042. Traverse City Teacher Contract: Summary and Analysis
     
  1043. Center Calls for Hangar42 Investigation Cited

    Lansing political newsletters Gongwer and MIRS (subscriptions required) today both cite this Mackinac Center news release that calls for an official investigation of the Hangar42 movie studio deal.


     
  1044. MichiganVotes.org June 18 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1045. 'Administration of a Tax': The Big Lie Behind Government Secrecy on State Corporate Welfare Checks

    Ms. Granholm, tear down this wall of government secrecy!


     
  1046. EPA Crying Over Unspilled Milk

    The U.S. EPA has classified milk as an oil that is subject to federal regulation, which requires that it be regulated under the Clean Water Act.


     
  1047. The Man Who Would Be (Bob) King

    Does the UAW need another association with a failed automaker?


     
  1048. Michigan Unemployment Rate Down to 13.6 Percent

    New data was released yesterday from Michigan's Office of Labor Market Information that indicates Michigan's economy may be recovering.


     
  1049. Sorry — Your Film Office Success Story Was Not Found
     
  1050. Legislature to Tea Party's Unfunded Liability Concerns: "Whatever"

    The Michigan Senate is poised to pass House Bill 5241, which would boost the pensions of approximately 50 Michigan State Police retired command officers by $530 to $760 annually, costing taxpayers some $800,000 over a 25-year period. The bill has already passed the House in a 107 to 0 vote.


     
  1051. Joe Lehman, Glenn Beck and the History of the Overton Window
     
  1052. Nevada Kicks Michigan Out of Unemployment Top Spot
     
  1053. America: The Story of Whom?
     
  1054. Support staff makes concessions

    Support staff in Northwest Community Schools will switch health insurance plans and pay 10 percent of their own premiums as part of an agreement that also will protect their job.


     
  1055. Attorney General Heeds Requests for Investigation of Embattled Film Studio
     
  1056. The Kalamazoo Promise vs. School Choice

    Is "The Kalamazoo Promise" program inherently better than school choice?


     
  1057. Joe Lehman Explains the Overton Window on Fox News Channel With Glenn Beck

    Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman appeared on "The Glenn Beck Show" on Fox News Channel Wednesday evening to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, a theory created in the mid-1990s by Joseph P. Overton, the Center's late senior vice president.


     
  1058. Michigan Unemployment Rate Down to 13.6 Percent

    New data was released yesterday from Michigan's Office of Labor Market Information that indicates Michigan's economy may be recovering.


     
  1059. 'Doubling Down' with Detroit Retiree Pensions

    City of Detroit pension plans shouldn't be investing money in a casino.


     
  1060. Joe Lehman Discusses the Overton Window on Glenn Beck's TV Show
     
  1061. Critics Shoot at Special Tax Deal for Super Speedway
     
  1062. Overton Window Video From Glenn Beck Show
     
  1063. Mackinac Center Legal Director Calls on Legislature, Law Enforcement to Scrutinize Hangar42 Deal
     
  1064. Monroe recalls 187 employees

    The retirement of 36 teachers in Monroe Public Schools is one reason the district will recall all 187 employees who were pink-slipped in March, according to The Toledo Blade.


     
  1065. Pols Admit Bad Votes on Bad Driver Fees

    When she was a state representative in 2003, Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson was one of a minority to vote against a law that imposed stiff financial penalties on so-called "bad drivers." Advertised as a public safety measure, Johnson and others believe the law was really designed to rake in more money for state government. In addition to harsher fines for objectively dangerous violations such as impaired and reckless driving, the "Driver Responsibility Fee" law also applies additional fees for those with conduct on their record that isn't as clearly dangerous, such as multiple speeding tickets and failure to produce proof of a license or insurance when asked to do so by a police officer.


     
  1066. Joe Lehman to Discuss 'Overton Window' on Glenn Beck Show at 5:20 P.M. on Fox News Channel

    Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman is scheduled to appear on "The Glenn Beck Show" on Fox News Channel at around 5:20 p.m. EDT today to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, a theory created in the mid-1990s by Joseph P. Overton, the Center's late senior vice president.


     
  1067. New Questions Arise Over Hangar42 Funding

    Questions continue to arise over the Hangar42 movie studio deal, including this breaking news from reporter Chris Knape at The Grand Rapids Press that outlines the involvement of a state representative's office in obtaining a tax subsidy for the project.


     
  1068. Service Tax Is Bad Policy

    The service tax is bad policy for Michigan. Legislators should resist the temptation to pass this tax hike as the budget deadline approaches.


     
  1069. Film Office Director Agrees With Center on Hangar42 Movie Studio Deal

    The Grand Rapids Press and WOOD-TV are reporting that Michigan Film Office Director Janet Lockwood agreed with Mackinac Center analysts that a proposed movie studio seeking state subsidies is questionable.


     
  1070. Analysis: Politics Trumps Science on Great Lakes Drilling
     
  1071. Analyst: Gov's Tax Plan Could Kill 30k Jobs in First Year
     
  1072. Teachers sue over retirement contributions
    "Five members of the Michigan Education Association have filed suit over a new requirement that school employees pay more into a retiree health care fund, but they are not challenging the part of the new law that awards higher pension benefits to recent retirees."
     
  1073. Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman To Discuss Overton Window on Glenn Beck’s Fox News Show Today

    MIDLAND — Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman is scheduled to appear on "The Glenn Beck Show" on Fox News Channel at around 5:20 p.m. EDT today to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, a theory created in the mid-1990s by the late Joseph P. Overton, formerly the Center's senior vice president. Beck's new book, "The Overton Window," was released June 15, and it already tops the bestseller list. Lehman was a guest on Beck's nationally syndicated radio show on June 9.


     
  1074. Politics Trumps Science on Great Lakes Drilling

    Sometimes it seems like we are repeating the Dark Ages but with political fear-mongering replacing superstition in trumping science. A future where public policy is primarily shaped by fear rather than relying on the best science is too bleak to contemplate.


     
  1075. Tax Hikes Kill Jobs, Tax Cuts Create Them
     
  1076. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST June 15, 2010
     
  1077. Low-performers eligible for grants
    "About 108 Michigan public schools are eligible for up to $2 million each in school improvement grants based on their low academic performance."
     
  1078. Analysis: Another LIFO Victim
     
  1079. E-mails Reveal That Film Office Chief Agrees With Criticisms of Embattled Studio Project
     
  1080. Inspire Your Desktop!
     
  1081. Gov. Granholm’s Tax Hike Proposal Would Kill 30,000 Michigan Jobs in First Year, According to Tax Analysis Model

    MIDLAND — Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman is scheduled to appear live on The Glenn Beck Program during the 10 a.m. hour EDT (or second hour if tape delayed) on June 9 to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, a theory created in the mid-1990s by Joseph P. Overton, the Center's late senior vice president. Beck's newest book is a work of fiction titled "The Overton Window," due to be released June 15. The program is carried on 400 stations nationwide, including 15 in Michigan.


     
  1082. Think Tank of the Future
     
  1083. Parent-Judge Conferences?
    Is threatening parents with jail time the best way to get them involved with their children's education.
     
  1084. High-Speed Rail a Fast Way to Waste Money

    Even with extensive evidence that high-speed rail projects are very expensive to build and operate, the Michigan Legislature seems intent on expanding this form of inefficient mass transit in the state.


     
  1085. The Overton Window at The Corner

    John Miller at National Review Online writes about the "Overton Window of Political Possibility" and how Glenn Beck has adapted the name for his new book.


     
  1086. Film Subsidy Rationale Revealed: Pixie Dust!

    It's hard to find a reputable, independent economist willing to argue that transferring millions of tax dollars from households and businesses to filmmakers is a rational, plausible economic development strategy. Most scratch their heads at a program that pays 42 percent of the expense of producers who make a movie here and 25 percent to developers who install a film production facility.


     
  1087. Retirement, insurance both create savings
    "Teacher retirements and a switch away from union-affiliated health insurance are expected to reduce spending by $430,000 in Oakridge Public Schools."
     
  1088. Local Government Bankruptcies May Become Reality

    With Michigan cities facing budget crises, many experts say the worst is yet to come, and some believe the state will begin to see municipal bankruptcies. Pressure from both the revenue and spending sides is creating the risky financial situations. Some say it may be the worst since the Great Depression.


     
  1089. Analysis: 'Jungle Primary' Proposal Won’t Get Michigan Out of the Woods

    Efforts to break the political stranglehold by rearranging the institutional furniture at best consumes energy better spent striking at the real root of our problems.


     
  1090. How Will Tea Party Success in the Primaries Play out in November?

    The Tea Party movement had another chance to show its influence in elections in last week's primary elections in 11 states across the country.

    In Nevada, a Tea Party candidate knocked off a GOP competitor.

    Some public policy experts and a political activist give their thoughts on what it means to the Tea Party movement.


     
  1091. Eight superintendents retiring in southwest Michigan
    "At least eight superintendents in southwest Michigan are retiring this year, some of them weary of the state economy and its effect on public school districts and others simply because they are at retirement age."
     
  1092. Red Dawn Reality Check

    Although the state of Michigan may offer tax rebates to Hollywood production companies that film in this state, the U.S. military isn't as generous, according to a Department of Defense spokesman.


     
  1093. Do We Really Own Property or Just Rent it From the Government?
     
  1094. Noteworthy news that you may have missed this week…
     
  1095. Experts differ on why colleges hike tuition
    "College tuition hikes have outpaced inflation by a large margin for the past two decades, but there is disagreement over why universities keep charging more."
     
  1096. 'Jungle Primary' Proposal Won’t Get Michigan Out of the Woods

    Efforts to break the political stranglehold by rearranging the institutional furniture at best consumes energy better spent striking at the real root of our problems.


     
  1097. Another LIFO Victim

    LIFO stands for "last in, first out" and describes how nearly all Michigan school districts choose which teachers to lay off when downsizing becomes a necessity.


     
  1098. MichiganVotes.org June 11 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1099. Analysis: Lawmakers Fail to Answer Questions About Film Subsidy Transparency

    A rather blistering May 16 Livingston Daily editorial asked a few simple questions of three state lawmakers about the Michigan Film Incentive and how well it's working. Two of the legislators responded in a guest column Sunday, arguably dodging the real questions raised in the original editorial and putting up a weak defense of the two-year-old subsidy program.  


     
  1100. Oxford Schools: Saving Money and Improving Service
     
  1101. Lawmakers Fail to Answer Questions About Film Subsidy Transparency

    A rather blistering May 16 Livingston Daily editorial asked a few simple questions of three state lawmakers about the Michigan Film Incentive and how well it's working. Two of the legislators responded in a guest column Sunday, arguably dodging the real questions raised in the original editorial and putting up a weak defense of the two-year-old subsidy program.


     
  1102. Senator Says House Is Stalling Reform of Special Tax Perks for Filmmakers
     
  1103. Analysis: East Lansing Should Look to China on Property Rights
     
  1104. Joe Lehman Talks About the Overton Window With Glenn Beck

    Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman appeared on Glenn Beck's radio show today to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, according to the Midland Daily News.


     
  1105. U.S. Senate Resolution Would Limit EPA Power

    Congress has an opportunity to restore accountability to elected officials and put limits on the power wielded by unaccountable bureaucrats when the U.S. Senate considers Joint Resolution 26 tomorrow.


     
  1106. Blowing the Lid off Film Subsidy Duplicity

    The Grand Rapids Press has captured the essence of what concerns people about a potential $10 million taxpayer subsidy for the investors in the "Hangar42" film studio project that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has boasted of. The 25 percent "capital investment" subsidy is based on a $40 million purchase price for the property claimed by the deal's promoter. The same building, however, was listed for sale at just $9.8 million as late as February.


     
  1107. Clear the Farms to Promote Hunting and Gathering?

    The definition of progress seems to be moving backward in this state. It used to be that structures erected on property were called "improvements." Yet last week, the Michigan Senate passed a package of bills authorizing property tax breaks for "urban agriculture" in Detroit.


     
  1108. Transparency Demanded for Film Subsidy Program

    A Detroit News editorial today calls for more transparency from the Michigan Film Office in the wake of a months-long investigation by Mackinac Center analysts that raised several questions about a Grand Rapids-area movie studio deal.


     
  1109. Bills Would Demand More Info From Filmmakers Getting Special Tax Breaks
     
  1110. Ypsilanti joins busing consolidation plan
    "Ypsilanti Public Schools will join a countywide consolidated transportation plan headed by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District."
     
  1111. Joe Lehman Discusses the Overton Window on Glenn Beck's Radio Show
     
  1112. Lehman Discussing the Overton Window in Studio With Glenn Beck
     
  1113. MIRS Reports Huron Valley Schools Super Paid More Than $400k in Final Year of Employment

    "I question which individuals and bodies are responsible for this use of tax dollars and whether the Legislature and the public are aware that this is happening. Given the considerable concern over public expenditures in the current economic climate, I believe the facts of this case signal a need for legislative scrutiny."


     
  1114. East Lansing Should Look to China on Property Rights

    Chinese officials are considering rules that would make it more difficult for local government to seize property from individuals and turn it over to developers without at least compensating the property owners, according to a report in the May 27, 2010, edition of The New York Times. East Lansing officials may want to pay attention.


     
  1115. Michigan Capitol Confidential Praised

    A columnist in the Washington Examiner said Michigan Capitol Confidential "is providing a valuable service to news consumers" as "news coverage in the state capital dwindles."


     
  1116. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST June 8, 2010
     
  1117. Washtenaw school choice quadruples
    "The number of students who are assigned to one conventional public school district in Washtenaw County but choose to enroll in a different conventional district has quadrupled in the past eight years."
     
  1118. Mackinac Center President to Discuss Overton Window Theory on Glenn Beck’s Radio Show Wednesday

    MIDLAND — Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman is scheduled to appear live on The Glenn Beck Program during the 10 a.m. hour EDT (or second hour if tape delayed) on June 9 to discuss the Overton Window of Political Possibility, a theory created in the mid-1990s by Joseph P. Overton, the Center's late senior vice president. Beck's newest book is a work of fiction titled "The Overton Window," due to be released June 15. The program is carried on 400 stations nationwide, including 15 in Michigan.


     
  1119. Knockout Punch
     
  1120. Where the 'Overton Window' Came to Life
     
  1121. How the 'Overton Window' Is Used

    For years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy trained public policy experts on a theory of why some common sense solutions were not adopted by politicians.

    The theory is called the "Overton Window," named after then Mackinac Center Vice President Joe Overton, who died in a plane crash in 2003.


     
  1122. Throwing Down the Gauntlet

    Michigan would benefit from having a few elected officials with the nerve to issue the sort of challenge that Gov. Christie has made.


     
  1123. Adding private schools to the school choice debate
     
  1124. Poll: Merge high schools, maintain tax rate
    "More than three-quarters of Bloomfield Hills Public Schools residents who responded to a recent poll supported the idea of maintaining only one high school and keeping taxes at current levels."
     
  1125. Union PAC Money and Michigan's Members of Congress
     
  1126. 15 Specific Ideas to Move Michigan Forward
     
  1127. Analysis: MEDC Letter an Admission of Failure
     
  1128. How Michigan’s School Foundation Allowance Works
     
  1129. Michigan Taxpayers Have Already Made Compromises
     
  1130. More and More a Political Animal
     
  1131. Policy Analyst Reaction: How to Fix the Gulf Oil Spill
     
  1132. Civil Society
     
  1133. MichiganScience No. 14
    MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals.
     
  1134. Employee Records Hard to Come by at Mysterious State Child Care Agency
     
  1135. Noteworthy News You May Have Missed This Week
     
  1136. Retirement boost in Spring Lake
    "Teachers in Spring Lake Public Schools who agree to the latest retirement offer there could receive up to $25,000 from the district and a pension boost from the state."
     
  1137. Fact-Checking and Adding Context to the Governor’s Economic Diversity Speech

    In a speech on diversifying the state economy at the Mackinac Policy Conference today, Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated that diversification efforts through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. have brought 919 "companies or expansions" to Michigan. She also stated that health care is the state's largest industry. One claim is without context and the other is incorrect.


     
  1138. MichiganVotes.org June 4 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1139. MEDC Letter an Admission of Failure

    On May 25, the executive committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. publicly cried foul over "unwarranted criticism" of the agency and warned that "political in-fighting" could hurt the state's business investment climate. But the criticism of the state's chief "jobs" department is not only warranted, it's overdue.


     
  1140. Analysis: The Underfunded Schools Myth
     
  1141. Court Asks for New Brief in Ann Arbor Firm's ObamaCare Case

    Just how much power Congress has to regulate commerce is at the core of the Thomas More Law Center's lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care legislation.

    The Commerce Clause is listed in the U.S. Constitution and gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. Just how expansive those rights are is an argument in the battle over the health care law.

    The dispute revolves around the individual mandate of the health care plan that states every U.S. citizen would have to have health insurance. The Thomas More Law Center believes this violates the commerce clause of the Constitution.


     
  1142. A Lasting Legacy
     
  1143. No agreement on education fix
    "Fixing education would go a long way toward fixing the Michigan economy, education officials said Thursday, but there appears to be little consensus on how to fix education."
     
  1144. States With More College Grads Don't Have Better Economies

    Evidence suggests that a single-minded focus on increasing the proportion of a state's population with college degrees is a dead end for improving the state's economy.


     
  1145. Changes in Brownfield Laws Will Help Michigan

    Michigan's brownfield contaminated site cleanup program, once considered by many to be the best in the nation, is today largely dysfunctional. The main problem is that it is nearly impossible to get closure — once you check in you can never check out. Businesses are reluctant to invest money to clean up contaminated sites when they are at the whim of state environmental regulators for a never ending series of additional cleanup requirements.


     
  1146. Flint imposes contract
    "The Flint Community Schools Board of Education has voted to implement a contract for teachers as of July 1, saying that negotiations with United Teachers of Flint have reached impasse."
     
  1147. Rich States and Poor States

    A study of how states are handling the economic crisis has Michigan as the worst in the country in economic performance for the third year in a row, but does offer some hope of improvement in the future.

    The study evaluated states based on their economic policies and looked at economic trends to come up with its rankings. The study, in its third year, was done by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit.


     
  1148. How Public School Funding Works
     
  1149. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Michigan Film Office

    The Michigan Film Office makes a breathtakingly broad claim of official government secrecy regarding a massive taxpayer money giveaway program, especially one that has proven in other states to be fertile ground for corruption.


     
  1150. The Underfunded Myth
     
  1151. Forced Unionization: Big Labor's Last Stand?

    In 1964, nearly half of Michigan's labor force was unionized. Based in a thriving auto industry, 44.8 percent of the state's workers belonged to unions, tops in the country.

    In 2009, that percentage dropped to 18.8 percent, according to www.Unionstats.com. The state has dropped to No. 6 in terms of the percentage of workers unionized.

    Some experts suggest that's the driving force behind the "stealth unionization" in Michigan to rope in sometimes unsuspecting independent contractors who watch children and the elderly and take state subsidies from low-income clients.


     
  1152. The Overton Window
     
  1153. Administrators retire, then return
    "School administrators in metro Detroit districts are considering whether to retire and then return to their jobs as independent contractors."
     
  1154. Michigan Department of Education Miscalculates Average Teacher Salary

    The Michigan Department of Education improperly calculated the average public school teacher salary in the state for the last six years, reporting figures significantly lower than what is correct. Corrected figures for the past two years were recently released.


     
  1155. A Tale of Two Counties

    Here we have two very similar, fairly wealthy counties; one engages in collective bargaining with its employees on rules similar to Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act, the other doesn’t. One is coping with the recession well, the other is struggling with political infighting. The implications for Michigan are hard to miss: A lot of local governments in Michigan would be better off without collective bargaining.


     
  1156. Government Secrecy Rules on $10 Million Film Studio Subsidy

    Hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being handed over by the state to these film studios, and when legitimate questions and concerns are raised the response from those in charge is, "Trust us. We know what's best for you." Voters and taxpayers shouldn't accept that, and neither should state legislators.


     
  1157. Tax Hikes Will Force More Michigan Residents Out

    Gov. Granholm's call to raise taxes yet again in order to fix the latest budget overspending crisis she and the Legislature have created will send more Michigan residents packing, according to this Op-Ed in The Oakland Press by Morey Fiscal Policy Director Michael LaFaive.


     
  1158. MEDC Failures Lead to Less Transparency

    The Michigan Economic Development Corp. creates more job announcements than jobs, Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, points out in this Lansing State Journal Op-Ed.


     
  1159. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST June 1, 2010
     
  1160. The Salary History of a Michigan Public School Teacher

    A Saline Public Schools teacher that was hired in 2009 would start with a salary of $40,425 and see it rise to $111,750 in the 15th year, an increase of 178 percent.

    The analysis of the hypothetical Saline teacher's career salary track was done by Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.


     
  1161. Paying Teachers Not to Teach

    At a recent rally where school employees called for an increase in state taxes, a representative of the Warren Education Association claimed that school revenues were in such disrepair that some students were having to go without desks. A spokesperson from Warren Consolidated schools denied this claim, but even if it were true, a few very minor policy changes well short of tax hikes would be all that is necessary pay for many new desks.


     
  1162. Union Leader's Claim of School Kids Sitting on Floors Draws More Denials
     
  1163. Warren Board Member: "MEA Will Eat Their Young"
     
  1164. Policy Analyst Reaction: The Teacher Salary Bailout
     
  1165. Teacher job bailout now uncertain
    "Despite heavy support from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, legislators may be backing away from a proposal to spend an additional $23 billion in federal funds on teacher jobs."
     
  1166. Critics Say Congressman McCotter Supports “Bailout” of Union Pensions

    Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, is one of just nine Republicans nationwide to co-sponsor legislation that seeks to bail out union pension funds and put taxpayers "on the hook for $165 billion in unfunded union pension liabilities," according to Americans for Limited Government. McCotter is also the only Michigan U.S. House member from either party to co-sponsor the bill, H.R. 3936, which was introduced by North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy and has 43 total co-sponsors.


     
  1167. Budget bills show per-pupil gap
    "The Michigan House and Senate will have to reconcile a $183-per-pupil disagreement over public school funding based on budget bills adopted by each."
     
  1168. Governor Declares Climate Action Council Dead

    Gov. Granholm is often quoted as saying: "I will go anywhere and do anything to create jobs in Michigan." She can start in Lansing by burying the recommendations of the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord along with the now defunct Michigan Climate Action Council.


     
  1169. MichiganVotes.org May 28 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1170. The Right's Partisan Oil Spill 'Gotchas' Misguided and Counterproductive

    It's pure mindless partisanship, and merely promotes the ideological hubris that Big Government (and the president) is God and and fix any problem. It (and he) are not: As Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said in quote repeated in the Wall Street Journal, "The government doesn't have everything we need to solve this problem."


     
  1171. Freedom of, not From, Information

    Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, explains in a Detroit Free Press Op-Ed today why the Mackinac Center and the Michigan Press Association jointly filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court in a Freedom of Information Act case stemming from e-mails and teachers union business in Howell Public Schools.


     
  1172. Paying Teachers Not to Teach

    At a recent rally where school employees called for an increase in state taxes, a representative of the Warren Education Association claimed that school revenues were in such disrepair that some students were having to go without desks. A spokesperson from Warren Consolidated schools denied this claim, but even if it were true, a few very minor policy changes well short of tax hikes would be all that is necessary pay for many new desks.


     
  1173. Michigan Department of Education Miscalculates Average Teacher Salary

    The Michigan Department of Education improperly calculated the average public school teacher salary in the state for the last six years, reporting figures significantly lower than what is correct. Corrected figures for the past two years were recently released.


     
  1174. Michigan Is Tops for Toughest Job Search

    The state of Michigan has another dubious distinction: It's tied with South Carolina as the hardest state in the country to find a job.

    A new study from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington, D.C., think tank, finds that it took 19.4 weeks in Michigan and South Carolina to find a job, the longest amount of time in the country. North Dakota was the shortest at 7.1 weeks.


     
  1175. Second ‘Race’ application wins union nod
    "Union support was much higher in the state's second application for Race to the Top federal grant funding, a fact expected to boost Michigan's chances of getting up to $400 million."
     
  1176. State Report Shows Status of State Employee Pension Plan Worst in 15 Years: Less Than 80% Funded, With More Than $3 Billion in Unfunded Liability

    MIDLAND — Richard C. Dreyfuss, an actuary and Mackinac Center adjunct scholar, today responded to new state data showing substantial unfunded liabilities in state employees' pension and retiree health care plans by calling on Michigan legislators to "address state employee retirement cost burdens now, rather than later, when they will become even worse."


     
  1177. Eradicating Jobs, Not CO2
     
  1178. Moss Message: What(s) a Job!
     
  1179. Media Missed Opportunity to Enlighten Public on Current Climate Change Science

    The Fourth Annual International Conference on Climate Change, held in Chicago May 16-18 and sponsored by The Heartland Institute, provided three days of news-intensive stories that should've taken precedence over nearly every other story of last week's news cycle.


     
  1180. Warren Schools: Plenty of Desks, But Not Enough Cost-Cutting?
     
  1181. Ferris charters virtual school
    "Ferris State University has granted a charter to Connections Academy of Baltimore to operate a K-12 virtual school in Michigan, The Grand Rapids Press reported. The Academy manages 17 cyber schools in 15 states."
     
  1182. Economic Opportunity Needs a Moral Dimension
     
  1183. Federal Regulators Harming Environment in Gulf Oil Spill

    The Gulf oil spill has demonstrated federal environmental officials left on their own will make decisions that defy common sense and logic. Guidance from the Obama administration is sorely needed.


     
  1184. More Information Trickles Out Regarding Hangar42

    Grand Rapids Press reporter Chris Knape continues to dig into the questions raised by the Mackinac Center about a potential $10 million subsidy for a film studio infrastructure project called Hangar42.


     
  1185. Michigan Teacher Pay Tops in the Nation

    Michigan public school teachers are the highest paid in the country when compared to state wealth, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.


     
  1186. Statewide Media Respond to MEDC Complaints Over Criticism of its Failures

    A columnist for Michigan Business Review says the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s complaints about critics who point out the agency's failures is a "highly unusual move."


     
  1187. Media Covers Grand Rapids Movie Studio Deal After Mackinac Center Analysts Release Results of Months-Long Investigation

    Grand Rapids-area media have picked up on the story of unanswered questions involving the Michigan Film Office, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a movie studio that Mackinac Center analysts uncovered.


     
  1188. Granholm Group Promotes Controversial Green Activist

    The Granholm Leadership Fund, a political action committee started by the governor, is promoting an event for controversial former White House advisor, Van Jones.


     
  1189. Embattled Agency in Charge of Special Tax Favors Snaps at Critics

    The state's flagship job creation agency made a plea to the media and legislators to stop "unwarranted criticism" against it and said attacks on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will undermine the state's efforts to attract businesses.

    The MEDC's open letter comes after some recent embarrassing disclosures, including a tax credit approved for a convicted embezzler and a state audit that found the MEDC awarded tax credits to companies for jobs that weren't created.


     
  1190. Senator suggests pay-to-learn
    "The idea of paying students to perform well in school is getting mixed reviews in Detroit, as the state senator who proposed it says it could motivate students to learn while others say it sends the wrong message."
     
  1191. Private schools cope with weak economy
     
  1192. Deadlines Loom for Ballot Drives

    Today marks the end of the first statewide petition drive for proposed initiatives. Unlike most states, Michigan has two petition drive deadlines: one for initiatives that amend the state constitution and another for proposed state statutes.


     
  1193. Stop Pointing Out Our Failures, Says MEDC

    After awarding $9 million in tax credits to a convicted felon and a report that showed it only helped create 18,000 jobs in 11 years, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. today issued a press release saying it is "deeply concerned" over "unwarranted criticism," according to annarbor.com.


     
  1194. The Constitutional Convention Begins

    Today marks the 223rd anniversary of the beginning of the Constitutional Convention. Wesley Reynolds, a Mackinac Center operations intern, writes about on his blog, "Landmarks of Liberty."


     
  1195. When Enough Really Isn't Enough

    The Michigan Education Association teachers union held protests around the state Monday behind a rallying cry of "Enough is Enough" and claiming there are "constant" cuts to education funding, according to WILX, even though the numbers are not on their side.


     
  1196. Editorial: Privatization Saves Schools Money

    An editorial in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot advocates a position that Mackinac Center analysts have known for years — school privatization saves money.


     
  1197. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST May 25, 2010
     
  1198. Supreme Court to hear education tax credit case
    "The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the future of an Arizona program allowing tax credits for private and parochial school scholarships."
     
  1199. A Law Unto Itself

    Whether the standards that the community establishes for police officers be strict or lenient, the setting and enforcement of standards for police conduct is a duty that must be performed by local officials under the scrutiny of citizens themselves.  Oversight of law enforcement is a role that should never be bargained with a union or delegated to arbitration.


     
  1200. State Taxpayers Eat $350K Loan for East Lansing Property Purchase

    The way Phil Bellfy sees it, it may not be illegal, but that doesn't make it right.

    Bellfy is a Michigan State University professor and vocal critic of an East Lansing Downtown Development Authority deal he says doesn't smell right.


     
  1201. Port Huron Teacher Contract: Summary and Analysis

    In the Port Huron Area School District, about 70 percent of the $106 million operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by current collective bargaining agreements for teachers and a few other employee groups. Yet few people know what is in these or other school labor contracts.


     
  1202. Analysis: State's Decision to Deny Wolverine Power Plant Smacks of a Double Standard
     
  1203. New Facts Exposed in Hangar42 Investigation

    In following up on questions raised by an ongoing Mackinac Center investigation, Grand Rapids Press reporter Chris Knape added two facts to the pattern of information so far known about the proposed Hangar42 film subsidy deal.


     
  1204. Buena Vista on ‘restructure’ list
    "Consistently poor academic performance will require Buena Vista High School to be "restructured," though officials aren't saying exactly how."
     
  1205. Lawmaker's Facebook Fans Get Blow-by-Blow Stories of His Votes

    The Facebook postings sometime show up just minutes apart. But it's not from a heart-broken teen posting about a fractured relationship.

    State Rep. Justin Amash is using social networking to lift the cover on the inside maneuverings of the bill-making business at the state Capitol. Amash, a Republican from Kentwood, is giving his 5,000-plus Facebook fans the type of insight you'd expect from a political newsletter.

    He can make as many as 20 to 30 posts a day during a legislative session as he explains each bill he is voting on, how he is voting and why.


     
  1206. Clear Conclusions from a Muddy Report on Michigan Tax Burdens
     
  1207. Reports vary on higher education staffing
    "In separate reports about higher education staffing, a Michigan newspaper says that more colleges and universities are reducing faculty while another report says total higher education employment is stable even in light of the recession."
     
  1208. Michigan Tea Party Convention Proposed
     
  1209. New Type of "Renaissance Zone": Real Estate Development Bailout Zones

    From MichiganVotes.org:

    2010 House Bill 6180 (Create "uncompleted subdivision" renaissance tax break zones)

    Introduced by Rep. Jim Slezak (D) on May 18, 2010,to authorize the extensive tax breaks and exemptions of a “renaissance zone” for up to 10 particular subdivisions started before the subprime/housing crash, that benefited from a local property tax special assessment levied to pay debt service on money borrowed by the local government to build infrastructure for the subdivision, and which now are only 20 percent completed. “Renaissance zone” status means that businesses and individuals within the zone are essentially exempt from all state and local taxes.

    See also House Bill 6181, which creates a state revolving loan fund to bail out the local governments that aren't collecting the special assessment revenue they were counting on to pay the debt on the infrastructure projects. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. McDowell, Denby, Rogers, Marleau, Walsh and Daley.


     
  1210. Some say retirement plan won’t help much
    "A new school employee retirement plan probably won't bring much extra money into Livingston County schools."
     
  1211. Stealth Unionization Plot Survives Another Attempt to Kill It
     
  1212. MichiganVotes.org May 21 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1213. State's Decision to Deny Wolverine Power Plant Smacks of a Double Standard

    The Department of Natural Resources and Environment today announced the denial of the permit to install applied for by Wolverine Power Supply to build a new 600 megawatt coal fired power plant near Rogers City.


     
  1214. Service Tax Not Supported by Facts

    Revenue from Michigan's sales tax is expected to be down just 1 percent this year, which is one more reason why talk among legislators about expanding it to services is a bad idea, Fiscal Policy Analyst James Hohman writes in this Oakland Press Op-Ed.


     
  1215. Fake Tea Brewing

    A movement to start a third party called "Tea Party" that doesn't have the support of the tea party movement will not work, a long-time Democrat consultant said Thursday.

    Mark Grebner, a Democrat Ingham County Commissioner who runs Practical Political Consulting in East Lansing, called the effort "sneaky" and said it didn't have the front people to gain acceptance among the voters.

    Earlier this week, Republican strategist Chetly Zarko uncovered a petition drive underway to create a third party called the "Tea Party." The petition drive has upset tea party officials who say they want no such thing.


     
  1216. Two languages, two cultures, one global citizen
     
  1217. Catholic schools to share staff
    "Administrators and staff at two Catholic high schools in Grand Rapids will consolidate this fall, but the schools will not merge."
     
  1218. Hangar42 Studios' Incentives Raise Questions
     
  1219. Homestead Act of 1862: America's Grandest Privatization Act

    Although distinctly a political act of war, Abraham Lincoln's Homestead Act encouraged the American dream of personal responsibility and right to property independent of government for over 100 years.


     
  1220. Risk Assessment: Parts I-IV
     
  1221. School aid fund has unexpected surplus
    "Surplus money in the School Aid Fund makes it likely that public school districts will not see reductions in the 2011 education budget, but neither should they expect reimbursements for this year's $165-per-pupil cut."
     
  1222. Hoekstra Is Only Above-Average GOP U.S. Rep. on 'Pro-Growth' Congressional Scorecard

    In the free-market Club for Growth's just-released 2009 Congressional Scorecard, the average score for Michigan's Republican members of Congress is more than a dozen percentage points below the average score of 82.7 percent posted by all GOP members in Congress.


     
  1223. Film Noir
     
  1224. Hangar42 Studios' Incentives Raise Questions
     
  1225. Funding Questions Surround Hangar42 Studios Deal, According to Center Analyst

    MIDLAND — Recent data compiled by the National Education Association shows that average salaries for Michigan public school teachers from 2003 to 2009 outpaced those of teachers in all other states when factoring in states' per capita personal income levels, according to analysis by Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek.


     
  1226. Cap-and-Trade: A Thorning Subject

    Last week, Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced the American Power Act, (Full text, section-by-section summary) the latest version of federal cap-and-trade legislation. Watch this Mackinac Center video to hear what impact this legislation would have on Michigan's economy.


     
  1227. Center Analyst's Research, Commentary Attract Attention

    Analysis and commentary by Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek figured prominently into media coverage of teacher salaries and health care recently.


     
  1228. Analysis: Great Lakes Wind Development Too Risky
     
  1229. The School Employee Concession Myth
     
  1230. Strings May Be Attached When a Politician Has the Union Label
     
  1231. Mixed voting seen on second ‘Race’
    "Dowagiac Union Schools will not sign off on the second round of the "Race to the Top" competition, while school districts in Midland and Hancock will."
     
  1232. Great Lakes Wind Development Too Risky

    Constructing hundreds of wind turbines in the water, each approaching 400 feet in height with blades as long as 70 feet, would transform the scenic vistas of the Great Lakes into one of an industrial complex. Hardly "pure Michigan."


     
  1233. Michigan Teacher Salaries Highest in Nation When Compared to Relative Wealth of States

    Teacher salaries in Michigan rank first in the nation when compared against relative state wealth, The Bay City Times reported. This despite claims by the Michigan Education Association that school personnel have made $1 billion in concessions over the past three years.


     
  1234. Debate Workshops 2010
     
  1235. Center Analyst Details Massive Personnel Costs For Port Huron Area School District Budget

    Personnel costs, primarily for salaries, insurance and retirement benefits, eat up 85 percent of the Port Huron Area School District's budget, according to this contract analysis by Mike Van Beek, education policy director, that appeared in today's Port Huron Times Herald.


     
  1236. Analysis: Will (and Can) the FCC Regulate the Internet?
     
  1237. Commentary: Crony Capitalism at the State Capitol

    The people who own a Michigan insurance company have been effectively deprived of their power to sell their own investment under a new law hurriedly introduced and overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature this spring. Fearing that they could not stop the owner-investors of Fremont Insurance from selling it to another company, the politically well-connected board of directors has decided to keep control in their hands by changing state law. Frank Kavanaugh, a stockholder with over $3 million invested in Fremont, says this decision by his own employees is akin to "investing in protection and influence instead of the success and growth of the business."

    Another term for it is "crony capitalism" — when business and politicians gang up to thwart the marketplace and the rule of law.


     
  1238. Average Teacher Salaries in Michigan Highest in the Nation When Compared to Relative State Wealth

    MIDLAND — Recent data compiled by the National Education Association shows that average salaries for Michigan public school teachers from 2003 to 2009 outpaced those of teachers in all other states when factoring in states' per capita personal income levels, according to analysis by Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Michael Van Beek.


     
  1239. The School Employee Concession Myth
     
  1240. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST May 18, 2010
     
  1241. Reading 'proficiency' varies by test
    "While Michigan's own standardized testing program showed that reading scores were up in 2009, a national report says that Michigan trails other states in teaching its children to read well by fourth grade."
     
  1242. Teachers Union Isn't Pulling Its Own Weight When Making Concessions

    Although the Utica Education Association consumes 70 percent of the district's budget, it just agreed to concessions worth only 18 percent of what's needed to keep the district in the black.


     
  1243. Google Jobs Lacking, Yet Some Locals Still Consider It a 'Badge of Honor' for Ann Arbor

    In 2006, Google's announcement that it was opening an AdWords office in Ann Arbor was trumpeted as the start of the transformation of a suffering Michigan economy.

    The Michigan Economic Development Corp. lured the Internet giant to Ann Arbor with a 20-year tax credit valued at more than $38 million. The city of Ann Arbor also gave it up to 400 free parking spaces for four years in a city where parking spots are much in demand. Based on current costs for a spot in an Ann Arbor parking structure, the parking deal would be worth $633,600 a year to Google if all the spots are used.

    For that lucrative deal, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Google would bring in 1,000 direct and 1,200 spinoff jobs in its first five years.  An MEDC press release stated, "Granholm said the Google decision is just the latest evidence that her economic recovery plan is beginning to deliver dividends of increased investment by high-tech companies that mean well-paying jobs for Michigan."

    Yet, four years into the deal, few of the parties involved in the deal will talk about Google's performance in job creation since the announcement.


     
  1244. Chetly Zarko v. Howell Education Association

    (Editor's note: This case resulted in a disastrous Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that held that the emails sought under a Freedom of Information Act request were essentially personal records, not public records, and therefore beyond the reach of FOIA. The decision severely weakened the state’s FOIA law and thwarted disclosure of improper activity by public employees. Because the Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of the decision, the ruling can be corrected now only by the Legislature or by the Michigan Supreme Court in a future case.)

    A lower court's interpretation of what constitutes a "public record" under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act would shield criminal and other improper government activities from public scrutiny, according to this "friend of the court" brief jointly submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Press Association.

    Click here to download the PDF of this amicus brief. This news release explains the context of the case.

    Following the filing of this brief, the Mackinac Center and MPA have submitted two supplemental briefs to the Court. The first alerted the Court to a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is relevant to this case. The second supplemental brief brings up recent examples of how the Appeals Court’s disastrous ruling has been used by school districts to deny FOIA requests and potentially hide improper activities. Read the news release for more information.

    The Mackinac Center's original amicus brief for the Appeals Court hearing of this case, then named Howell Education Association v. Howell Board of Education, is available here.


     
  1245. Audit reveals larger deficit
    "An audit shows the East Detroit Public Schools Board of Education did not intentionally adopt a deficit budget for 2009-2010 — which is a violation of state law — but did so because their top officials handled finances so poorly."
     
  1246. Defending Freedom ... of Information
     
  1247. Tea Party Group Moving from Protests to Election Action
     
  1248. 'Why would investors allocate capital in a state that deprives them of their rights?'

    "If the Michigan Legislature is going to interfere to deprive shareholders of the option to remove directors of public companies domiciled in Michigan whenever their boards are challenged, why would investors allocate capital in a state that deprives them of their rights?"
    Press Release from Biglari Holdings, as reported by MIRS News

    Maybe the lawmakers who voted "yes" on 2010 Senate Bill 1174, now Public Act 61 of 2010, have an answer: Senate Roll Call Vote, House Roll Call Vote.

    The bill changed the rules of corporate governance in the middle of the game so as to benefit the politically well connected president of a Michigan insurance company against the will of a majority of the shareholders. Legislators may not know how to respond Bigliari's question ("We're sorry?"), but these comments from Larry the Liquidator suggest that he and other investors will know:


     
  1249. Michigan Restaurants Fear Tax Hike on Drinks
     
  1250. "No Justice Loot, No Peace?"
    From MichiganVotes.org:

    2010 House Bill 6155 (Require MDOT and local government "community benefit" agreements)
    Introduced by Rep. Coleman Young (D) on May 10, 2010, to require the Department of Transportation to enter "community benefits" agreements with local governments and/or "community representatives" (presumably from labor, environmental, and faith-based organizations, although the term is not defined) when undertaking large projects (such as the new Detroit River International Crossing or "DRIC"). The bill suggests that such “benefits” might include such things as paying higher-than-market wages on projects, increased state spending for additional welfare-like benefits in the area such as subsidized housing or health services, plus subsidies to local businesses, new recreational or other facilities, etc. They might also include additional state spending on environmental or aesthetic impact mitigations such as buffers, sound walls, etc. See also House Bill 6128
     

  1251. Districts may hire drivers through firm
    "Eight Muskegon area school districts are considering hiring Michigan Education Transportation Services to provide bus drivers, a move that could save districts anywhere from 5 percent to 61 percent of current transportation costs."
     
  1252. 'Out of Balance' and Bad at Math

    A new paper from the National Institute on Retirement Security uses convoluted calculations to argue that public-sector employees receive wages that are 11 percent to 12 percent below private-sector averages. When calculated in a straightforward way, however, the alleged wage disparity disappears.


     
  1253. MichiganVotes.org May 14 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week, MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate.


     
  1254. The Great Early Education Gamble

    Another study castes doubts on what many are hoping will save Michigan's economy: schooling for 4-year-olds.


     
  1255. Day Care Union Case: Update at the Supreme Court
     
  1256. Senate Seeks Another Way to Kill Forced Unionization of Child Care Providers

    After a first attempt by politicians to defund a state organization failed, the state Senate is now taking its turn at trying to get rid of the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council (MHBCCC).

    A Senate subcommittee approved language that would stop the Department of Human Services from finding money to give to the MHBCCC. The appropriations committee tried last year to cut the money to the council, but the DHS found money elsewhere from within its budget to keep it alive.


     
  1257. Utica Teacher Contract: Summary and Analysis
     
  1258. Teachers face retirement choices
    "Following action by the state Legislature early today, thousands of Michigan school employees now must decide whether to retire this summer with higher pension benefits or remain on the job and contribute more to a retiree health care plan."
     
  1259. New York Times Addresses UAW/Big 3 Issue That Center Analyst Addressed Five Weeks Ago

    The New York Times has addressed an issue Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey first wrote about more than a month ago — that of the union's demands for an end to concessions despite being the beneficiary of GM and Chrysler bankruptcy restructuring.


     
  1260. Linden reopener depends on MEA
    "Support staff employees in Linden Community Schools are willing to consider concessions as a way to protect jobs, but the Michigan Education Association will have final say on whether the local can reopen its contract."
     
  1261. No Audits for Ten Years on Companies Getting Special Tax Breaks from State
     
  1262. Moss Message: Champagne Bubbles

    "More revenue." "Stable source of funding." "Increased investment." These are the phrases we're hearing these days, to justify higher taxes. So is there a genuine revenue need that would justify the extra tax burden? Advocates for government programs are passionate — K-12 public school advocates particularly. They say that their areas are investment, and more resources are needed. Are they? The first question should be: What are you doing with the money you already get? Advocates point all around, but the answer, particularly for K-12 public schools, is stunning. Their income is locked in labor costs.


     
  1263. Film Industry in Michigan Hits Another Snag

    The News cites research by James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst, which shows Michigan film jobs have decreased despite the state handing out millions of dollars in subsidies to movie makers.


     
  1264. Teacher Retirement Plan Getting Expensive

    Today's editorial in The Detroit News is titled "Reforming education retirement benefits has turned into money grab" and both cites and draws heavily from this Michigan Capitol Confidential article by Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst.


     
  1265. Mackinac Center, MPA Protecting FOIA

    The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation and the Michigan Press Association jointly filed an amicus brief at the Michigan Supreme Court seeking to protect the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.


     
  1266. Utica Teachers Agree to Concessions

    Mike Van Beek, education policy director, recently wrote this analysis of the UCS teachers' contract, a version of which appeared in the print edition of the Macomb Daily over the weekend.


     
  1267. Average Teacher Salaries Continue to Rise

    A new report from the Michigan Department of Education shows that average teacher salaries in Michigan grew by 3 percent to $58,721 in 2009. However, the average salary for unionized teachers in conventional school districts (93 percent of all teachers) was $62,556.


     
  1268. School Union Brags of Ballot Box Revenge Against Outsourcing

    Last year, Paul Mayers was a school custodian employed by the Durand Area Public Schools. But in December, Mayers' job was outsourced to PCMI, which hired him back at the same salary wage but reduced benefits.

    This month, Mayers ran for the school board and won. He takes office July 1.

    His victory sets up an interesting scenario involving unions and their opposition to outsourcing at public schools.


     
  1269. Even at Michigan Supreme Court, State Continues to Duck Central Question of Whether Home-Based Day Care Providers Are Government Employees

    MIDLAND — In a filing yesterday with the Michigan Supreme Court in the lawsuit Loar v. DHS, Mackinac Center attorney Patrick J. Wright lodged a response to a Department of Human Services brief that he later described as a "thin hodge-podge of technicalities." The filing by Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, called on the Supreme Court to immediately rule in favor of the home day care business owners the Mackinac Center represents in the case.


     
  1270. Utica teachers agree to freeze
    "Utica Community Schools teachers will forego raises for one year and chip in toward their health insurance coverage under a contract extension approved by the district and the Utica Education Association."
     
  1271. How School Funding Works: Myths About Michigan’s Foundation Allowance
     
  1272. Michigan Unemployment Woes Continue Despite Millions Spent on 'Economic Growth'

    MEGA continues to be ineffective.


     
  1273. House Resolution a Poor Substitute for Veto Power

    Anyone who is concerned about protecting the Great Lakes from diversions should be worried when the state Legislature has to resort to a non-binding House Concurrent Resolution as a last line of defense against large scale diversions from Lake Michigan.


     
  1274. Staying on Unemployment

    Generous unemployment benefits and extensions could be causing people to illegally turn down job offers, according to The Detroit News.


     
  1275. An Expensive Pension Deal for Westland Police Officers and Firefighters
     
  1276. News Release: Mackinac Center, Michigan Press Association Ask Michigan Supreme Court to Overturn Ruling That Would ‘Gut’ State’s Freedom of Information Act

    MIDLAND — A lower court's interpretation of what constitutes a "public record" under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act would shield criminal and other improper government activities from public scrutiny, according to an amicus brief jointly submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court today by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Press Association.


     
  1277. Lawmaker Says $150 Million in Unearned Tax Credits Given Out by State

    A state house committee is looking into an Auditor General's report that the state's flagship economic development program may have given out an estimated $150 million in tax credits erroneously.

    The State House Tax Policy Committee will hold a hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday on the audit of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority program.

    The MEGA gives out tax credits to approved businesses for jobs they create.


     
  1278. Challenger Takes on Sander Levin

    Last year, Don Volaric offered his expertise in the insurance business to U.S. Congressman Sander Levin.

    Volaric, who owns a small health insurance agency, was upset about what he said was incorrect information on health care coming from both parties. Levin was his congressman.

    "They said, 'Thanks but no thanks,' " said Volaric.

    Now, Volaric has decided to run against Levin in the 12th Congressional District, which is north of Detroit and includes Southfield, Warren and Clinton Township.


     
  1279. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST May 11, 2010
     
  1280. Custodians agree to concessions
    "Ann Arbor Public Schools custodial and maintenance workers agreed to lower wages, less vacation time and higher health insurance payments in their most recent contract agreement with the district, which now will retain the 164 workers and their seven supervisors rather than outsource the work."
     
  1281. Primary Candidate Listing for 2010
     
  1282. Average Teacher Salaries Continue to Rise

    A new report from the Michigan Department of Education shows that average teacher salaries in Michigan grew by 3 percent to $58,721 in 2009. However, the average salary for unionized teachers in conventional school districts (93 percent of all teachers) was $62,556.


     
  1283. Opinion: 'Evil Party and Stupid Party' at Work on School Pension Reform

    There are good reasons why so many Americans are disgusted by the current state of politics, and a story in today's MichiganCapitolConfidential.com captures many of them. It describes progress in the Legislature of a modest school employee pension reform proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Here's the gist: Most Democratic and many Republican lawmakers are self-interestedly serving the system, not the people. 

  1284. Analysis: Senate GOP Fumbles, May Approve $25.9 Billion Taxpayer Liability to Satisfy MEA
     
  1285. Audit: Extra high school money had little effect
    "The Michigan Department of Education spent more than $67 million to help low-performing high schools meet federal academic achievement goals from 2005 to 2009, but to almost no effect."
     
  1286. Michigan’s Best State Laws
     
  1287. Fuzzy Film Math
     
  1288. Law would allow algebra substitutes
    "Michigan lawmakers have adopted legislation under which high school students would not have to take algebra II in order to graduate, as long as they take statistics, data analysis or some other substitute class."
     
  1289. Government Pay Growth Outpaces Private Sector
     
  1290. Bobb wins in court — for now
    "An appeals court has cleared the way for Robert Bobb, emergency fiscal manager of Detroit Public Schools, to continue an overhaul of the district's academic program and facilities, but opponents say they will try again to block his plan."
     
  1291. Michigan Pension Fund Shortfall $11.5 Billion, Not $51.3 Billion

    News reports often refer to the larger figure in the headline as the amount of underfunding in Michigan state and school employee pension funds.


     
  1292. Newspapers Editorialize Against Deposit Bill

    Both editorials cite this recent blog post by Russ Harding, senior environmental policy analyst, in which he deemed the bill the "Newspaper Death Act."


     
  1293. Rate hike takes up most of savings
    "Teachers in Montabella Community Schools agreed to higher deductibles and co-pays as a way to bring down health insurance costs, only to learn that their insurance administrator will raise premium rates by about 15 percent in the coming year."
     
  1294. Climate Accountability Act Needed in Michigan
     
  1295. Analysis: Time to Abandon Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord
     
  1296. MichCapCon.com Flashback: Total Recall
     
  1297. Fleeing Michigan: Whose Number Is Correct?

    Michigan GOP candidates for governor are starting to often use a statistic about the exodus of residents from Michigan. It purports to show the rate at which people are leaving.

    Rick Snyder, a GOP candidate for governor, has it on his website that every 12 minutes, a family leaves Michigan.

    Mike Bouchard, another gubernatorial Republican candidate said Saturday in Clarkston, "Every 12 minutes, someone leaves this state."

    Where did the statistic come from? Is it a "family" or a "person"?


     
  1298. Stock Market Drop Harbinger of Things to Come?

    Senior economist David Littmann told The Oakland Press that Thursday's large stock market drop is an indication the United States could face a "very, very serious secondary recession."


     
  1299. Time to Abandon Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord

    Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, has introduced a resolution that would withdraw Michigan from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.


     
  1300. Taxing Times

    Politicians raiding various pots of tax money to fix their self-created overspending crises and balance the state budget have left certain line items short, according to this Detroit News editorial.


     
  1301. Center Attorney to Discuss Day Care Union E-mails

    Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, is scheduled to be on The Frank Beckmann Show on WJR-AM760 at 9:19 a.m. to discuss several e-mails that shed light on how 40,000 home-based day care owners were shanghaied into a union despite being small-business owners.


     
  1302. 'No Comment' from Day Care Union Lawyer on E-Mails, Senate Hearing
     
  1303. The Economic Punishment Agency

    If President Barack Obama can't get his controversial "cap-and-trade" energy legislation passed, some experts feel he'll turn to the Environmental Protection Agency to get the same results.


     
  1304. Northwest considers privatization
    "The superintendent of Northwest Community Schools says that privatizing custodial and transportation services could save the district about $1 million in 2010-2011, but support service workers have asked the board not to outsource."
     
  1305. 'Detroitification' Threatens Los Angeles — and Michigan Public Schools

    Los Angeles' looming bankruptcy was caused by the same process of "Detroitification" that plagues Michigan: A political class progressively hollowing out the private economy to prop up the perks and privileges of an unsustainable government establishment.


     
  1306. 'No Comment' from Day Care Union Lawyer on E-Mails, Senate Hearing

    On Monday, a Michigan Capitol Confidential story brought to light a series of e-mails between Nick Ciaramitaro, director of legislation and public policy for AFSCME Council 25, and representatives from the Michigan Department of Human Services and the Michigan Home-Based Child Care Council (MHBCCC).


     
  1307. Comments on 'Out of Balance: Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20 Years'
     
  1308. Millage results vary by region
    "Voters in Metro Detroit turned down several school millage requests Tuesday, while those in the Lansing area approved them."
     
  1309. Newspaper Death Act
     
  1310. House Votes to Temporarily Trim Legislative Employee Benefits

    A bill that would temporarily trim the taxpayer-provided 401(k) matching payments for employees of the Michigan Legislature was overwhelmingly approved on April 21, on a vote of 91-17. Just three Republicans voted against the measure, along with fourteen Democrats. A similar proposal that applies to the lawmakers themselves was approved on a vote of 99-9, with Democrats providing all nine "no" votes.


     
  1311. I Am SFE
     
  1312. Taxpayers Are Not Sheep, Part II

    People often respond to government-generated disincentives such as high taxes by voting with their feet, migrating to places with greater economic freedom and opportunity.


     
  1313. Leaders of the PAC

    What happens when school employee groups are pitted against each other? Usually, the teachers are the champs.


     
  1314. Newspaper Death Act

    What possible benefit to the public could there be in requiring a newspaper deposit?


     
  1315. Center Issues & Ideas Forum on Environment and Economics

    At a Mackinac Center forum on April 29, Dr. Margaret Thorning discussed the impact cap-and-trade and other climate change legislation would have on Michigan's economy. Earlier that day, Thorning and Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst, were guests on The Frank Beckmann Show on WJR-AM760.


     
  1316. Center Expert Explains School Funding Increases

    Michael Van Beek, director of education policy, corrects a common myth about school funding in "Special Report: The Changing Face of Education in Michigan," by WILX-TV in Lansing.


     
  1317. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST May 4, 2010
     
  1318. GVSU approves first virtual charter school
    "Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, the state's first online charter public school, will open this fall with up to 400 kindergarten through eighth-grade students."
     
  1319. Taxpayers Are Not Sheep Lining up to Be Sheared

    Notwithstanding the claims of many tax-friendly Lansing politicians and their government employee union patrons, it appears that taxation really does matter.


     
  1320. Michigan Tax Burden Grows Despite Claims to the Contrary

    Per capita figures make Michigan seem worse off by comparison to other states since population is less responsive to economic changes than are tax revenues. Still, Michigan's per capita tax burden increased over the past decade.


     
  1321. Michigan Service Tax Defended by Phantom Facts
     
  1322. Bills Swap Selective Business Tax Breaks for Broad-Based Relief

    A package of 17 bills sponsored by State Rep. Justin Amash would eliminate or reduce targeted business tax breaks in favor of across-the-board business tax relief. The idea is to minimize state interference in business by preventing government planners from handing out special favors to a favored few, while simultaneously granting a measure of relief to all MBT payers. After all, if tax cuts create economy- and job-boosting "incentives" for a few hundred firms selected by government "economic development" officials, won't lower taxes do the same the 100,000-plus firms who get no special treatment?


     
  1323. Bobb says Teach for America returning to DPS
    "Teach for America will return to Detroit Public Schools this fall, according to DPS emergency financial manager Robert Bobb, but the teachers union president has called the announcement premature."
     
  1324. Tea Party Quotables...

    Anecdotes and snippets from the Americans for Prosperity "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Clarkston on Saturday.


     
  1325. The Paying Class vs. the Government Class
     
  1326. Michigan’s Gift to Texas? People
     
  1327. Michigan's Newest Accidental Activists

    Most Tea Party activists didn't plan to take on their role, and many are brand new to politics — literally accidental activists created by the times, rather than their passion for politics.

    Aside from voting regularly, business owner Ben DiPonio of Milford says he wasn't ever anyone's definition of a political activist. But as the train to federalized health care clattered clumsily to the president's desk earlier this year, a frustrated DiPonio, 64, found himself repeatedly screaming at his television. His wife Joanne told him to either shut it off, or do something about it.

    The Italian immigrant, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1982, decided to do something, and attended his first Tea Party at the state capitol last month.

    What was just yelling at the TV a few weeks ago is now the Tea Party Patriots of West Oakland County.


     
  1328. E-mails Reveal Child Care Union All About the Money

     

    The organization set up as the employer of 40,000 home-based day care workers, some of whom were unionized without their knowledge, was a union-driven experiment without legal or administrative precedence that had the support of the state's Executive Office, according to a batch of e-mails involving union members and the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council.

     


     
  1329. Berrien Springs partners with home-schoolers
    "Following a successful year in forensics, Berrien Springs Public Schools wants to expand its partnership program with home-school families, Superintendent Jim Bermingham told the school board recently."
     
  1330. MEA Wounds Governor’s School Pension Reform
     
  1331. The Michigan Tax Burden: Growing or Falling?
     
  1332. Palin Tells Michigan Crowd: "Don't Retreat - Reload!"

    When Sarah Palin was told to leave Michigan in 2008 when her running mate John McCain pulled the plug on their presidential campaign in this state, Palin said she was shocked.

    On Saturday, she told a crowd of 1,400 in Clarkston it definitely wasn't her idea and she paid a political price for saying so.

    Palin was the keynote speaker Saturday at Americans for Prosperity's Defending the American Dream Summit at Mt. Zion Church in Clarkston.


     
  1333. GOP Gov Candidates Kick Around Issues at Debate

    Three of the top GOP candidates for governor had a debate Saturday at the Americans for Prosperity summit in Clarkston.

    Attorney General Mike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and U.S. Congressman Peter Hoekstra all squared off for a 90-minute debate. AFP spokespeople said missing candidate Rick Snyder was also invited but wasn't present.

    Here's the topics and each candidate's response.


     
  1334. MichiganVotes.org April 30 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and/or interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate. To find out who your state Senator is and how to contact him or her go here; for state Representatives go here.

    Vote 1 of 4 in this report:
    Senate Bill 1227, School employee pension reform package, passed in the House (59 to 45)
    The House version of a school employee pension reform package proposed by Gov. Granholm. As in the Governor's and Senate-passed versions, this one would increase school employee contributions to their post-retirement benefits by 3 percent. However, it would use the money to pay for retiree health care benefits, rather than bolster the underfunded pension fund or reduce school district contributions. It would also increase by 13.3 percent the cash pension benefits of certain school employees who retire by July 1 (twice the amount the governor proposed); force all charter school employees into the conventional schools' traditional pension system; and allow some "retired" teachers to collect a pension while continuing to work. Finally, a slightly less generous system for new hires proposed by the Governor is not included in the House version.

    Complete Roll Call Vote Tally


     
  1335. Cherry Picking: More Day Care Union Connections?

    Coincidence? Perhaps. But these ever-emerging connections deserve attention when representatives from the Michigan Home-Based Child Care Council, the DHS, the union and the administration remain tight-lipped about the origin and purpose of this entire operation.


     
  1336. School taxes on Tuesday ballot
    "A number of Detroit area public school districts will ask voters Tuesday to approve higher taxes for school improvements."
     
  1337. Michigan’s Tax and Business Incentive Climate
     
  1338. Special Deals Yield Far Fewer Jobs Than Projected

    About nine months before an Auditor General's report questioned the accuracy of job projections in tax incentives handed to companies by the state, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy did its own study highlighting the problem.

    The Mackinac Center study states that for every 1,000 jobs companies projected they would create, about 294 jobs were actually created, on average — about 29 percent.

    That report was vindicated by the Auditor General report that was released April 23. The report looked at company projections from 2005 through 2007 and concluded that about 28 percent of projected jobs came to fruition.


     
  1339. Zombie State Agency Finally Talks to Lawmakers

    Tuesday's committee hearing gave senators a chance to quiz the MHBCCC about its purpose, its creation through an interlocal agreement between the Department of Human Services and Mott Community College, and the big question: the council's relationship with the Child Care Providers-Together Michigan or CCPTM, the so-called "day care union."

    The testimony disclosed at least one unexpected revelation.


     
  1340. MEA Wounds Governor’s School Pension Reform

    This year, Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed requiring that school and state employees contribute an additional 3 percent of their pay into their traditional "defined benefits" pension fund, in return for a 6.6 percent early retirement pension benefit "sweetener." This week, the House of Representatives passed its version of the proposal, Senate Bill 1227, which was loaded down with "poison pills" and costly giveaways to unionized school employees, presumably extracted by the politically powerful Michigan Education Association union. These may cause the measure to actually increase school expenses over time, even with the higher employee contributions.


     
  1341. MICHIGAN CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL
     
  1342. Live From New York, It's Saturday Night Labor!

    The abuses of power perpetrated by government employee unions are well known and established enough to serve as comedic fodder nationwide.


     
  1343. Fourth Time's a Charm

    Tuesday's committee hearing gave senators a chance to quiz the MHBCCC about its purpose, its creation through an interlocal agreement between the Department of Human Services and Mott Community College, and the big question: the council's relationship with the Child Care Providers-Together Michigan or CCPTM, the so-called "day care union."

    The testimony disclosed at least one unexpected revelation.


     
  1344. Editorial Blasts Michigan Film Subsidy Program

    The editorial in today's Livingston Daily Press & Argus takes to task the Michigan film subsidy program, saying the state has failed "to produce any hard data that would allow the public - or state lawmakers, for that matter - to determine" if the giveaway is working.


     
  1345. Stealth Unionization of Small-Business Owners Called 'Skewed and Wrong'

    An editorial in today's Oakland Press says that small-business owners who were forced into a union "weren't treated fairly" and that "the process of adding them to the union seems skewed and wrong."


     
  1346. Death for Ann Arbor's 'Living Wage'?

    One of the entry-level jobs at the City of Ann Arbor's waste transfer station entails separating glass bottles from aluminum as they come down a conveyor belt.

    For that job, FCR, the company that manages the waste station, usually pays the minimum wage of $7.40 an hour.

    But because the city of Ann Arbor passed a "living wage" ordinance, those sorters make $13.05 an hour this year. Thanks to a deal struck with the city council, the city reimburses FCR so that it can pay the higher "living wage."

    But a recent Michigan Supreme Court decision may invalidate such arrangements, as cities no longer have the authority to mandate wages with contractors they hire, says Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.


     
  1347. Saline Teacher Contract: Summary and Analysis
     
  1348. Dollar Bay takes over alternative school
    "Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools will take over operation of a nearby alternative high school and open the enrollment process so that students do not need permission from their assigned district to attend."
     
  1349. Issues & Ideas Forum, April 29, 2010
     
  1350. Michigan’s Rank Position

    There is no perfect method known for measuring a state's economic well being, or forecasting its future prospects. Nevertheless, over time many scholars using different methodologies have presented a relatively consistent picture: Michigan's economic performance and outlook have trended in a negative direction since their first reports. It's not hard to understand why: Lawmakers here continue to stifle growth with counterproductive policies.


     
  1351. The MEA President Lays on the Guilt Trip

    At bottom, Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters’ latest commentary in The Detroit News is an attempt to lay a guilt trip on Michigan taxpayers, essentially saying, "If you really cared about your children you’d send us more money." This sort of manipulation can be annoying when it comes from an acquaintance. When it comes from the president of a multimillion dollar government employee union and lobbying group, it’s bound to be expensive.


     
  1352. Untrustworthy

    House Bill 5319 is a direct threat to private property rights guaranteed in the U.S. and Michigan constitutions.


     
  1353. Federal Reserve Study: Economic Freedom Matters

    A new study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, called "Economic Freedom and Employment Growth in the U.S. States," concludes that there is a link between economic freedom and employment growth. Other studies have come to the same conclusion. One of the things that makes this one different is its findings on labor markets. The authors write: "In addition, we find that less restrictive state and national government labor market policies have the greatest impact on employment growth in U.S. states."

    That conclusion doesn't bode well for Michigan, which is known for having a relatively hostile labor climate and which over the last 10 years has seen its overall national economic freedom ranking tumble.


     
  1354. MESSA Rates up 20 Percent in Port Huron
    "The Port Huron Area School District will pay 20.5 percent more in health insurance premiums as of July 1."
     
  1355. School Funding Myths
     
  1356. Public Ownership Violates Property Rights
     
  1357. Social Security Explained
     
  1358. State MEGA Audit Finds MEGA Problems

    The Michigan Auditor General yesterday released a 72-page audit of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority program, finding that it is poorly administered. MEGA is the state's flagship "jobs" program, granting selective tax breaks and subsidies to particular firms selected to be "winners" by its staff.

    The Auditor General's examination focused on reviews conducted by the agency that oversees MEGA. In other words, this was a review conducted to determine whether or not MEGA companies granted selective tax breaks have used proper "job count and salary information."


     
  1359. Breaking News: House Vote Would Force Charter Schools Into Underfunded Pension System

    Moments ago, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill that would force every charter school in the state to enroll its teachers in the underfunded and hugely expensive "defined benefits" pension system to which conventional public school employees belong. This year, conventional school districts are required to pay an amount equal to 16.94 percent of their payroll into this system, which promises its members lifetime monthly pension payments and health insurance upon their retirement. To deal with the increased cost pressures, next year, school contributions are expected to rise to 19 percent of payroll.


     
  1360. Connecting the Day Care Union Dots

    A revelation during a Michigan Senate committee hearing last week is drawing some new connections to the mechanism that enabled some 40,000 home-based day care owners to be categorized as public employees and unionized. There are indications that some of the so-called dots that need connecting may include the Granholm administration and Lt. Gov. John Cherry.


     
  1361. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST April 27, 2010
     
  1362. Districts take sides on Wayne RESA millage
    "School boards are lining up for and against a proposal for a new, countywide school millage in Wayne County."
     
  1363. Breaking News: House Vote Would Force Charter Schools Into Underfunded Pension System

    Moments ago, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill that would force every charter school in the state to enroll its teachers in the underfunded and hugely expensive "defined benefits" pension system to which conventional public school employees belong. This year, conventional school districts are required to pay an amount equal to 16.94 percent of their payroll into this system, which promises its members lifetime monthly pension payments and health insurance upon their retirement. To deal with the increased cost pressures, next year, school contributions are expected to rise to 19 percent of payroll.


     
  1364. Lawmaker Says 'Willful Neglect' Is the Rule at Embattled State Agency

    The state's "flagship" economic development program may have doled out an estimated $150 million in tax credits erroneously in the last five years to companies that didn't meet the criteria due to a lack of oversight, according to State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills.

    McMillin met with the state Auditor General's office Tuesday after it released a report this week that said the state didn't follow up on company job projections that often fell short of required triggers to receive tax credits but still received the money.

    The report comes a little more than a month after it was learned that the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) board approved a $9.1 million tax credit to Richard Short, a convicted embezzler who was CEO of a company named Renewable and Sustainable Companies LLC (RASCO).


     
  1365. Onsted Community Schools Shows Taxpayers the Money
     
  1366. Newsmaker Friday: Day on the Tea Party Movement
     
  1367. Does Your Candidate Pledge to End Federalized Health Care?

    Just two members of Michigan's delegation to Congress have signed a national pledge to repeal and replace ObamaCare with "real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government."

    At the beginning of this year, as the president and Congress began pushing toward the finish line with their effort to federalize control of the U.S. health care system, the Washington D.C.-based Club for Growth began retargeting its opposition toward the 2010 election by creating the "Repeal It" pledge. It asks 2010 candidates for Congress to pledge to strike down the federalized health care law. As of Monday afternoon, 72 current members of Congress and 307 candidates have signed on. This includes just two current members from Michigan and twelve challengers.


     
  1368. Is This the Death Blow for the Living Wage?

    Municipal living wage ordinances are on very thin ice.


     
  1369. MEGA Jobs MIA in Flint

    Jobs that were promised in exchange for state subsidies in three high-profile cases in Flint never came to fruition, according to The Flint Journal.


     
  1370. Groups train residents how to lobby
    "Two organizations opposed to cuts in public education taught Kalamazoo area residents Saturday how to lobby legislators and talk to politicians about protecting school funding."
     
  1371. Do You Need Government Money to Attend College?
     
  1372. Health Care Freedom Amendment Gains Support

    There are 50,000 petitions to defeat the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act out in 73 of Michigan's 83 counties, according to the petition drive's director.

    Wendy Day, director of Michigan Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, said the movement also has coordinators in more than half of the counties.

    The petition drive is an attempt to roll back the federal health care law recently approved by the U.S. Congress. The petition would put a proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot in November to be voted upon.


     
  1373. Radio for the 'Starbucks Generation'

    At 14, Elliot Gaiser says he was reading the Wall Street Journal.

    Six years later, Gaiser is trying to offer balance to a generation he says doesn't hear the conservative viewpoint.

    Gaiser, 20, is a sophomore at Hillsdale College who launched the Conservative Private Radio Network. He posts his podcasts on his website: www.conservativeprivateradio.com

    Gaiser is part of what he calls the "Starbucks generation" — the 18-24 age group that he says is likely to vote for Barack Obama.


     
  1374. Trenton board won’t support tax
    "The Trenton Public Schools Board of Education voted 6-0 against supporting a proposed new, countywide school millage."
     
  1375. Anti-bullying bills again before Legislature
    "Proposed legislation would require Michigan public schools to adopt anti-bullying policies."
     
  1376. L.A. Think Tank Pushes Another Option for Stopping Federalized Health Care

    A national think tank is saying the state constitution in Michigan doesn't have to be changed to nullify the federal healthcare reform law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center in Los Angeles, said his think tank is saying it is as simple as standard legislative action.

    The Tenth Amendment Center is proposing a template for its Federal Health Care Nullification Act legislation that Boldin said would nullify the federal health care law.


     
  1377. Poll: Charter school support growing
    "Public support of charter schools is growing among Michigan residents, according to a new poll."
     
  1378. Reading It Wrong — Again
     
  1379. State Employee Pay Grows 25 Percent Above Inflation Since 1999
     
  1380. Black Holes and Plankton Research Get Stimulus Spending

    There was an $835,000 Michigan State University study on the ecology of plankton, a $440,000 University of Michigan study on galaxies with black holes and a $322,000 Eastern Michigan University study on languages of the Arctic.

    All were paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the federal stimulus program that Congress approved in 2009 to help jump-start the economy.

    While shovel-ready construction jobs got most of the media attention, there was $3 billion given out by the National Science Foundation to support academic research as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    It raises a question about the stimulus program's approach to solving Michigan's economic woes, said Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.


     
  1381. MichiganVotes.org April 23 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and/or interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate. To find out who your state Senator is and how to contact him or her go here; for state Representatives go here.

    Vote 1 of 6 in this report:
    House Bill 4394, Ban texting while driving, passed in the House (74 to 33)
    To concur with the Senate-passed version of an explicit "texting while driving" traffic violation, which changes the previous House-passed "secondary offense" only version to one making this a primary offence, meaning that a driver can get stopped just for this.

    Complete Roll Call Vote Tally


     

  1382. Turning Away 'Roeth'

    Some actions that are not — and should not be — illegal are nonetheless reprehensible. Civil society plays a key role in these instances to foster good behavior. In the case of Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexual assault last month, the NFL is correctly enforcing social norms outside of the legal system.


     
  1383. Thoughts About Earth Day

    Earth Day does not seem to have much to do anymore with a desire for cleaner air, land or water but instead with promoting a left-leaning political ideology.


     
  1384. More Money for MESSA

    Things are about to get much tougher for the 440 or so Michigan school districts that buy employee health insurance from the Michigan Education Special Services Association. MESSA recently reported that it's predicting a statewide average increase of 13 percent in the price of its premiums.


     
  1385. Earth Day 2010: Michigan’s Environment as Eden or Waste Land?
     
  1386. Analysis: Can We Build Better Teachers?
     
  1387. Stealth Unionization: Action and Inaction
     
  1388. Can Some Religious Groups Opt Out of Federalized Health Care?
     
  1389. Michigan joins ‘Innovation’ competition
    "Nearly 2,500 schools or organizations, including 83 in Michigan, have indicated they will compete for "Investing in Innovation" grant money from the U.S. Department of Education."
     
  1390. State Employee Pay Grows 25 Percent Above Inflation Since 1999

    The average state employee compensation package costs approximately $93,039. Inflation-adjusted wages and benefits have increased 25 percent since fiscal 1999. The figures include the value of all benefits from state-paid retirement contributions to dry cleaning allowances.


     
  1391. New Air Standards Unrealistic

    When federal air requirements become so strict that everyone is out of compliance, then in effect no one is out of compliance.  


     
  1392. Michigan Film Jobs Disappear Despite Millions in Subsidies

    Jobs in the film industry fell nearly 10 percent, despite Michigan giving away millions of dollars of tax money in subsidies to movie makers, according to the Detroit Free Press.


     
  1393. Checking on the UAW

    The LM-2 forms for 2009 are up on the Department of Labor website. Let’s look at some of the highlights. Up first, the United Auto Workers. It was a tough year all around for the crew at Solidarity House:


     
  1394. Michael Moore Inadvertently Makes Case Against Film Subsidies (Again)

    Rick Lowe of the Nassau Institute posted a blog entry April 3 about his experience with a group gathered near his home in the Bahamas to watch and discuss Michael Moore's latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story."


     
  1395. Analysis of Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117m - and No Film Job Growth

    It has been two years since Michigan's film subsidy program became law, which is sufficient for it to have gotten off the ground and had some measureable impact on the state's economy. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 months after its launch there were 9.8 percent fewer people employed by the film industry in Michigan than when the subsidy program began.


     
  1396. Windmills Power Controversy on Great Lakes

    What's 410 feet tall, makes a humming sound and could be at a lake near you soon?

    Answer: Wind turbines — an alternative source of power that is creating a stir on both sides of the state.

    Lake St. Clair is the latest target for 160 wind turbines, according to State Rep. Timothy Bledsoe, D-Grosse Pointe Farms. Bledsoe has scheduled a community forum on May 3 to discuss the impact the wind turbines will have on the lake.


     
  1397. MESSA rates up 24 percent in Jackson
    "Jackson Public Schools will see a 24 percent hike in health insurance rates next year, an amount that Superintendent Dan Evans called "obscene."
     
  1398. Can We Build Better Teachers?

    Michigan law requires that all teachers participate in professional development programs even though recent studies show that professional development does nothing to help teachers improve student achievement. Instead of fruitlessly trying to transform ineffective teachers, schools should focus on hiring and retaining high-performing ones.


     
  1399. But I Thought That Went Without Saying ...

    Right-to-Work is on the minds of a lot of people who make their living paying close attention to Michigan politics.


     
  1400. Mackinac Center Policy Staff Discuss 'Texting While Driving' Ban

    Today the Michigan House of Representatives is expected to take up the Senate version of legislation that would create a specific new "driving while texting" traffic offense. The measure had already passed the House with an important provision that was stripped out by the Republican-controlled Senate: It now would be a "primary" offense, meaning a driver could be stopped just because a police officer sees him or her texting.

    With a secondary-offense only provision, I would be agnostic on the ban and not view it as per se unreasonable in the way of seatbelt or motorcycle helmet mandates, which infringe on my right to wrack my own body as I see fit (but not others').

    So I asked my Mackinac Center colleagues whether I have turned into a squish on nanny-statism.


     
  1401. Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117 Million and No Film Job Growth

    It has been two years since Michigan's film subsidy program became law, which is sufficient for it to have gotten off the ground and had some measureable impact on the state's economy. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 months after its launch there were 9.8 percent fewer people employed by the film industry in Michigan than when the subsidy program began.


     
  1402. Questions Surround Forced Unionization Scheme of Small-Business Owners, New State Agency

    The shell corporation created by Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration and labor allies to shanghai 40,000 home-based day care providers into a union has "no authority to set rates or provide benefits," according to the Detroit Free Press.


     
  1403. Analysis: Fewer 'Shell-Shocked' Financial Panic Survivors at 2010 Tea Parties

    As mentioned in a related article published in Michigan Capitol Confidential ("Analysis: What's Next for Michigan Tea Parties?" April 20), although Tea Party rallies held across the state and nation last week had mixed results in turnout, the movement itself appears strong, according to recent polls, including a Rasmussen one showing that 24 percent of U.S. voters now say they consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement.

    My own observations at several Tea Parties suggest that whatever the exact attendance figures, there appear to have been far fewer of those "shell-shockedm" middle-aged, middle-class people who swelled the turnout a year ago, and who described themselves as being frightened at was happening in Washington, and had never previously been involved in any political activities.


     
  1404. News Release: Fewer People Employed in Michigan Movie Industry Than Before Film Tax Credits Began, According to Center Analyst
     
  1405. Fewer People Employed in Michigan Movie Industry Than Before Film Tax Credits Began
     
  1406. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST April 20, 2010
     
  1407. Northern Michigan Tea Party 'Doing Its Homework' on GOP Pols

    In Houghton County, C.J. Williams researches political candidates and then posts the information on the "MichigansNewsandViews.com" website.

    In Luce County, Tea Party organizer John Waltman scours numerous news websites looking for information on Michigan political candidates and then sends his findings to a list of 800 members.

    Who is their northern Michigan audience?

    Tea Party members that now research politicians — especially Republicans.


     
  1408. Analysis: What's Next for Michigan Tea Parties?

    Tax Day Tea Party rallies were held across the state and nation last week, with mixed results in turnout. Regardless of the exact attendance, the movement represents a potent new force on the American political landscape. Its leaders and members are currently focused on changing the composition of Congress in November, but their real challenge will be finding ways after the election to pressure the political class — especially Republicans — to stick to the fiscal restraint promises made in the heat of the campaign.


     
  1409. Intellectually Bankrupt

    One reads and rereads Hoffa’s musings in vain for some hint of a solution to the state’s problems — even a misguided one — but there is none. Hoffa has no answers.


     
  1410. MEGA Marks 15th Anniversary

    Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the creation of the  Michigan Economic Growth Authority, a business-tax credit and subsidy program designed to create new and keep existing jobs in the state. The Mackinac Center has published two rigorous analyses of MEGA: "MEGA: A Retrospective Assessment" in 2005, and "Michigan Economic Development Corporation: A Review and Analysis" in 2009.

    Both studies found that the program had no impact on overall job creation in the state. Another study found that Michigan would have been better off economically if the state had just cut taxes for all businesses instead of operating a targeted tax break program.


     
  1411. Flight Plan

    Attracting residential and commercial expansion to the Detroit Region Aerotropolis — some 60,000 mostly vacant acres between the Detroit Metro and Willow Run airports — should occur using private money, according to one Mackinac Center analyst.


     
  1412. Teacher Health Insurance Costs

    Schools around Michigan are cutting services and reducing staff, yet teachers in more than half of the districts statewide pay nothing toward the cost of their own health insurance.


     
  1413. A Pair of Republicans Help House Dems Dump Right-to-Work

    Two Republicans joined a united Democrat caucus in the Michigan House to oppose a recent vote on whether local governments in Michigan should be permitted to create "right-to-work zones." Within these proposed zones, employers would be prohibited from compelling an employee to join a union under threat of either being fired or never hired in the first place. Free-market labor analysts have repeatedly noted that there is a strong correlation between a state's economic growth and whether it provides right-to-work protections to its workers. And polling data has indicated strong public support for Michigan becoming a right-to-work state.


     
  1414. Farmington Public Schools' Union Contract
     
  1415. Judge: Bobb overstepped authority
    "In a power struggle between the Detroit Board of Education and Robert Bobb, the district's emergency financial manager, a Wayne Circuit Court judge has ruled that Bobb may not close schools or implement his academic plan without consulting the board."
     
  1416. Conyers: “Rational Abilities” of Tea Partiers are “Compromised”
     
  1417. State Reps Joining Day Care Union Case

    State Representative Dave Agema, R-Grandville, has submitted a resolution asking that the Michigan Supreme Court hear a case involving home-based day care workers who say they didn't realize they were unionized by the state.


     
  1418. "They're sure not working for you"

    Last Week Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley blogged about an article that Mackinac Center senior legislative analyst Jack McHugh wrote for Michigan Capitol Confidential about how government employee unions were using their political power to prevent the Legislature from passing modest pension and compensation reforms needed to address a $1.5 billion budget deficit. It cited, and Finley quoted, three examples from before the Legislature's recent two-week spring break. They were:


     
  1419. U of M President Accused of Ethical Conflict
     
  1420. MichiganVotes.org April 16 Weekly Roll Call Report

    Every week MichiganVotes.org sends a report to newspapers and TV stations showing how just the state legislators in each publication's service area voted on the most important and/or interesting bills and amendments of the past seven days. The version shown here instead contains a link to the complete roll call tally in either the House or Senate. To find out who your state Senator is and how to contact him or her go here; for state Representatives go here.

    Vote 1 of 4 in this report:
    Senate Bill 1226, Senate state employee pension reform package, passed in the Senate (22 to 16)
    To require state employees under the pre-1997 traditional "defined benefits" pension plan to pay an additional 3 percent of their salary into their pension fund. (State employees hired since 1997 have 401K-type "defined contribution" pensions.) The measure will save some $35 million in the next fiscal year and $304.5 million over 10 years. Senate majority Republicans failed to achieve a caucus consensus on an earlier version that would have saved around $104 million next year.
    Complete Roll Call Vote Tally


     
  1421. Attitude Adjustment

    School districts that refuse to make available online their checkbook registers are being taken to task.


     
  1422. Watchdog

    A state legislator recently praised the Mackinac Center for its efforts to "hold the MEDC accountable."


     
  1423. Dark Side of the Mitten

    Once upon a time a band named Pink Floyd was a fixture on the Billboard album chart. For 741 weeks, the band's "Dark Side of the Moon" reigned as one of the top-200 selling albums in the United States. The album's themes range from mortality to madness.

    Sadly, the album now comes to mind when you think of Michigan. The state's unemployment rate is 14.1 percent for the month, making it the nation's highest for 48 months straight.


     
  1424. Senate plan drops pension ‘sweetener’
    "The Michigan Senate has adopted a revised plan intended to save about $230 million by nudging eligible state workers and public school employees into retirement."
     
  1425. Speaking Truth About Power
     
  1426. Tea Party Day 2010

    Theresa Dickerson stood among nearly 1,000 Tea Party protesters Thursday with a common complaint.

    She was tired of another misconception in the media about the movement she had heard earlier in the day. Dickerson, of Middleville, said a commentator was chastising Tea Partiers for not wanting any taxes.

    "We don't want to abolish all taxes," Dickerson said. "We want to cut out all the waste and all the favoritism that goes on."

    Thousands of Tea Party activists came out Thursday all across Michigan.


     
  1427. Facts for Tax Day in Michigan

    Today is April 15, the last day to file your 2009 tax return. Protests are happening around the state alleging rampant growth of government, overtaxation and overregulation.

    Here are some facts about taxes in Michigan.


     
  1428. A Cost-Containing Health Insurance Plan That FedCare Will Kill
     
  1429. Facts for Tax Day in Michigan

    Today is April 15, the last day to file your 2009 tax return. Protests are happening around the state alleging rampant growth of government, overtaxation and overregulation.

    Here are some facts about taxes in Michigan.


     
  1430. Tax Day Rallies
     
  1431. Analysis — 'Up North' Grass Roots v. MI GOP Establishment: Echoes of 1992 in Stupak Seat Race

    In 1992, incumbent Republican Congressman Bob Davis chose not to run for re-election in the Michigan 1st District because he was one of the top five politicians implicated in the House “check kiting“ scandal. Davis had represented the district covering the northern Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula since 1978. Poor decisions made then by a state Republican establishment alienated many grass roots “true believers” in the district, opening the door for a former one-term Democrat state Representative, who won and went on to an 18-year Congressional career.

    Fast forward to 2010: The 1st District seat has once again become open due to a misstep by the incumbent, that once little-known Democrat who won the seat in 1992. His name, of course, is Bart Stupak, and the misstep was his vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s health care bill. And once again, members of the Republican establishment are making moves that could diminish grass roots support for the party’s eventual candidate in the November general election, potentially leading to the ascension of yet another Democrat “dynasty” in the 1st District.


     
  1432. Teacher Contracts Under Scrutiny

    Teacher contracts are coming under greater scrutiny as Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Legislature continue to create overspending crises that mean fewer dollars going to public schools.


     
  1433. Goodrich, Fenton opt for state’s “choice” program
    "Goodrich Area Schools will join the state's school choice program in 2010-2011, and Fenton Area Public Schools will remain in the program as well."
     
  1434. MSU drops retiree health benefit
    "As of July 1, a job offer at Michigan State University will no longer include retirement health benefits."
     
  1435. Tea Party Events Across Michigan
     
  1436. Michigan Tea Party Resources
     
  1437. Analysis: The UAW could still tear Detroit down
     
  1438. Tea Party Saboteurs

    Michigan's Tea Party organizers say they are prepared if a national Web site follows through on its plans to infiltrate the limited-government movement and portray it in a negative light.

    The Web site, www.crashthetteaparty.org, is advertising that it will infiltrate the Tea Party movement and "exaggerate their least appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.)."

    The Web site calls the Tea Party movement a "loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons ..."

    The threat to pose as obnoxious Tea Partiers has drawn national media attention, since there will be Tea Party protests all over the country on Thursday. Michigan will have dozens of protests throughout the state.


     
  1439. Benefits, Not Salaries, Key to School Costs

    A recent Macomb Daily editorial agrees with the point made a month ago by a Mackinac Center scholar regarding proposed legislation to cap teacher and superintendent salaries.


     
  1440. Center Scholar on FDR in Wall Street Journal

    A Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Mackinac Center scholar Burton Folsom Jr. and his wife Anita was the most e-mailed item on the paper's Web site Monday.


     
  1441. Mackinac Center Speakers at 'Tax Day' Events Across Michigan
     
  1442. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST April 13, 2010
     
  1443. Union backing still seen as key to 'Race'
    "Education officials say that union support will be needed if Michigan wants to win money in the second round of the Race to the Top competition, but few details have emerged on just how that will happen."
     
  1444. Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems
     
  1445. Taxpayers Never Get Early Retirement
     
  1446. Online Learning Can Improve Michigan Public Education
     
  1447. Analysis: Government Employee Political Clout Obstructs Budget Reform

    The Legislature returns today after a two-week break to take up perhaps the greatest challenge facing state government since 1983: an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall. Making this all the more difficult is the apparent inability of lawmakers to adopt what most struggling private-sector workers and small-business owners view as modest reductions in state employee pay and benefits. That failure was highlighted in three separate events just before the break.


     
  1448. The President and Palin to Visit Michigan on May Day

    Two of the world's most polarizing politicians will both be in Michigan on May 1.

    Sarah Palin and President Barack Obama will be about 50 miles apart as each gives a speech on that day.

    Palin will speak May 1 at the Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream" event at Mt. Zion church in Clarkston. President Obama will give the spring commencement address at the University of Michigan on the same day.

    Scott Hagerstrom, the chairman of the Michigan chapter of AFP, said he felt lucky to get Palin, since he was told she gets 2,500 requests a year.


     
  1449. Small-Business Owners Object to Forced Unionization

    More home-based day care providers are speaking out about being forced into a union they didn't know existed and did not vote for, according to The Oakland Press.


     
  1450. Do They Really Need More Money?

    The odds of a local municipality in Michigan passing a tax increase in the current economic climate are fairly low, according to Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative.


     
  1451. ISD, local district could share superintendent
    "A single individual could serve concurrently as superintendent of a local public school district and an intermediate school district under legislation proposed recently in the Michigan House of Representatives."
     
  1452. A GOP Congress? — Not in Every Tea Party Dream

    Flo Solano's sign read: "Time To Clean House"

    The Brown Township woman's sign for Sunday's Tea Party rally was a play on what she sees as the end game to the conservative free-market movement: get more conservative politicians elected.

    "For me, success would mean Tea Parties around the country would actually make a change in the (U.S.) House and Senate," Solano said. "To me, that would be more important than defeating (President Barack) Obama."

    Solano said without control of the House and Senate, Obama's power evaporates.

    About 4,000 people showed up in Clinton Township for the final leg of the national Tea Party Express tour.


     
  1453. Cash, Corporations, Unions and Free Speech
     
  1454. Onaway reduces spending
    "Onaway Area Schools will reduce spending by about $500,000 and use $220,000 in fund equity to make ends meet in 2010-2011."
     
  1455. Tea Party Express Stops at Capitol
     
  1456. Back to semesters in Grand Rapids
    "Grand Rapids and West Ottawa public schools have already announced a move back to semesters next year, while other West Michigan high schools are remaining on a trimester schedule."
     
  1457. April 9 MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call Report

    MichiganVotes.org sends a weekly report to newspapers and TV stations around the state showing how state legislators in their service area voted on the most important or interesting bills of the past week. Because the legislature did not meet this week, rather than roll call vote results this report presents a sampling of recently proposed state laws. Go here to see the concise and objective (but “brutally honest”) MichiganVotes descriptions of these bills.


     
  1458. Alex Chilton R.I.P.

    The recent death of Alex Chilton apparently wasn't as much from a heart attack as it was a lack of nationalized health insurance, if one is to believe Facebook comments prompted by a recent article by Keith Spera of the Times-Picayune.


     
  1459. NFIB Criticizes Drive to Make Private Businesses and Contractors Into 'Government Employees'

    NFIB Michigan State Director Charlie Owens discusses the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's lawsuit on WJR.


     
  1460. Tea Partiers Take Credit for Stupak's Retirement

    On the day the national Tea Party Express set up camp in his back yard, U.S. Democrat Congressman Bart Stupak, who became the target of health care reform critics, announced his retirement on Friday.

    The Tea Party Express, which is headquartered in California, had raised $80,000 to defeat Stupak, who is from Menominee. Tea Party Express officials said they had committed $250,000 in advertising to defeat Stupak.


     
  1461. Union backing seen as necessary
    "Everyone agrees that union support will be needed if Michigan wants to win any money in the second round of the Race to the Top competition, but few details have emerged on just how that will happen."
     
  1462. East Lansing Schools Union Contract

    Nearly every aspect of a teacher's job falls under the rules of a union contract. The following is an analysis of the current collective bargaining agreement for teachers and a few other employee groups in the East Lansing School District.


     
  1463. Schooling the MEA in Basic Economics
     
  1464. Latest Vote Shows Dept. of State's Cost-Saving Plan Now Opposed by 71 in House — Including Seven GOP

    While nearly all of the Republican lawmakers in Lansing have been generically very eager to proclaim their desire to cut the cost of state government — and for reductions in the cost of the state workforce in particular — some have been voting down the Secretary of State's effort to actually implement a specific plan to do so — when it impacts their interests.


     
  1465. Unfinished Business

    The actual competitiveness of the Big Three never rated highly as a value for the government’s restructuring of the industry, and the UAW has shown it is prone to act cavalierly towards those same companies as they struggle back toward profitability.


     
  1466. District saved $25,000 on four-day week
    "The Adams Township School District saved about $25,000 by experimenting with a four-day schedule for three months, but now students are back to a five-day school week."
     
  1467. MEGA Critique: A Response
     
  1468. Lehman: Bold Strokes Needed to Save Michigan

    Bold strokes, such as cutting taxes and reducing the cost of public-employee benefits, are needed to help Michigan rebound, Center President Joseph G. Lehman said Tuesday as part of a panel discussion at Wayne State University.


     
  1469. Firm develops iPad math programs
    "A Grand Haven company that already publishes educational tools such as flash cards and laptop computer programs now is providing applications for the new Apple iPad."
     
  1470. Michigan Republicans Giving Mixed Reviews to RNC Boss

    Tired of a series of embarrassing comments and controversies from the leader of the national GOP, some Michigan Republicans say they have no confidence in Michael Steele.

    Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, made national news yesterday when it was reported that the RNC struck a curious deal with the Michigan GOP. According to the Daily Caller, 15 Michigan donors maxed out their donations at the end of 2009 so as to give $500,000 to the RNC, which then returned the money within two months to the state GOP. It raises questions about campaign finance violations.

    Gerry Hildenbrand, a former chair of the Allegan County GOP who now serves on its executive committee, said he doesn't have confidence in Steele to lead the GOP.


     
  1471. DNRE Applying Double Standard in Detroit Asbestos Violation

    It is disturbing that Detroit City officials and its contractors would flagrantly disregard well-known environmental laws regarding the removal of asbestos. It is more disturbing that state environmental regulatory officials seem to be applying different enforcement standards to government agencies and the private sector.


     
  1472. Tea Party Info Tech

    When a reporter told Joan Fabiano, founder of Grass Roots in Michigan, that he wanted to attend one of their meetings, the Holt woman informed him via Facebook that reporters were not allowed at their meetings.

    The reporter, whose last article on Fabiano's activism referred to the Tea Party movement as "tea bag" in a headline, showed up anyway and — once turned away — stood in the parking lot of a church interviewing members.

    Fabiano wrote about the experience on her blog and posted a link to it on Facebook that went out to her 900-plus Facebook friends.

    <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->Late to the technology party, the Tea Party movement is now utilizing new media and other social networking tools to build their following and get their message out.


     
  1473. NFIB Files Brief in Support of Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Case

    The illegal shanghaiing of home-based day care providers into a government employees union has attracted the attention of the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business. It filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court requesting that the Court grant the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's appeal in the Loar v. DHS lawsuit challenging the forced unionization.


     
  1474. DNRE Applying Double Standard in Detroit Asbestos Violation

    It is disturbing that Detroit City officials and its contractors would flagrantly disregard well-known environmental laws regarding the removal of asbestos. It is more disturbing that state environmental regulatory officials seem to be applying different enforcement standards to government agencies and the private sector.


     
  1475. Are Tea Parties "A Lot of Noise" and "No Muscle"?
     
  1476. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST April 6, 2010
     
  1477. Associated Press: Tea Parties are "A Lot of Noise" and "No Muscle"

    The Tea Party movement won't have an impact on congressional elections in November, is "a lot of noise, no muscle" with popularity that "thins out" outside the rallies, according to an Associated Press analysis of the movement.

    "I don't think they (media) understand what we are doing," said Wendy Day, founder of Common Sense in Government. "They don't get it. I bet the media and the political elite feel much like England did in 1776. That something was brewing and they didn't understand it so they discounted it and ignored it."


     
  1478. Inside Baseball
     
  1479. Injunction to Stop Federalized Health Care Filed by Michigan Legal Team

    The Thomas More Law Center has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the enforcement of the individual mandate provision of the newly enacted health care reform act, the Ann Arbor-based law firm announced Tuesday.

    It was filed in a federal district court. The government has 21 days to respond. The basis for the lawsuit and the motion is that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution by mandating that private citizens purchase health care coverage or face a penalty, according to the press release.


     
  1480. Cox: Schools can publish some photos, video
    "Public school districts may use certain photos and videos of students without written parental consent, as long as parents had been told that such materials were considered "directory information" and were given the chance to deny permission."
     
  1481. IMPACT Spring 2010
     
  1482. New Glenn Beck Book Title Includes Reference to Center

    Radio and television host Glenn Beck's new book will be titled based on a theory established by the Center's late vice president, Joseph Overton, according to The Washington Post.


     
  1483. Some question ‘Race’ process
    "Michael Flanagan, Michigan's state superintendent of public instruction, was among school officials who questioned the process by which Race to the Top winners were picked, though he said he was satisfied by federal officials' explanation."
     
  1484. Classroom Gore: Global Warming Goes to School

    A national campaign was launched today to get public schools that have shown Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" to give equal time to the opposing view of global warming.

    The Independent Women's Forum launched its Balanced Education for Everyone campaign today. It hopes to have the 2009 documentary "Not Evil, Just Wrong" shown in classrooms around the country. "Not Evil, Just Wrong" claims to expose erroneous claims about global warming.


     
  1485. Climate Science and Groupthink
     
  1486. April 2 MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call Report

    MichiganVotes.org sends a weekly report to newspapers and TV stations around the state showing how state legislators in their service area voted on the most important or interesting bills of the past week. The Legislature did not meet this week, so instead of votes this week's report contains several newly introduced bills of interest. Go here to see the concise and objective (but “brutally honest”) MichiganVotes descriptions of these bills.


     
  1487. Parents Pin Hopes on Charter School Lottery

    Dozens of parents filled the bleachers at South Arbor Academy in Ypsilanti recently to find out of their children would be one of the few to win a seat in the popular charter public school.


     
  1488. School Pension Reform Stalls in Senate

    A plan to reform public school pensions and set them more in line with private-sector retirement standards — and thus save Michigan taxpayers an estimated $3.5 billion over the next 10 years — stalled in the Michigan Senate as that chamber prepared to leave for its spring break. Although GOP senators cast blame for the failure at Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Democrats, Republican sources said that only 18 votes could be mustered for the measure, leaving it two votes shy of passage in a chamber where Republicans hold a 22-16 majority.


     
  1489. Clerks: School elections waste money
    "A coalition of Michigan county clerks is pushing to eliminate May school board elections, claiming they are a waste of money, given the typically low voter turnout."
     
  1490. Proposal Would Punish Prudent School Districts

    House Bill 5963, sponsored by Rep. Tim Melton (D-Pontiac) would force schools to spend down their general fund balances to 15 percent of their current operating expenditures. This attempt to micromanage their budgets isn't likely to help schools become more fiscally stable or deal with dwindling enrollment and the resulting declines in revenue.


     
  1491. White House Gives Preference to Car From Company It Owns

    The Detroit Free Press reported today that the White House announced yesterday that it will buy the first 100 plug-in electric vehicles to roll off American assembly lines before the end of the year. Surprise: The only car to meet that qualification is the Chevy Volt, which coincidentally started production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant on the same day of the White House announcement. Apparently, federal purchasing requirements have been creatively constructed to allow the U.S. government to purchase the vehicles from General Motors, of which the federal government has a 61 percent ownership.


     
  1492. Whitehall teachers OK contract
    "Whitehall District Schools teachers have ratified a three-year contract that gives them a 1 percent raise in the third year and also moves them to a less-expensive health insurance plan."
     
  1493. State Websites Give History a Rewrite

    Readers of the state of Michigan's various Web sites would be hard pressed to find evidence of one of the more embarrassing incidents to have happened this year to the Granholm administration.

    On March 16, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in a press-release a series of state tax credits awarded to businesses, including one to a now-infamous company named RASCO. The press release stated the "the new-to-Michigan leader in renewable energy, water and telecommunications sectors" was approved for a $9.1 million tax credit and would create 1,813 new jobs.

    The state nixed the deal when it found that RASCO CEO Richard A. Short was a convicted embezzler. The Flint Journal reported that at the same time he was working on the state tax deal, authorities said he was scamming an 86-year-old neighbor with dementia out of thousands of dollars.

    The MEDC's official press release has now been revised and has no mention of RASCO.


     
  1494. Teacher Contracts: An Analysis

    Nearly every aspect of a teacher’s job falls under the rules of a union contract. The following is a synopsis of the agreement for Fruitport Community Schools.


     
  1495. Bill would put all charter teachers into state retirement system
     
  1496. Getting Schooled

    The Lansing State Journal editorial board takes up the cause against the forced unionization of day care owners, and the Times-Herald publishes an Op-Ed by Michael Van Beek evaluating the benefits of early childhood education.


     
  1497. Delaying CO2 Requirements Helps Politicians, but Not Americans

    Bypassing Congress, the Obama administration finalized a rulemaking process on December 7, 2009 — just ahead of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change — that would require the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of the EPA's unpopular regulation of GHGs has now been conveniently delayed until after the November elections.


     
  1498. FOIA: One Word Makes a $7 Million Difference

    As it turns out, one little word in Michigan's FOIA law is the difference between $0.00 and $6.8 million.


     
  1499. Becker Appointed to NLRB

    If we are to treat the workplace as political rather than as an economic arrangement, its politics ought to be fully democratic, respecting the rights of all interested parties to speak.


     
  1500. Stupak Targeted by Tea Party Express

    The fallout over U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak's role in the passing of the federal health care reform bill has gone nationwide as the Tea Party Express has launched its own campaign to knock out the politician from Menominee.

    The national Tea Party tour has raised $65,000 thus far in its "Defeat Bart Stupak" campaign, according to Tea Party Express Spokesman Joe Wierzbicki.


     
  1501. Michigan Public Employees Compensation Growing Despite Concessions Claims

    Spokespersons for Michigan government employee unions contend that they have given up hundreds of millions of dollars in wages and benefit concessions over the past few years. The claims are in dispute, and data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis offers some support for those challenging them. It shows that since 2000, government employee compensation in Michigan has increased 11.4 percent, while private sector employees are getting 5.1 percent less.


     
  1502. Grand Rapids bus contract up in air
    "After one member asked to switch his vote, a school board finance committee in Grand Rapids Public Schools recommended against extending the district's contract with a private bus company."
     
  1503. Michigan Public Employees Compensation Growing Despite Concessions Claims

    Spokespersons for Michigan government employee unions contend that they have given up hundreds of millions of dollars in wages and benefit concessions over the past few years. The claims are in dispute, and data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis offers some support for those challenging them. It shows that since 2000, government employee compensation in Michigan has increased 11.4 percent, while private sector employees are getting 5.1 percent less.


     
  1504. New Research Suggests 'Reforming' Rather Than Closing Failing Schools a Forlorn Hope

    To make the state eligible for $400 million in federal "Race to the Top" grants, last December the Michigan Legislature passed a package of school reforms, one of which creates a state "school reform/redesign officer" and office in the Department of Education, with the authority to take over the management of 5 percent of the lowest achieving public schools statewide. The office would then implement one of four strategies specified in the RTTT guidelines: a "turnaround" model, a "restart" model, a "transformation" model or a "school closure" model.

    A new report from the Brookings Institution suggests that the state should rely primarily on the last, "school closure."


     
  1505. MichiganScience No. 13
    MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals.
     
  1506. 'Cause You Know It Don't Matter Anyway

    There is a bitter irony in seeing the president of the state’s most powerful union lecture the people of Michigan about decisions she disapproves of from her perch in one of the safest jobs in the state.


     
  1507. Debating Failing Schools
     
  1508. Health Care Freedom Amendment Petitioners Ready to Roll

    As Bob Carr of Muskegon made his 150-mile trip across the state Monday to Howell, he said he was curious as to how many people would show for the kickoff of a state-wide petition drive to repeal the national health care law.

    He was surprised to see about 220 people show up at the Howell High School Freshman Campus cafeteria.

    "We thought it was a basketball game going on," Carr said.

    Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government is spearheading the drive to have an amendment to the state's Constitution that would repeal many aspects of the nationalized health care bill that recently passed.
     

  1509. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST March 30, 2010
     
  1510. Golden Ticket
     
  1511. Michigan 21st in 'Race to the Top'
    "Michigan lost points in the "Race to the Top" competition when teachers unions declined to sign on, officials who reviewed the applications reported."
     
  1512. Parents pin hopes on charter school lottery

    Dozens of parents filled the bleachers at South Arbor Academy in Ypsilanti recently to find out of their children would be one of the few to win a seat in the popular charter public school.


     
  1513. Michigan’s Mythical Coming Drought
     
  1514. Little League Advice for Schools

    School districts in Michigan would benefit from some advice from a Little League coach.


     
  1515. Economic Development 'Chicanery'

    The recent news that the state's Michigan Economic Growth Authority offered a convicted embezzler's company a $9.1 million tax credit has caused quite a stir in Lansing. Last week, legislators held hearings on how the Michigan Economic Development Corp., MEGA's parent agency, could have let someone with the embezzler's background be part of a multi-million-dollar selective tax break deal.

    There is so much money sloshing around economic development programs around the nation — up to $50 billion or so as late as 2004 — that it would be surprising if there were not many questionable deals brokered by similar agencies across the nation.


     
  1516. Paper Trail

    Mackinac Center scholars cited on forced unionization, stimulus funding, transparency, open meetings and superintendent pay.


     
  1517. Bill would force schools to spend balance
    "State lawmakers are considering a plan to withhold state funding from public school districts that have set aside what lawmakers think is too much fund equity."
     
  1518. Michigan’s Gift to Texas? People
     
  1519. Bill Allowing State Nurses to Collect Pensions While Still Working Passes Overwhelmingly

    Michigan House Bill 4248 would allow retired nurses who worked for the state Department of Corrections to return to a job with the department on a part-time basis and collect both their full pension payout and a salary. This "double dipping" by state workers is prohibited by a 2007 law, according to the House Fiscal Agency. The new bill was advanced because the DoC states that it has a nursing shortage and is in need of an enticement to bring more help to their facilities.

    A memo from the Senate Fiscal Agency indicates that the policy might bring about "modest savings" for the department.

    However, the SFA also notes that savings for the DOC could come at a cost in another area because it will encourage current nurses to retire early and then return for the salary on top of their full pension payout. To the extent that this occurs, it will increase claims against the state's public employee pension system.


     
  1520. Reality Check: Did State Workers Already Give at the Office?

    A state workers' union has fought efforts to cut salaries and benefits during Michigan's budget crisis and has cited $700 million in concessions state workers have made since 2004.

    That's the figure used by the United Auto Workers Local 6000, which represents workers in every department in the State of Michigan's government.

    But Charlie Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, is challenging that number.


     
  1521. Petitions for Health Care Freedom Amendment Ready on Monday

    Thousands are signing on to an effort to pass the Michigan Citizens Healthcare Freedom Amendment, according to Wendy Day, director of the effort. The ballot initiative, to be officially launched this Monday, seeks to place a state constitutional amendment proposal on the November 2010 ballot. 


     
  1522. Holt Activist To Ride With TEA Party Express
     
  1523. Broadband Lack of Success

    The Detroit News cited the Mackinac Center in an editorial opposing a $25 billion broadband internet plan put forth by the Federal Communication Commission.

    Arguing that "Americans can't afford it and don't need it," the piece draws upon the Mackinac Center's report on Michigan's own failed experiment with governmental broadband efforts.


     
  1524. 'Green Bonds' House Bill Encourages More Debt

    If HB 5663 is the best lawmakers can do, we would be better off if they stayed home.


     
  1525. Are Seniors Hypocritical to Oppose Health Care Plans?
     
  1526. Economists: Michigan's Low Personal Income Ranking Won't Rise Again Soon

    Michigan dropped to 37th nationwide in 2009 for per capita personal income, sliding one spot as income dropped from $34,953 to $34,025. If one includes Washington D.C. in the rankings, Michigan is now 38th.


     
  1527. Michigan Employment and Personal Incomes Better, But…

    Two releases from government statistical agencies this week show that the state's economy is still pretty bad, but that its long fall may have finally bottomed out. The state unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, down from its peak. Michigan's per capita personal income was down again, but Michigan was not the worst in the country.


     
  1528. Michigan Employment and Personal Incomes Better, But…

    Two releases from government statistical agencies this week show that the state's economy is still pretty bad, but that its long fall may have finally bottomed out. The state unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, down from its peak. Michigan's per capita personal income was down again, but Michigan was not the worst in the country.


     
  1529. A MEGA Blast From the Past

    How deep does this hole have to get before the people demand that the political class finally turn its back on what are now clearly recognized are not "economic development" programs but a self-serving political development agenda?


     
  1530. Breathe Easy

    The trampling of states' rights by the federal government seems to know no bounds.


     
  1531. Forced Unionization of Small-Business Owners Appealed to Michigan Supreme Court

    The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court its lawsuit defending the rights of small-business owners who were shanghaied into a union, according to WEYI-TV 25 in Saginaw.


     
  1532. MEGA Cliché 'Mistakes Were Made' Not Good Enough

    In her first public statements since it was revealed that the Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved a $9.1 million tax credit deal for a convicted embezzler, Gov. Jennifer Granholm was quoted by the Gongwer Michigan Report as saying, "And obviously, a mistake was made, and it cannot happen again."


     
  1533. MSHDA: Michigan's Fannie Mae?

    The state housing authority that one developer called the backbone for development and economic activity in Michigan is another victim of the collapse of the housing market.

    The Michigan State Housing Development Authority's financial reports show it is in danger of losing money for the first time since the mid-1960s when it was created.

    Amid declining revenues and increased delinquent payments on loans it has issued to support development of affordable housing, MSHDA's finances are on shaky grounds, says one expert.


     
  1534. School asks for state investigation
    "Coldwater Community Schools will ask the Michigan Department of Attorney General to investigate a disagreement between the district and an assistant county prosecutor over an embezzlement case."
     
  1535. Local Officials Call for Help

    If Michigan wants to recover from its economic doldrums, it would help if local governments could get their finances back in balance. And if local governments are going to balance their books, it would help if they could get some relief from labor laws that empower unions at the expense of taxpayers.


     
  1536. Let the Sun Shine In

    This week, the Michigan House and Senate are both holding hearings on the Michigan Economic Development Corp. after a convicted embezzler on parole duped the Michigan Economic Growth Authority into offering his company a $9.1 million tax credit. The real issue they should examine is not whether the occasional criminal wins an "incentive" deal, but the lack of transparency that characterizes this entire operation.


     
  1537. Charter high school to close
    "Morey Public School Academy is closing its high school program at the end of the school year."
     
  1538. Federalized Health Care and Our Bad Habits of Democracy
     
  1539. Four Michigan Residents Sue to Get out of Federalized Health Care

    The Thomas More Law Center has joined the slew of legal action sparked by the passage of President Barack Obama's health care legislation.

    The Ann Arbor-based conservative law firm filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of federalized health care in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The president signed the 10-year, $938-billion piece of legislation into law on Tuesday.


     
  1540. Census Data: State Economy Suffering More Than State Budget
     
  1541. Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Appeals Loar v. DHS to Michigan Supreme Court

    LANSING — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation will appeal the case of Loar v. DHS to the Michigan Supreme Court, according to Director Patrick Wright.

    The public-interest law firm brought suit against the Michigan Department of Human Services in September on behalf of home-based day care providers who were forced into a government employees union and had dues withheld from state subsidy payments provided to low-income families. In late December, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case without explanation.


     
  1542. MEGA Prescient

    The parole violation arrest last week of convicted embezzler and Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit winner Richard A. Short has caused deep embarrassment for state officials. But for me it has occasioned some poignant reflection on two former colleagues, Martin M. Wing, Ph.D, and Joseph P. Overton, who co-authored the Mackinac Center's first MEGA study in 1995, with a third scholar, before the program even became law.


     
  1543. MEGA Show Trial?

    The Michigan House and Senate plan to hold hearings this week on how a convicted embezzler on parole duped the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Economic Growth Authority into offering his company — which was being run out of a Flint mobile home park — a $9.1 million tax credit. (This could have become a "refundable" credit, meaning the state would likely be writing checks to the embezzler.)


     
  1544. Funds Disclosure

    Lansing's sound and fury over the state granting a targeted tax credit to a convicted embezzler's company will signify nothing unless decision-makers recognize that the root problem is a lack of transparency from Michigan's economic development agencies.


     
  1545. New Census Data: Michigan Economy Suffering More Than State Budget

    New Census Bureau data published today confirm a trend shown in previous releases: While the amount of tax revenue flowing into the Michigan treasury has fallen, the state's tax trends look brighter than the state's economy.


     
  1546. Editorial Praises Center's School Transparency Efforts

    The Center's "Show Michigan the Money" project is an "idea that makes sense in this information age," according to an editorial in today's Port Huron Times Herald.


     
  1547. Center Analysts Discuss Health Care Takeover

    Recently passed federal legislation allowing for a government takeover of health insurance will have negative implications for Michigan.


     
  1548. State 'TEA' Groups Report Rapid Growth

    When Tina Dupont got her 1,000th member for the TEA Party of West Michigan, she blogged about it on Jan. 27.

    Now, the founder from Rockford has seen the group swell to 1,231 as of Monday — and it appears to be growing by the hour.

    "In the last four days, it has been explosive compared to what we are used to," said Dupont, who estimated they've been getting 15 new members a day since the focus on the national health care bill.

    TEA Party groups from around the state are reporting that they are seeing more and more people join their cause.


     
  1549. Resolution to Support the Repeal of Act 312

    WHEREAS, an Act 312 arbitrator is unaccountable to the municipality for the short and long term financial consequences of an Act 312 Award after its issuance...


     
  1550. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST March 23, 2010
     
  1551. Plan would add 'teacher consultants'
    "As Kent City Community Schools considers ways to cut costs, one idea on the table is to hire 'teacher consultants' to supervise students for part of the school week."
     
  1552. Is This the Downsizing Detroit Needs?
     
  1553. Reorganization of Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality Is Bad News

    The timing could not be worse for reorganization of the state's environmental permitting functions.


     
  1554. More Questions Surround Forced Unionization of Small-Business Owners, MHBCCC Funding

    The Detroit News' March 22 editorial says the Department of Human Services has more explaining to do about why it continues to operate the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, even though the Legislature voted to defund the agency.


     
  1555. A Case for Private School Choice in Detroit

    A Detroit Free Press columnist inadvertently makes strong case for universal tuition tax credits and a free school market in Detroit.


     
  1556. Harding to Discuss Natural Resources, Economic Recovery

    Russ Harding, senior environmental policy analyst and director of the Property Rights Network at the Center, will take part in a live chat hosted by The Grand Rapids Press at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23 (see grey box in Press story titled "Michigan 10.0" for details). The talk will be about how Michigan can best use its natural resources to drive economic recovery.


     
  1557. What MEAP Scores Mean
     
  1558. Pinckney joins regional bus plan
    "Pinckney Community Schools has become the fourth school district in Livingston County to join a consolidated busing program operated by the Livingston Educational Service Agency."
     
  1559. Opponents of Federalized Health Care Prepare for November

    Nationalized health care's rough journey through Congress ended Sunday.

    Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government and other allied opponents of the federal plan will help fire Michigan's first counterpunch today when they announce a citizen petition drive that they hope will halt the proposal in its tracks.

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved President Barack Obama's health care legislation Sunday night, which among other things will mandate that nearly every American purchase health care.


     
  1560. Lansing Rally on Sunday to Show State Resistance to Federalized Health Care

    With a vote on President Barack Obama's health care reform bill expected Sunday, a group of protesters are holding a last-minute rally to show politicians it is time for states to flex their own muscles.

    Joan Fabiano of Grassroots in Michigan is hosting a health care protest Sunday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Lansing at the State Capitol building.

    "They are not listening to us in Washington at all," Fabiano said.


     
  1561. What Transparency Should Look Like at the MEDC (but Doesn't)
    The award of a $9.1 million tax credit to a convicted embezzler has raised serious concerns about the lack of transparency at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The concerns could be alleviated by two transparency/due diligence reforms that would protect the state (and taxpayers) from fraud. However, the real issue is not whether the occasional criminal wins an "incentive" deal, but the lack of transparency that characterizes this entire operation. This is the measure by which the responses of politicians and economic development bureaucrats to this embarrassment should assessed.


     
  1562. Legislature's Most Persistent Targeted-Incentives Booster to Run Hearings on Embezzler's Tax-Break Deal

    In the wake of the news that the Michigan Economic Growth Authority awarded a $9 million tax break/subsidy deal to what appears to be a "shell" company created by a convicted embezzler, Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, has been assigned the task of managing Senate hearings on the vetting procedures used by MEGA and its parent agency, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. During his 11 years in the Legislature, Allen has become perhaps the most ardent promoter and defender of selective tax breaks and subsidies for particular firms and industries. Since 2001, Allen has introduced at least 60 bills in this category, many of them thinly disguised favors benefiting specific companies. Here are concise descriptions of a selection of these bills, from MichiganVotes.org:


     
  1563. Center Scholar Tapped to Help Warren With Budget Crisis

    Lou Schimmel, former director of municipal finance and an adjunct scholar with the Center, has been tapped for his expertise to solve the city of Warren's $10 million overspending crisis.


     
  1564. Activist Notebook: 'TEA Party Express' Touring Michigan
     
  1565. School Choice Ahead
     
  1566. Mike Houseman Video
     
  1567. Senator Jason Allen's Targeted Tax Break/Subsidy Bills
     
  1568. Cost-Cutting Options Written Out of Kent ISD Contract

    The Kent Intermediate School District approved a one-year agreement with its unions that would halt privatization even though school administrators acknowledge it is not enforceable.

    The Mackinac Center for Public Policy received the contract between the Kent County ISD and its unions this week through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    There is a provision in the agreement dated March 8 that all districts that approve the contract agree not to privatize for "the life of the agreement."

    This conflicts with Michigan's Public Employment Relations Act, Sec. 15, subsection 3(f), which states that privatization of "noninstructional support services" may not be the subject of a collective bargaining agreement so long as the district allows the school employee unions providing such services the opportunity to enter as a fair participant in the competitive bidding process and make their case for keeping the contract.


     
  1569. Lakeview considers private busing
    "Bus drivers in Lakeview Community Schools in Montcalm County say the district has refused to bargain with them over plans to privatize transportation, while the district superintendent said the union failed to submit a bid when invited."
     
  1570. Climate Change Panel Examines the 'Changing Debate'

    Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News, writes about the Mackinac Center's climate change panel, in which he participated, at National Review Online.

    You can watch the event here.


     
  1571. Legislators Should Look Closer to Home to Cut Spending

    A Detroit News editorial today calls a plan to cap salaries of public school superintendents and teachers based on what politicians are paid, "gimmicky," and cites this commentary by Mike Van Beek, director of education policy, which states that only 1 percent of school expenses go toward superintendent pay and benefits.

    James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst, does have a suggestion in this Dearborn Times-Herald Op-Ed about what legislators should focus on if they really want to cut spending.


     
  1572. School Employees Likely to Get Three-Quarters of $554 Million Service Tax Proposal

    Only $8.8 million of a proposed $554 million in taxes earmarked to help Michigan schools would go to teaching and testing supplies and textbooks, according to a Mackinac Center for Public Policy analysis.

    Meanwhile, $434 million — more than 78 percent — would go to school employee salaries and benefits, according to Michael Van Beek, the director of education policy at the Mackinac Center.


     
  1573. Sunshine Week 2010: Several Kent County Schools Now Posting Checkbooks Online
     
  1574. Michigan's Costly Tab for 'Cap-and-Trade'

    Cap-and-trade legislation will hit Michigan hard by 2030 if passed, costing the state as many as 91,000 jobs while raising residential energy costs as much as 60 percent and cutting a family's disposable income by as much as $1,400 a year, according to a new study.


     
  1575. Online classes planned in Grand Rapids
    "Grand Rapids Public Schools plans to shift to more online instruction by fall, a move that administrators said will benefit students, but that has teachers wondering if their jobs will be cut."
     
  1576. No Checkbook Left Behind

    More Michigan public school districts are posting their checkbook registers online as a way for taxpayers to see exactly how their money is spent, but most districts get a failing grade when it comes to transparency.


     
  1577. MEGA Jobs Announcements Symbolic Drop in the Bucket

    The Michigan Economic Growth Authority yesterday approved its latest batch of tax credits to lure large business projects to Michigan.

    Despite the press release, these big business projects are just not that consequential to Michigan's total economy.


     
  1578. This Just In: Convicted Embezzler's Business Awarded State Tax Subsidy

    The Associated Press is reporting that a convicted embezzler currently on parole has been approved for business tax credits under the state's Michigan Economic Growth Authority program. The article also noted that when the deal was announced, the embezzler, Richard A. Short, "shared the stage" with Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

    Had the program managers performed even a cursory background check, they certainly would have discovered Short's past.


     
  1579. Michigan Needs a 'State Bank'
     
  1580. Michigan Does Not Need a 'State Bank'
     
  1581. Sunshine Week 2010: 65 Michigan School Districts Get an 'A' for Putting Spending Online
     
  1582. DPS will shrink along with city
    "Detroit Public Schools will end up with 100 fewer school buildings than it had in 2006 if a new closure plan is carried out."
     
  1583. Sunshine Week 2010 Update: Several Kent County Schools Now Posting Checkbooks Online

    Show Michigan the Money project Director Ken Braun said he is pleased that at least eight Kent County school districts began posting their check registers online in early 2010. In response to a news release issued earlier today, one Kent County school district notified Braun that the district had been posting check registers online. Repeated requests from Braun seeking participation from the region's districts appeared to produce no posted check registers — and even some resistance — in 2009, but a breakthrough appears to have occurred this year in eight Kent County districts.


     
  1584. Recent Developments in Union Corruption Cases
     
  1585. Union Corruption Update

    Recent charges and guilty pleas involving union officials.


     
  1586. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST March 16, 2010
     
  1587. MEAP reading scores up
    "Reading scores improved in all grades, and math scores in most grades, while science and social studies scores dipped slightly on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests taken in fall of 2009."
     
  1588. Revised 'No Child' would be carrot-and-stick
    "Most of the country's public schools would have more freedom under a proposed rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law."
     
  1589. Changing the Climate on Climate Change

    Paul Chesser spoke of the nearly 20 controversies that have been recently uncovered involving the science promoting global warming.

    There was China-gate, Climate-gate, PeerReview-gate. Those were just a few of the 19 documented controversies that have shined a light on the faulty data and assumptions behind global warming.

    Chesser, special correspondent for the Heartland Institute and director of Climate Strategies Watch; Henry Payne, Pulitzer Prize nominated cartoonist for The Detroit News; and Shikha Dalmia, senior analyst at the Reason Foundation, spoke for about 90 minutes at Oakland University shooting down the hype surrounding global warming. The event was called "The Changing Debate on Climate Change" and was put on by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.


     
  1590. 'Survey of Pain' Says Taxpayers Need to Hurt More

    The Michigan School Business Officials and a tax-increase advocacy group called "Save Our Students, Schools and State," have released results from a canvass of 300 school districts, dubbed the "Survey of Pain." Tax hikes are proposed to alleviate the pain, but official data on the economy and Michigan's tax system cast considerable doubt on Michigan's ability to afford their remedy.


     
  1591. Rejecting State Employee Raise

    The Michigan Information & Research Service (subscription required) reprinted this blog post by Paul Kersey, labor policy director, explaining why it would not be a violation of labor law for the Legislature to reject a 3 percent raise for state employees as some lawmakers claimed.


     
  1592. Private vs. Public Sector
     
  1593. Parents ask for teacher concessions
    "Some parents who attended a South Redford School District forum recently called on teachers to make wage or benefit concessions as a way to protect school programs."
     
  1594. Superintendent, Teacher Pay

    Senate Bill 1148, introduced recently by Sen. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton, would limit the total compensation of public school superintendents to 75 percent of what the governor is paid and prohibit districts from paying any teacher more than what a state legislator makes.


     
  1595. Mayoral control a sticking point
    "An ambitious proposal to overhaul Detroit Public Schools ran into opposition Thursday over the issue of dissolving the school board and allowing Mayor Dave Bing to take charge."
     
  1596. Road Rage: Keeping More of Michigan's Gas Tax Dollars at Home

    Following a report that estimates Michigan taxpayers have paid for $1.7 billion in road improvements in other states over the past 50 years, State Sen. Wayne Kuipers said it's time the state got payback.

    Kuipers, R-Holland, said he will soon introduce controversial legislation that would have Michigan keep federal gas tax dollars and only pay Washington a penny on every dollar collected.


     
  1597. The Cost of a New State Constitution

    Whether residents approve a constitutional convention on this November's ballot may come down to how much it would cost to rewrite the state constitution.

    But there is a disagreement over just how much it would cost.


     
  1598. Alternative education under pressure
    "At least 14 public school districts in the Muskegon area offer some type of alternative education, either on their own or through a consortium, but the programs are under both budget and academic pressure."
     
  1599. Quick! Change the Subject

    Teamsters President James Hoffa would love to manipulate Tea Partiers for his own purposes.


     
  1600. Protecting Small-Business Owners From Stealth Unionization

    Another lawmaker has put his support behind legislation that would end the stealth unionization of small-business owners.


     
  1601. Center Analyst Empties 'Brain Drain' Myth

    Research by James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst, shows that claims of Michigan experiencing a "brain drain" are not true.


     
  1602. Melton: Let voters decide school spending
    "Michigan voters may see a ballot initiative in August asking them to approve a sales tax on services, with the understanding that their approval would also mean education spending reform, the chairman of the House Education Committee said Wednesday."
     
  1603. Secretive State Department Told to Fess Up to Taxpayers
     
  1604. Trade Disagreement

    A Michigan congressman wants to repeal legislation that has been one of the few bright spots in the state's slumping economy over the last decade.


     
  1605. Flint to review administrator load
    "All Flint Community Schools administrators, including members of the superintendent's cabinet, are likely to receive layoff notices this spring, though the majority could be back next year."
     
  1606. States Launching 'Civil Disobedience' to National Health Care

    Lawmakers opposed to President Barack Obama's plan for national health care reform are hoping to spur a nationwide "civil disobedience" that can derail Obamacare.

    State Rep. Brian Calley, R-Portland; State Rep. Justin Amash, R-Grand Rapids; and State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, have each introduced similar constitutional amendments that seek to trump the national health care bills.


     
  1607. Legislative Pay Evidence of a Larger Problem
     
  1608. This Just In: Spending More on Higher Education Hurts, Not Helps, State Economy

    The state higher-education establishment and its lobbyists argue that spending more tax dollars on their system will improve Michigan's economy.

    The very latest research on this issue, performed not by self-serving beneficiaries of government spending, but by disinterested scholars, finds that "increased spending on higher education generally exhibits a relatively large negative effect" on a state's economy.


     
  1609. Center Legal Analyst Testifies on Bills to End Stealth Unionization

    Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director Patrick Wright testified Tuesday on proposed legislation that would end the stealth unionization of home-based day care owners and prevent the same thing from happening to home health care workers.


     
  1610. Teacher research in Michigan
    "Research done by the dean of the University of Michigan school of education was featured at length in a New York Times magazine article recently about training effective teachers."
     
  1611. 2010 census a civics project in Niles
    "Sara McLaren is taking a once-in-a-decade opportunity to tie the U.S. Census directly to her civics and social studies curriculum at Niles High School."
     
  1612. Walled Lake Teacher Contract Analysis
     
  1613. Many Senators Refuse to Stand Against "Ineffective Teachers"
     
  1614. Supposed Benefits of Pension Obligation Bonds Sink With Market

    Michigan legislators who might consider borrowing billions to prop up government employee pension and post-retirement health care benefits should first look at recent developments in California. That state's massive state pension system, CalPERS, may lower its expectations for investment returns. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is considering a drop in its return expectations from 7.75 percent to as low as 5 or 6 percent.


     
  1615. Nicely Played, MEA!

    The MEA gave up nothing in the "Race to the Top" deal. They made no concessions in terms of teacher compensation or performance. They may — depending on just how the law is interpreted — have made privatization, which has saved school districts and taxpayers across the state millions of dollars a subject of collective bargaining again. Oh, and the state hasn’t gotten a nickel in federal funds so far.


     
  1616. League of Women Voters' Stance on Energy Policy Hurts Women

    Energy policy that makes it more expensive for developing countries to provide electricity to their citizens only leads to more human suffering and premature death.


     
  1617. Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director to Testify Today on Bills to Prohibit Stealth Unionization of Small-Business Owners

    Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director Patrick J. Wright will testify today before the Senate Families and Human Services Committee on proposed legislation to end the forced unionization of home-based day care owners and prohibit any stealth attempts to unionize contractors involved in home health care services. The committee will consider Senate Bills 1173, 1178 and 1179 at 2:30 p.m. in Room 210 of the Farnum Building.


     
  1618. State Employee Pay Raise Could Cost Them Jobs

    Arguing against a 3 percent pay hike for state employees is actually an argument in support of saving their jobs, according to an Op-Ed in The Michigan Daily.


     
  1619. Experts See Few Constitutional Hurdles Currently Impeding Federal Health Care Takeover

    The federal government has many options to mandate health care for every American, whether or not it is declared unconstitutional, some constitutional law experts say.

    While the question of forcing Americans to get health insurance may ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court, the federal government has many other tools to implement its policies, said Richard Hardy, chair of the political science department at Western Illinois University.

    A recurring topic on conservative talk radio shows has been that mandated health care is unconstitutional and could derail President Barack Obama’s health care reform. But three constitutional law experts say that scenario is unlikely.


     
  1620. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST March 9, 2010
     
  1621. Group plans seven Detroit high schools
    "Michigan Future Inc. has awarded an $850,000 grant to Detroit Edison Public School Academy to help it open a new high school this fall, the first in a planned series of grants."
     
  1622. Divided opinion on service tax
    "A public education advocacy group said Monday that Michigan should begin taxing consumer services at 5.5 percent, while reducing the existing sales tax from 6 to 5.5 percent, as a way to generate $550 million for schools in 2011."
     
  1623. Does Michigan Need a New Constitution?

    Standing before a crowd of TEA party activists last month, a member of the audience asked State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, whether a constitutional convention was a good thing.

    “That is a very bad thing,” Bishop told the crowd. “Any time you open a window, all the flies can come in. There are a lot of flies out there now.”


     
  1624. Superintendent Pay, Teacher Pay, and School Spending Reform
     
  1625. "Fighting for School Reforms" — Against Whom?

    The Michigan Education Association is taking heat even from some of its friends in the media because of the state's failure to qualify for $400 million in competitive "Race to the Top" federal grants. The blame game is afoot, but perhaps the the most curious comment on the exercise comes from the Democratic Speaker of the House, Rep. Andy Dillon: "House Democrats were fighting for major education reforms long before Race to the Top entered the picture." Fighting against whom?


     
  1626. 35, 34, 33...

    Wages for state employees have gone up half again as fast as they did for workers throughout the state. Certainly they can afford to go without an across-the-board raise this year.


     
  1627. Michigan’s GOP Congressional Team Scored Less 'Pro Growth' Than Party Peers in D.C. for 2008

    Michigan’s congressional delegation performed significantly worse in 2008 than their national peers on a broad-based measure of economic growth polices as tabulated by the Club for Growth, a free-market advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
     

  1628. Court upholds Grand Rapids privatization
    "The Kent County Circuit Court has upheld an arbitrator's decision that Grand Rapids Public Schools did not violate a labor contract when it privatized transportation workers in 2005, even though their contract with the district had not expired."
     
  1629. Fenton support staff moves to Teamsters
    "Members of the Fenton Education Support Personnel have voted to leave the Michigan Education Association and join Teamsters Local 214, saying they want better representation."
     
  1630. Regime Uncertainty: Michigan’s Legislative Creativity and Business Investment
     
  1631. Pledging Regulatory Reform
     
  1632. Evaluations of Early Education
     
  1633. Michigan Service Tax Proves (Groucho) Marx Correct
     
  1634. DPS could get grant money, if sides agree
    "The Detroit school board and its emergency financial manager must work together on a school redesign plan if they want to receive federal funding intended for low-achieving Michigan schools."
     
  1635. Tax Preparation
     
  1636. State Agency That Had Funds Cut by Legislature Says Future Looks Bright
     
  1637. Districts may share superintendent
    "Hudson Area Schools and Morenci Area Schools are considering sharing a superintendent and other services, though the plan is still exploratory."
     
  1638. 36 Days

    The bottom line is the Legislature has always had the authority to prevent pay raises authorized by the CSC, and collective bargaining agreements between the state and unions representing its employees have always been subject to the Legislature’s acquiescence.


     
  1639. CBO Agrees With Littmann — Six Weeks Later

    The Congressional Budget Office today said a proposal by the Obama administration to levy a "tax" on banks would ultimately be "borne to varying degrees by an institution's customers, employees, and investors," according to ABC News.

    David Littmann, the Center's senior economist, explained why the idea was faulty way back in January.


     
  1640. Editorial Praises Center Study

    An editorial in today's Midland Daily News says a study about the failures of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. should be "required reading" for legislators.


     
  1641. I'm Just a Bill Constitutional Amendment

    Since December members of the Legislature have proposed 13 amendments to the Michigan Constitution. To become law these must garner a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and then be approved by voters at the next general election.


     
  1642. Ignore the Facts! Green Jobs are Good

    The U.S. Department of Energy should be providing us with unbiased energy information. All Americans should be concerned when federal agencies are used as a political tool to advance policy objectives of the president or members of Congress. Is it any wonder that trust for government it at such a low point?


     
  1643. MEA President Gets 15 Percent Pay Hike

    The average salary of the 346 employees of the Michigan Education Association increased 19 percent - to more than $89,000 each - since 2005, according to the Lansing State Journal. Union President Iris Salters was paid $239,000 in 2009, the State Journal reported, which is more than four times the average pay of the classroom teachers the MEA represents.


     
  1644. So far, Michigan an also-ran
    "Michigan did not make the cut in the first round of Race to the Top, though it can try again this fall."
     
  1645. Why Is the State Bribing Teachers to Retire?
     
  1646. Center Helps Public School District Follow State Law

    Northville Public Schools removed a press release from its district Web site announcing that a school board member was running for the Michigan House of Representatives after being contacted by Tom Gantert, senior correspondent for Michigan Capitol Confidential, according to Hometown Life, part of the Observer & Eccentric newspaper chain in metro Detroit.

    Senior Legal Analyst Patrick Wright explained that the press release was a violation of state campaign finance law.


     
  1647. 37 Days

    The process of collective bargaining cannot be allowed to trump the will of the people or the public interest; otherwise, our representative government is in danger of morphing into a plutocracy controlled by government employee unions, who could use collective bargaining to lead the rest of the state around by the nose.

    We have 37 days to restore fiscal sanity in Michigan.


     
  1648. Wall Street Journal Columnist Cites Center Scholar's Book

    Daniel Henninger highlighted recently in The Wall Street Journal a book titled "The Myth of the Robber Barons:  A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America," written in 1991 by Dr. Burton Folsom Jr., senior fellow in economic education for the Mackinac Center.


     
  1649. MichiganScience No. 12
    MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals.
     
  1650. The Saga of Forced Unionization
     
  1651. Private backers boost Bobb’s income
    "Robert Bobb will receive an $81,000 raise in his second year as emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools, putting his income at $425,000, though most of the increase will come from private philanthropic organizations."
     
  1652. Are You My Employer?
     
  1653. Public Events: Two Free-Market Panels of Experts to Examine Green Jobs and Climate Change
     
  1654. Michigan Rolling in Dough? Gives Out Raises, Plus Millions in Tourism Subsidies

    Two votes in the state Senate on Wednesday may cause residents to question how seriously lawmakers are treating the need to restrain government spending. The first vote was on a resolution rejecting a government employee pay hike. (See previous post on this site.) The second measure would spend $9.5 million on tourism subsidies in the form of advertisements paid for by taxpayers. This despite the fact that the main beneficiaries this spending have explicitly rejected using their own money to pay for the ads, as reported by the Mackinac Center's Michael LaFaive.


     
  1655. The Plain Language of the Law: Senate Fails to Reject Government Pay Hike

    Excerpts from Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35, which would have rejected a 3 percent raise for unionized state government employees for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2010:

    (Roll Call Vote Details here.)
     

  1656. Kermit the Frog Meets the Underpants Gnomes: Ron Gettelfinger's Pitch for Green Auto Jobs

    The UAW chief tells us that there are 190,000 new automotive sector jobs about to be created, and we can have them all right here if Republicans and Democrats do…something. What exactly Gettelfinger hopes they will do isn’t spelled out or even hinted at but it probably involves gobs of taxpayer money.


     
  1657. Forced Unionization of Small-Business Owners Spreads to Other States

    The forced unionization of home-based day care owners, which the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is fighting against in Michigan, is spreading to other states.


     
  1658. Questions Surround Film Subsidy Report

    The second annual report from the Michigan Film Office shows that $69 million was transferred from Michigan taxpayers to movie makers in 2009, but is sketchy on further details, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.


     
  1659. Forced Unionization Draws More Attention

    Another nationally syndicated columnist has written about the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's fight to end the forced unionization of small business owners.


     
  1660. Fixing Michigan's Roads

    Everyone can agree that Michigan's roads are in need of repair. How to pay for it, however, is another issue.


     
  1661. Michigan Unemployment Payments May Fuel More Unemployment
     
  1662. Group launches Detroit high school initiative
    "Michigan Future Inc. has awarded an $850,000 grant to Detroit Edison Public School Academy to help it open a new high school this fall, the first in a planned series of grants."
     
  1663. The Plain Language of the Law: Senate Fails to Reject Government Pay Hike

    Excerpts from Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35, which would have rejected a 3 percent state government employee pay hike for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2010:

    (Roll Call Vote Details here.)
     

  1664. Dove Academy: The end goal is a college degree
     
  1665. Why a Democrat Voted Against a State Employee Pay Hike
     
  1666. Why the Legislature Should Oppose a State Employee Pay Hike
     
  1667. Investors Denounced by President, State House Democrats and Ten House Republicans

    When Chrysler filed for bankruptcy on April 30, 2009, President Barack Obama publicly laid much of the blame at the feet of a group of hedge funds — investment firms that held Chrysler debt but did not initially cooperate with a deal being pushed by the White House as a means of preventing the bankruptcy. Those hedge funds had a far different story to tell, one of protecting investors large and small who had a legitimate right to a much better deal than what the White House was eventually able to impose. But a bipartisan coalition of Michigan politicians was in no mood that day to hear that side of the story.


     
  1668. Cap-and-Trade Dead; Long Live Cap?

    Just when there was hope that Congress might actually be listening to the majority of Americans who do not want higher energy costs through federal cap-and-trade legislation, here comes another attempt by some in Congress to take more money from consumers and kill more American jobs.


     
  1669. New Poll Supports Center Research

    According to the Michigan Information & Research Service's Capitol Capsule (subscription required), a new poll by EPIC/MRA shows 57 percent of voters favor a plan that would require government employees to pay 20 percent of the cost of their own health insurance premiums.


     
  1670. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST March 2, 2010
     
  1671. Michigan not seen as 'Race' front-runner
    "Will Michigan be included when first-round finalists in the Race to the Top program are named, possibly this week? Not according to most predictions by national education writers and observers, though the final decision is up to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.."
     
  1672. Health care poll: Public workers should pay more
    "About 57 percent of voters likely would support requiring public employees, including teachers, to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums, according to a recent poll."
     
  1673. Teacher certification tests don’t tell us enough about quality
     
  1674. In Memory of Sarah Grether

    Mackinac Center intern Sarah Grether, 21, died in a two-car accident in Midland County Friday night, according to the Midland Daily News.

    You can read tributes from her colleagues at the Center here.


     
  1675. Center Analyst Addresses Taxes, Spending

    Proponents of a tax hike on Michigan residents are using the wrong numbers to support their argument, according to a recent Op-Ed by James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst, in The Dearborn Times-Herald.

    Before raising taxes, however, policymakers should take a closer look at how they spend the billions of dollars they already take from Michigan's families and businesses. Hohman explains how in this Oakland Press Op-Ed.


     
  1676. Pension plan didn’t spark retirement, two say
    "Four long-time school superintendents will retire in Genesee County in 2010."
     
  1677. Minority Rules: Most Members of Child Care Union Didn’t Vote Themselves In

    A state representative called out a union lawyer for a gross exaggeration last month in an emerging controversy over just how many of the 70,000 home-based day care workers in Michigan knew they were being unionized.

    Last year in a complicated union deal, about 70,000 day care workers in Michigan learned they had joined a union known as Child Care Providers Together Michigan and were now working for Michigan Home Based Child Care Council. About 40,000 of those home-based day care workers have union dues to the tune of $3.7 million a year automatically deducted from their state subsidy checks.


     
  1678. Issues and Ideas Forum, March 16, 2010
     
  1679. Progressing Backwards
     
  1680. "Larry the Liquidator" on Senate Bill 1174

    2010 Senate Bill 1174 (Rewrite corporate takeover rules for particular insurance company)
    Introduced by Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom (R) on February 25, 2010, to rewrite the rules for corporate acquisitions so as to raise obstacles to the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Fremont Insurance Company (which is located in the district of the bill sponsor) by the Indianapolis-based Steak and Shake Corporation. Specifically, the bill would require a two-thirds supermajority of shareholders to vote in favor of the sale if the current board of directors opposes being taken over.

    Larry the Liquidator shares his thoughts.


     
  1681. Former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson Explores Presidential Run
     
  1682. "Larry the Liquidator" on Senate Bill 1174
     
  1683. University contributions down
    "Charitable contributions to colleges and universities declined by 11.9 percent overall across the United States in 2009."
     
  1684. In Memoriam: Sarah E. Grether, 1988-2010
     
  1685. Troy Rally to 'Win Back Our Government'

     

    On a day when the nearby Troy shopping malls were packed, Ruth Alderisio stood on a nearby sidewalk holding a sign urging the Democrats to take back their party from radicals.

    "We came out so our voices can be heard," the Troy woman said. "So all the things we say in our living room can be heard by our policymakers."

    Alderisio was one of about 300 people who showed up for a couple of hours in Troy in freezing temperatures to protest President Barack Obama's policies. The event was put on by the South East Michigan 9.12 Project group.

     


     
  1686. Gov. Granholm Gambling on Michigan's Economic Future With Energy Subsidies

    Excuse me for not feeling all warm and tingly after Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced the latest state subsidies for wind and solar manufacturing.


     
  1687. And They Say They Need More Money

    As this recent story in Michigan Education Report shows, school districts in Michigan are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for the escalating costs of teacher health insurance.


     
  1688. Small Businesses vs. Big Governments
     
  1689. Mixed results in bond votes
    "Voters in Hartland Consolidated Schools, Pinckney Community Schools and Chippewa Valley Schools approved bond issues of $28 million, $59 million and $89 million, respectively, this week, but Berkley School District voters turned down a $168 million proposal."
     
  1690. School District Resources Used for Candidate Campaign Announcement
     
  1691. The Last Thing Michigan Needs Is More Expensive Energy

    Rather than mandating costly alternative energy, state policymakers should be encouraging energy production with efficient technology such as clean coal.


     
  1692. New Bill Could End Forced Unionization of Small-Business Owners

    Tens of thousands of small business owners in Michigan could be freed from forced unionization if Senate Bill 1173 becomes law.


     
  1693. State Government Employee Unions Prosper in Midst of Recession
     
  1694. Union sues in privatization case
    "The union that represents six former school custodians in Cass City is suing the private company that now provides custodial service to the district, alleging that the company interfered in the business relationship between the union and Cass City Public Schools."
     
  1695. Climate Distortion 101
     
  1696. Congressional Contestants Pledge Against Cap-and-Trade
     
  1697. Don't Look Now

    The important thing is that the leadership of the GOP in Lansing thinks, at a minimum, that it can score political points by promoting right-to-work protections, which is a big shift for a state in which unions have held sway for so long.


     
  1698. Employment Creation in Michigan Illustrates the Ineffectiveness of the State's Incentives

    The latest Business Employment Dynamics numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from the third quarter of 2008 through the second quarter of 2009, 778,025 jobs were created in Michigan and 1,144,655 jobs disappeared. Among other things, the figures starkly illustrate just how ineffective the state's economic incentive programs are.


     
  1699. I Was "Just a Bill," But Now About to Be a Law!

    From MichiganVotes.org:

    2009 House Bill 5567 (Grant property tax breaks to a particular subdivision)

    • Introduced by Rep. Woodrow Stanley (D) on October 29, 2009, to extend "Neighborhood Enterprise Zone" property tax breaks to the University Park Estates subdivision in Flint, which is less than 10 years old, and is in a "renaissance zone" whose tax-exempt status is expiring soon. Under current law, these particular NEZ tax breaks are for subdivisions built before 1968. They cut the owner's local property tax liability on the structure in half.
    • Passed in the House (89 to 18) on December 8, 2009. [Roll Call Vote, Yeas and Nays]
    • Passed in the Senate (38 to 0) on February 23, 2010. [Roll Call Vote, Yeas and Nays]

     
  1700. Do They Really Need More?

    As is the case with most, if not all, state spending, current resources should be spent more wisely before looking at raising taxes.

    That is especially true of the gas tax, which Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh wrote about in an Op-Ed for the Cadillac News. (Scroll to the bottom.)

    McHugh has written previously about this issue here.


     
  1701. Critics Say Arbitration Bill 'Hollow' Without Amendment
     
  1702. Troy Trounces Tax Hike
     
  1703. Detroit awards private bus contracts
    "Detroit Public Schools will hire First Student Transportation Co. of Cincinnati and continue contracting with ABC Student Transportation of Detroit to provide bus services as of May 1."
     
  1704. Regional concessions on the table
    "The Comstock Park Education Employees Association voted to approve what could become a regional labor contract if their colleagues in other school districts adopt it as well."
     
  1705. We’re Just Some Bills

    Just a few of the 65 bills introduced in the Michigan House in the past couple weeks, as described by MichiganVotes.org:


     
  1706. Candice Miller Says She Will Be Pork-Free in 2010
     
  1707. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST February 23, 2010
     
  1708. Some will get certificates, not diplomas
    "Bay City Public Schools is developing a policy under which students who do not meet Michigan's new graduation requirements would receive a "certificate of completion" rather than a diploma."
     
  1709. Give. It. Up.

    Binding arbitration isn’t a last resort in EFCA: It’s the specialty of the house.


     
  1710. Service Tax: $1.3 Billion Tax Hike on Thousands of Services

    The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency has performed an initial review of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's executive budget recommendation, which reveals that the proposed service tax would actually raise taxes by $1.3 billion — much more than the $900 million originally reported.


     
  1711. School, Government Employee Unions Drain Their Host

    When Doug Pratt and other government union officials talk about raising taxes, what they're really saying is, "You can take a hit to your income and economic security, but don't even think about asking my politically powerful troops to give up a penny of their pay and bennies (including full health coverage for age-50-something retirees). And we have the power to make it stick."


     
  1712. 'Detroitification' Happens to States and Nations, Too

    The term "Detroitification" — which I first coined in 2007 to describe the process by which the private sector is hollowed out to prop up an unsustainable government establishment — has been catching on in various places around the country.


     
  1713. Municipal Costs Need a Watchful Eye

    Overtime costs for municipal employees can quickly mount and therefore deserve special consideration.


     
  1714. Troy Voters to Decide $196-Per-Home Tax Question
     
  1715. Troy to Explore Extensive Privatization
     
  1716. Covert owes $700,000 to MESSA
    "Covert Public Schools has accumulated about $700,000 in past due health insurance premium bills, which it will try to pay off in monthly installments of about $130,000 each."
     
  1717. Reality Check: Are Federal Dollars Worth 'Saving'?
     
  1718. Back to semesters in West Ottawa
    "A west Michigan high school is switching back to semesters in 2010-2011 as a way to save up by $500,000 annually by hiring fewer teachers."
     
  1719. Class of ‘05 Lawmakers’ Drinking and Driving Is Double the State Average
     
  1720. Michigan: A National Leader in Tax Hikes

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm argues (with some remorse) that during her seven-year tenure, Michigan has cut more from its budget than any other state. The claim is dubious, but another milestone about which she does not boast is verifiable: Since Gov. Granholm's first inauguration in January 2003, Michigan has led the nation in tax increases.

    States rely on four major taxes to finance their general operations: income, sales, business and tobacco taxes. Gov. Granholm has signed into law increases in three of these: tobacco taxes in 2004 and business and income taxes in 2007. Only two other states, Maryland and New York, have increased all three of these taxes since 2002.


     
  1721. Public Bus Fares Cover Less Than 20 Percent of Costs
     
  1722. Thomas Sowell's Field Guide to Intellectuals
     
  1723. Teacher evaluation talks begin
    "Michigan is moving into "unchartered territory" as school districts begin to evaluate teachers and administrators in new ways under the state's Race to the Top legislation."
     
  1724. Mackinac Center President Joseph Lehman to Speak at Detroit Athletic Club
     
  1725. A Sign of the Times

    Michigan is a great state. A Renaissance in public policy is needed most. Businesses are not leaving the state willingly; they are being run out by unenlightened leadership that does not attract as many innovators as we should.


     
  1726. Stimulus Helps 4-Year-Old Buy New Home

    Had Joe Biden's stimulus-boosting, damage-control visit to mid-Michigan this week been made open to the public rather than just a few hand-picked visitors, maybe someone could have asked him why a four-year-old "taxpayer" received a "first-time homebuyer" tax credit of $8,000.


     
  1727. Gubernatorial Fact Check

    In presenting her executive budget, Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated, "I have cut more state spending than any governor in Michigan history, having resolved more than $10 billion in deficits since 2003." It's unnecessary to state that one of those budgets was "resolved" with a $1.4 billion tax hike — not exactly cutting more than anyone — but even the $10 billion is an overstatement.


     
  1728. Off the Tracks

    While states are fighting for an ever larger share of the so-called stimulus money, Michigan should be glad it did not receive more than it did for a Detroit-to-Chicago high-speed rail corridor.

    Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center, explains why in this Detroit Free Press Op-Ed.


     
  1729. Meanwhile, Back on the Government-Run Health Care Front ...

    Recent news reports that the Canadian premier of Newfoundland and Labrador would obtain heart surgery at an American hospital occasioned teeth-grinding by supporters of a government-run health care system like Canada's, and snickers from those opposed to the Congressional plan to impose a system with many of the same features here.

    The news that a Canadian government official sought care in this country was no surprise to those who watched the Mackinac Center's popular YouTube videos posted last fall documenting the pain and suffering that Canada's health care rationing imposes on individual citizens (more than 800,000 Canadians are on a waiting list for care at any given moment).

    BTW, the premier's surgery was a success.


     
  1730. Free Style Skating

    Flags are everywhere at the Olympics, but the games are not about international strife. There, patriotism trumps nationalism, and performance eclipses politics. The Olympics highlight the fact that individuals, not governments, make countries great.


     
  1731. Private Home Weatherization a Stimulus Spending Priority
     
  1732. Alice in Subsidy Land
     
  1733. Lansing to study millage
    "The Lansing School District may ask voters to approve a new millage in 2011 to pay for facility upgrades or energy improvements."
     
  1734. The Michigan Zombie Child Care Council
     
  1735. Governor Offers $2.1 Billion Toast to Health of Government

    Last week, Gov. Jennifer Granholm introduced the final budget of her tenure. She proposes spending $2.1 billion more than the current year, and requests a $554 million net tax increase for fiscal 2011. The tax hike comes from immediately increasing the tax burden on consumers by expanding the sales tax to services, while gradually implementing a reduction in business taxes.

    This net tax hike would ensure the health of state government at the expense of families and business owners.


     
  1736. Stimu-less?

    Today marks one year since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law.

    Below is a sampling of what Mackinac Center analysts and scholars have written in the past year about the so-called stimulus bill.


     
  1737. Charter School Study Flawed

    A new study claiming that charter public schools are segregated should be ignored according to comments by Mike Van Beek, the Center's director of education policy, in the Chicago Tribune.

    Van Beek easily dissected the flaws in the study. He also writes about charter schools here and here.


     
  1738. Pay Attention!

    Tax breaks, subsidies, credits and other forms of corporate welfare must be addressed in Michigan's fiscal 2011 budget.

    The Detroit News editorial today says this issue "has received scant attention from anyone" other than the Mackinac Center.


     
  1739. Stimulus Fails at Job Creation

    While President Barack Obama started a nationwide campaign this week to promote the success of his economic stimulus program, two prominent economists grade it as an “F.”


     
  1740. Board adopts beverage ban
    "Sugared and caffeinated drinks are now off limits to students and staff at Pennfield Middle School in Battle Creek, even if they bring it from home."
     
  1741. Center Analyst Addresses 'Industrial Policy'

    Cutting corporate taxes, not "punitive" actions, are the best way to revive American industry, according to David Littmann, senior economist for the Center.

    Littmann told Industry Week magazine that calls from labor for a national industrial policy will result in special interests, not the marketplace, coming out ahead.

    Read more about the negative impact of tariffs here.


     
  1742. Which Would You Choose: Growth or Economic Decline?

    No, we wouldn't want to be like Mississippi. Flint wouldn't want to be like Dallas. Those places have like, economic growth and stuff.


     
  1743. What Unites the Tea Party Movement?

    A few days ago on the Facebook page of one of Michigan's Tea Party leaders (Wendy Day of "Common Sense in Government"), some reader comments were posted revealing confusion regarding the purpose and composition of that movement. I took the opportunity to expand on an answer from the Mackinac Center's "Tea Party Activist Toolbox," as follows:


     
  1744. Rush Limbaugh on Mackinac Center Lawsuit

    Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh on Friday spent several minutes talking about the lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation against the Michigan Department of Human Services over the forced unionization of tens of thousands of home-based day care providers.

    John Stossel of Fox Business News Thursday had written about the issue and aired a segment on Fox News Channel.


     
  1745. Will Michigan Business Taxpayers Be Subsidizing Batteries for 'Free' Golf Carts?
     
  1746. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST February 16, 2010
     
  1747. Pros, cons of social promotion
    "Social promotion is now banned in Detroit Public Schools, but opinion varies on whether the ban will boost student achievement and at what expense."
     
  1748. Can They Even Spell 'Green?'

    Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News and contributor to The MC, wrote recently at National Review Online about what he sees as the "green indoctrination" of public school students.

    CapCon Daily also examined this issue recently.


     
  1749. Tourism Study Raises Questions

    Dollar figures touted by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in her State of the State address last week came from a study about the supposed benefits of tourism subsidies that is not yet complete.

    Gov. Granholm said that the state gets $2.23 back for every dollar it spends on advertising through the "Pure Michigan" campaign. That information came from a report that won't be finished for another month, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

    Mike LaFaive, director of the Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, told the Livingston Daily that releasing such information without the full study is uncommon.


     
  1750. Separate and Equal

    A new teachers union-funded study trying to pin charter schools for being "segregative" falls flat.


     
  1751. Welcome, Allies Against Outsized Government Class Privileges

    The lead editorial in yesterday's Lansing State Journal called for ending post-retirement health care benefits to state retirees of working age: "It's time for the state to stop subsidizing health benefits for former workers who are still of working age . . . In the private sector at least, the clear trend is that if people under age 65 want subsidized health insurance, they should expect to be full-time employees."

    For some time I have been making the same point in articles and speeches. I've pointed out that there's not enough money in the world to pay these benefits — the LSJ cites a Pew Center report showing some $8 billion would be required — and also that these aren't really contractual obligations, like pensions appear to be.


     
  1752. Stimulus Boosts Bus Transit
     
  1753. Officials Hope Transit Projects Will Reduce Emissions, Create Jobs
     
  1754. More homeless students identified
    "School districts in the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District are using federal grant funding to better identify and serve homeless students."
     
  1755. Reality Check
     
  1756. Union: Retirement idea unfair
    " Teachers union officials in Bay City say that a proposal to cut off vision and dental benefits of long-term teachers who don't retire by Oct. 1 is unfair."
     
  1757. Challenging Property Taxes Could Bring Big Savings
     
  1758. Ann Arbor wants to bring back students
    "Better customer service, smaller learning communities or specific teaching techniques all may be reasons parents choose a charter public school over their conventional public school district, a local administrator told an Ann Arbor school board committee recently."
     
  1759. Planet Lansing

    In a state with the nation's highest unemployment and a $1.87 billion budget overspending crisis, taxpayers may wonder what planet Lansing is on.


     
  1760. Mike LaFaive Critiques Governor's Budget

    Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Center, was a guest on "The Frank Beckmann Show" on WJR AM760 today, discussing Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed fiscal 2011 budget. He pointed out several shortcomings in her plan and offered suggestions on what the state should do to reduce costs, lower tax burdens and create a job-friendly atmosphere. You can read more about those items here.


     
  1761. Michigan’s Brains Remain Constant

    The exodus of young and educated young people from Michigan is one of those “clear, simple and wrong” explanations often cited as a factor in Michigan’s poor economic performance. The reality is that young people are already highly mobile even in a good economy, and that even in Michigan’s ongoing bad times, we're actually doing pretty well in attracting college graduates to the state.


     
  1762. Whatever

    If you had the UAW’s record, you’d be tempted to hide behind a great man’s rhetoric of 40 years ago, too.


     
  1763. MCLF Lawsuit Featured on Fox News

    Fox News aired a segment by John Stossel titled "Whose Business is it Anyway?" Thursday afternoon on "Shepard Smith's Studio B," about the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Human Services over the forced unionization of home-based day care providers. MCLF Director Patrick J. Wright was interviewed for the taped piece.

    Stossel also wrote about the issue at Fox Business on Thursday, the second time he has written on the matter.

    National Review Online and The Washington Examiner also highlight the investigative work by Communications Specialist Kathy Hoekstra that lead up to the lawsuit.


     
  1764. Axed State Agency Mysteriously Operational
     
  1765. Michigan Legislature Eliminates State Funding for Day Care Union 'Employer,' but Agency Somehow Continues to Operate
     
  1766. Gov. Granholm Scoffs at Mackinac Center
     
  1767. Is the MHBCCC Defunded?
     
  1768. Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on MHBCCC
     
  1769. An Excerpt from “Indivisible”
     
  1770. Governor’s Tax Hike Proposals Increase Already Juiced System

    Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm introduced a series of tax hikes today to raise more revenue to cover its overspending. But adding a tax hike would increase the revenue to a system that's already giving Lansing more revenue than typical among states.


     
  1771. Governor Wrong About Headlee Limits

    Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm presented her executive budget today. In it, she argues that Michigan needs to raise taxes in the over the next few years because its revenues are far below its constitutional revenue limit. She states, "The gap has grown as a result of the economic downturn and is anticipated to widen further as currently enacted tax changes take effect in the next several years."


     
  1772. Lawmakers Tackle Film Credit Transparency
     
  1773. Churches play role in education
    "While several churches have helped to establish public charter schools, at least one prefers working to strengthen the conventional public school system."
     
  1774. Lansing Proposes, the MEA Disposes
     
  1775. Mackinac Center Fiscal Director: ‘Governor’s Tax Hike Proposal Is Madness’
     
  1776. Welcome to Bizarro World

    It is a bizarre world indeed when the MEA claims to be the taxpayers' champion.


     
  1777. Don’t Blame Mexico for Michigan’s Problems

    In her State of the State address last week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm listed the reasons why she believes the state's economy has fallen. "We all know the reasons — trade policies that dismantled factories here and built them in Mexico, the auto industry in meltdown, the banking crisis, the mortgage crisis, and on top of all that, a severe national recession." While the latter reasons may have played their part, company and job relocation to Mexico has been the least of Michigan's problems. Furthermore, trade with Mexico has actually been a bright spot for the state.


     
  1778. State Encourages Students to Clean School Refrigerator Coils, Check Bus Tire Pressure
     
  1779. Judge: District can impose insurance cap
    "A Wayne County Circuit Court judge ruled Friday that the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District has the right to deduct money from employee paychecks for health insurance premiums."
     
  1780. Tax more? Spend less? Reform first?
     
  1781. Most School Health Care Plans Are Too Expensive For Michigan
     
  1782. Happy Birthday, William Henry Harrison

    Wesley Reynolds, Mackinac Center operations intern, writes about President William Henry Harrison to commemorate the 237th anniversary of his birth at Landmarks of Liberty.


     
  1783. Proposed Budget More Important Than State of the State

    Members of a panel discussion on WXYZ TV's "Spotlight on the News" program agreed that Gov. Jennifer Granholm's final State of the State address last week was well delivered, but lacked substance.


     
  1784. Roger Redux: Michael Moore's contradictions are old news
     
  1785. Most School Health Care Plans Are Too Expensive For Michigan
     
  1786. Headlee’s Social Welfare Problem
     
  1787. Pension Obligation Bonds: Borrowing Our Way to Prosperity?
     
  1788. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST February 9, 2010
     
  1789. Catholic school will forgive tuition
    "Students won't have to leave De La Salle Collegiate High School next fall if their parents become unemployed and can't afford tuition during the school year."
     
  1790. Tea Party Express Bus Tour
     
  1791. Cap Con Daily: Online and On-Message
     
  1792. Response to a Welfare Worker's Cry From the Heart

    Jack McHugh responds to a Department of Human Services employee on the challenges and conditions faced by front-line welfare department workers.


     
  1793. Economy Contracts, Government Expands

    Is Detroit’s economic plight a bellwether for the nation? “Detroitification,” a phrase coined by my colleague, Jack McHugh, is defined as the hollowing out of the private economy to prop up unsustainable (and often unresponsive) government establishments. Is this an apt description of Washington’s policies?


     
  1794. Teachers and Taxpayers

    The president of the Michigan Education Association stated on the radio recently that school employees have "given and given and given and given." Comparing teacher salaries to personal income demonstrates that the taxpayers bearing school employee costs have "given" a lot more.


     
  1795. Wayne State's 'Wholly Owned Subsidiary' of Big Labor
     
  1796. Charter School Demand Continues to Rise
     
  1797. School group eyes ballot initiative
    "Michigan voters could see an education funding question on the ballot this year if the state Legislature doesn't take action on the issue."
     
  1798. Michael Moore's 'Greed' Message Doesn't Apply to His Film's Financiers
     
  1799. Howell E-mail Case Raises Other Questions
     
  1800. Steele to Challenge Dingell for 15th District Seat
     
  1801. MEA can’t be on agenda
    "In an apparent flap over who is allowed to book time on the school board agenda, the Novi Education Association said that if it can't bring in a representative from the Michigan Education Association to speak at a board meeting, then it will hold a community meeting of its own."
     
  1802. Mackinac Center Scholar Assisting Pontiac

    Lou Schimmel, a Mackinac Center adjunct scholar, has been appointed to a committee that will investigate whether the city of Pontiac should contract with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office for police services or maintain its own department.

    Schimmel has written previously about Pontiac's financial woes, and this issue of Michigan Privatization Report focused exclusively on the city, including this commentary about the Pontiac Police Department.


     
  1803. DHS Won't Tell Legislator Where They Got Funding

    Even though the state Legislature voted to defund the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council in the current budget, the agency is still operating, and the Department of Human Services, which oversees the MHBCCC, won't tell the Legislature where the money is coming from.

    DHS cites a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation as its defense for remaining tight lipped.

    One state legislator, however, isn't happy with the "non-answer" answer.


     
  1804. Who Won't They Unionize?

    The same forced unionization problem the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is battling on behalf of home-based day care owners is now stirring up controversy in the in-home health care provider field.


     
  1805. Diversifying Michigan for Trial Lawyers

    Even when Gov. Jennifer Granholm picks winners and losers, the winners get knifed in the back.


     
  1806. Democrats and GOP Legislators Slam Savings at Secretary of State

    Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is trying to make people "drive further and further, just to receive assistance," according to state Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, who says his fellow Republican should focus her attention instead on "bringing services closer to the people." Kahn's criticisms were directed at the Dept. of State's ongoing Branch Office Modernization Program, which aims to save scarce taxpayer dollars by consolidating branches into fewer, but more technically-savvy and customer-friendly, locations. For Kahn's district, this means the loss of a branch in Frankenmuth and enhanced services at another in Saginaw — decision that Kahn calls "a mistake," but that Land's office defines as "fiscal responsibility."


     
  1807. Failure rate up as more students take AP
    "More high school students than ever are taking Advanced Placement tests, but the failure rate is increasing as well."
     
  1808. Veto-Proof?

    Regardless of whether Michigan receives a share of federal education money under the "Race to the Top" program, new legislation in Michigan could help improve education by opening the door for more charter public schools and using student achievement as a starting point for teacher merit pay.

    But Michigan's Public Employment Relations Act could stand in the way. Paul Kersey, director of labor policy, explains why in this Detroit News Op-Ed.


     
  1809. Cap Con Daily Has the Latest on Michael Moore

    Controversy continues to swirl around the application for tax subsidies associated with a film by Michael Moore that attacks banks for taking bailout money.

    The Flint Journal and Detroit News are covering the issue, as is CNSNews.

    Tom Gantert, senior correspondent for Capitol Confidential Daily, provides a comprehensive analysis here.


     
  1810. Michael Moore Urged to Withdraw Film Subsidy Application
     
  1811. Michigan School Funding Problems Solved!

    Incessant poor-mouthing is a staple of the public school establishment's perennial effort to extract more revenue from taxpayers. However, as described in a previous post, total state funding for Michigan public schools has actually increased by 14 percent this decade in real, inflation-adjusted terms. When combined with a 50,000-student decline in school enrollment, it adds up to our schools spending $2,000 more per pupil in 2008 than at the start of the decade.

    From the AnnArbor.com news site comes additional evidence that our schools very well funded indeed.


     
  1812. Respect My Authoritah!!!

    While labor law can be complicated and intimidating, school districts and the public should take a union’s claims about its own authority with a proverbial grain of salt.


     
  1813. Michigan Capitol Confidential Daily Unleashed

    How does Michigan Capitol Confidential Daily describe itself?


     
  1814. NOT Blown Away
     
  1815. State of the State Tally
     
  1816. State Politicos Skip TEA Party
     
  1817. Schools buy ‘best school’ rating
    "Nine southeast Michigan school districts paid $25,000 each to be named a "top school district" in Michigan by a Detroit-area public relations firm."
     
  1818. Campaign to Increase Michigan Taxes Emboldened by Success in Oregon

    Last week Oregon voters approved a union-funded ballot initiative imposing a $700 million hike in business and personal income taxes. Expect this outcome to embolden similar groups in other states, including Michigan. Indeed, the campaign here is already underway. MIRS News reported Tuesday on a state Capitol press conference organized by a group calling itself A Better Michigan Future (BMF), in which spokespersons and members of the union and liberal interest group coalition behind it made their case for a graduated income tax, and for imposing the state sales tax on services.


     
  1819. Center to Tally State of the State Expansions, Limitations

    Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive on Wednesday will continue his tradition of counting and categorizing new initiatives offered by Michigan governors in their annual State of the State addresses. Mackinac Center analysts will compare the total number of proposed government expansions and limitations in this year's address to gubernatorial speeches dating to 1969.


     
  1820. State of the Statists

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm gives her last State of the State speech tonight.

    Mackinac Center analysts have reviewed each State of the State speech dating back to 1969 and tallied the number of proposed expansions and limitations of government that each governor has offered. The "scorecard" of proposals below provides some insight into each administration's desire to see government solve perceived public policy problems.

    These counts are not an exact science, but determining whether a proposal expands or limits state government is usually not too difficult.

    Below is a set of historical averages covering the administrations of Governors William Milliken, James Blanchard, John Engler and Jennifer Granholm.


     
  1821. School Choice: Polluting Our Planet?

    A new study published in Environment Science and Technology analyzes the environmental impact of school choice policies in St. Paul, Minnesota. The authors found that eliminating school choice would lower emissions rates by 3 to 8 times and curb the "significant environmental consequences" of providing more educational opportunities for children.


     
  1822. Mackinac Center Analysts on 'State of the State' Address

    David Littmann, senior economist for the Mackinac Center, was a guest on "The Frank Beckmann Show" on WJR AM760 Monday morning. He discussed Michigan's economic woes and proposed spending cuts Gov. Jennifer Granholm is said to recommend in her "State of the State" address Wednesday night.

    Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, told The Detroit News that he is impressed by Gov. Granholm's calls to offer retirements incentives for state employees and restructure parts of their benefits. "It appears she wants to make the tough calls that will reduce the cost of government."


     
  1823. State of the State: Blown Away
     
  1824. Two plead guilty in DPS payroll scam
    "Two former Detroit Public Schools employees accused of defrauding the district of $400,000 in a payroll scam pled guilty in federal court."
     
  1825. State of the State Tally
     
  1826. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST February 2, 2010
     
  1827. Students protest layoffs, seniority
    "Students rallied outside Pontiac High School last week to protest the layoffs of 15 teachers, but comments made by one student suggested that the youths also disagreed with teacher seniority rules."
     
  1828. My Book Report on Plunder
     
  1829. Moore Film Subsidy Draws More Coverage

    Media interest continues to abound over the story Mackinac Center scholars broke Thursday about filmmaker Michael Moore's latest movie being approved for a taxpayer-funded subsidy under the Michigan Film Incentive.


     
  1830. Is Proposal A Working?

    Michael Van Beek, director of education funding, writes in an Op-Ed in Sunday's Lansing State Journal that "Proposal A is a marked improvement over the previous method of financing public education, and Michigan schools, students and taxpayers have all benefited from it."

    Van Beek also has assembled several resources to help address the question, "Are schools underfunded?"


     
  1831. Specializing in special education
     
  1832. Granholm: Change pensions to save money
    "In a bid to reduce state spending by up to $450 million, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has proposed modifying the pension and health care plans for future school and state retirees, but also would offer an incentive to any who retire this summer."
     
  1833. Schools team up to seek custodial bids
    "Three public school districts and an intermediate district are jointly seeking bids from private custodial firms, though one official said that doesn't necessarily mean the districts will privatize the work."
     
  1834. Doctor Shortages and Socialized Medicine

    Single-payer fans always seem to ignore what happens when the forgotten man of socialized medicine — the doctor — just "shrugs" and walks off the job.


     
  1835. Security upgrades planned
    "Surveillance cameras, secured entryways, swipe cards and enhanced alarm systems are the new face of school security in metro Detroit."
     
  1836. At Ford, Grievances Are Job One

    Since UAW workers are looking forward to profit sharing, it shouldn’t come as a shock if the company restores some perks for its white-collar work force as well.


     
  1837. Detroiters Yearn For Tuition Tax Credits

    A brand new survey shows that parents of school children in Detroit overwhelmingly desire more school choice. Every single one of the 600 Detroiters surveyed support more scholarships and financial aid for private schools, and 95 percent of the respondents favor tax incentives for businesses to fund those scholarships.


     
  1838. Senator Prusi's Bright Idea

    Prusi says: "If they're negotiating out of fear, then they don't belong at the negotiating table."

    He has a point.


     
  1839. Equality of Sacrifice
     
  1840. Expects cuts in 2010, lawmakers tell parents
    "Schools can expect at least a $268-per-pupil cut in state funding next year and likely will be asked to contribute more to employee pensions, legislators told Livonia parents this week."
     
  1841. Moore Film Subsidies

    A Mackinac Center news release details how filmmaker Michael Moore's latest movie was approved for a taxpayer-funded subsidy through the Michigan Film Incentive, even though Moore himself appears to criticize the program in this video from Communications Specialist Kathy Hoekstra.

    Michael LaFaive, director of the Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, further examines the details of this subsidy, including the fact that Moore is a member of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. The council advises the Michigan Film Office, which is responsible for approving applications for subsidies to the Michigan Film Incentive.


     
  1842. Anybody Got a Sword?

    Sometimes the best answer to  a complex problem is the simplest one.


     
  1843. HB 5771: Ban 'Stealth Unionization'

    Introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R) on Jan. 27, 2010, to establish that a person whose private employment compensation comes from a direct or indirect government subsidy is not considered a government employee, and so is not subject to being inducted into a government employee union, as happened to the home day care providers who are the subject of a Mackinac Center lawsuit, or the Medicaid-recipient home personal care services providers subject to a similar scheme for which Senate Bill 731 would give statutory authorization.


     
  1844. Kabuki Dance: Mortgaging Taxpayers for Government Retiree Benefits

    Previous posts here have described legislation passed by the House (House Bill 4075) and pending on the Senate floor (Senate Bill 927) to let local governments borrow to pay for retirement health insurance benefits that current and past officials have offered to local government employees.


     
  1845. LaFaive: Obama Didn't Go Far Enough on Tax Cuts

    President Obama's call to provide tax relief for some, but not all, job providers was a "mixed bag," according to Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. Obama talked during last night's State of the Union address about eliminating the capital gains tax on small businesses.


     
  1846. Court blocks union e-mail release
    "E-mail messages distributed among teacher union members on public school computers are not subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act in most cases."
     
  1847. Michael and Me and Taxpayer Makes Three
     
  1848. Filmmaker Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" Approved for Taxpayer Subsidy in Michigan
     
  1849. Michael & Me
     
  1850. MICHIGAN CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL
     
  1851. News Release: Court of Appeals Decision Undermines Freedom of Information Act, Says Mackinac Center Senior Legal Analyst
     
  1852. Creatures of the State

    The American labor movement reached what may prove to be a critical milestone last year when government employees, for the first time ever, made up a majority of union members.


     
  1853. Gas Tax Hike Another Obstacle to Recovery

    MIRS News reports that two Michigan legislators will introduce legislation to increase the state gas tax by 8 cents per gallon and the state diesel tax by 12 cents per gallon.

    Under the proposed increase, Michigan would have the fourth highest tax on gasoline, behind only California, New York and Hawaii. This would add yet another obstacle to recovering from the economic death spiral this state appears to have entered.


     
  1854. Growing Special Education Enrollments in Charter Schools

    Although public charter schools are required by law to admit all students that apply, a common criticism is that charters fail to enroll enough special education students. Statistics show that public charter schools have proportionately smaller special education enrollments than conventional public schools, but recent trends suggest the difference will continue to wane.


     
  1855. What President Obama Should Say Tonight

    President Obama should make tax cuts a centerpiece in his State of the Union address tonight, according to a Detroit Free Press columnist, and Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Center, agrees.


     
  1856. Furloughs planned in Livonia
    "Livonia Public Schools teachers will take three furlough days this year and four next year under the terms of a tentative agreement reached between the district and the Livonia Education Association."
     
  1857. How to Make the State Vehicle Fleet More Expensive

    One of the new ideas to come out of Lansing is sure to make state government more expensive by increasing the cost of the state vehicle fleet. House Bill 5042 introduced by Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem, requires that all future new light trucks purchased by the state be alternative energy vehicles.


     
  1858. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST January 26, 2010
     
  1859. Preschool reports at odds
    "Two recent reports on preschool come to somewhat conflicting conclusions."
     
  1860. 'Obligation' Legislation Burdens Taxpayers for Nonobligations

    Two bills would convert what currently appear to be nothing more than politicians' promises into a genuine financial obligation and liability on taxpayers.


     
  1861. Littmann: Bank Tax a Disincentive

    David L. Littmann, the Center's senior economist, said a proposed new tax on banks could hamper their growth and reduce their willingness to loan money.


     
  1862. Benton Harbor recall over privatization
    "A Feb. 23 recall election in Benton Harbor Area Schools is a referendum on the school board's decision to privatize busing."
     
  1863. Michigan Unemployment: Topping the Charts for 46 Months

    Michigan's unemployment rate of 14.6 percent was the highest in the country, according to today's release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next closest state was Nevada, which increased to 13.0 percent.


     
  1864. Charter School Demand Continues to Rise

    Parents are demanding more public charter schools according an annual survey conducted by the Center for Education Reform. Demand grew by 21 percent over the last year, and for every public charter school in the country, there are 239 students denied the opportunity to attend.


     
  1865. Mackinac Center Scholar on SCOTUS Campaign Finance Ruling

    Bradley Smith, a former member of the Mackinac Center Board of Scholars and former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, weighs in on Thursday's United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which found that some parts of federal campaign finance laws violate First Amendment rights.

    Smith, now chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, issued this press release.


     
  1866. Like Stealing Candy From a Baby

    An editorial in today's Livingston Daily Press & Argus compares the forced unionization of home-based day care owners to "stealing candy from babies."

    The Livingston Daily editorial board also says "The only ones who seem to get it" are the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation and "a handful of home day care providers."

    Read about the most recent developments in the MCLF's lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Human Services here.


     
  1867. The Pathology of Incubator Fever
     
  1868. Board turnover in Madison
    "In a rapid and somewhat confusing turnover of school board members, Madison District Schools is accepting applications to fill three seats following four resignations."
     
  1869. Kersey: Voters Could Embrace Bishop Plan

    A plan introduced yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, to reduce state spending by $2 billion and suspend collective bargaining for government employees could gain enough interest among voters due to Michigan's budget problems, according to Paul Kersey, the Center's director of labor policy.


     
  1870. Get the Data on Michigan Support Service Contracting

    Part of the new Michigan Senate Republicans' spending reform proposal would mandate public school districts to seek competitive bids for food, custodial and transportation services. The Mackinac Center surveys each district annually to see whether they contract out for these services. You can view the 2009 survey results here.


     
  1871. Show Us the Savings

    In response to Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop's plan to, among other things, reduce public employee pay by 5 percent, the Michigan Education Association is repeating a claim they've made in the past. This time around, the MEA asserts that they've saved taxpayers $1 billion by accepting reduced compensation packages through their locally bargained contracts. The statistics tell a different story.


     
  1872. Lawsuit Dismissal Deserves Explanation

    The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation yesterday filed a motion to reconsider with the Michigan Court of Appeals over that court's dismissal of the foundation's lawsuit against the Department of Human Services.

    According to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus, the DHS claims people who own home-based day care businesses are "government employees because they care for children whose parents qualify for government assistance with day care."


     
  1873. Electric Avenue

    The electric car is the fashion statement of this year's Detroit Auto Show. Government officials and automakers (in some cases, they are the same) are extolling the virtues of electric vehicles. But they will not determine their success; the consumer will.


     
  1874. Bill would give tax credit to school donors
    "A tax credit on donations to public and private school foundations won state Senate approval Wednesday."
     
  1875. Jobs-and-reform mostly jobs-and-jobs
     
  1876. Mapping Out an Underhanded Scheme

    The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation continues its quest for answers in the day care scheme being perpetrated by the Michigan Department of Human Services and a so-called home child care union by filing a motion with the Court of Appeals to reconsider its curt dismissal of Dec. 30, 2009.

    It's worth noting that Michigan is not unique in having had day care providers unionized. In Michigan the dues are siphoned directly from subsidy payments.

    We compiled a handy, interactive map which displays the states that currently have unionized home day care providers. Simply click on the icon for each state to open an information box about each state's home child care union set-up.


     
  1877. Center Scholars Part of School Funding Summit

    Two Mackinac Center scholars have been invited to participate in a "Great Lakes Bay Region Summit" to discuss public school funding in Michigan.


     
  1878. Democrats and GOP Legislators Slam Savings at Sec. of State

    Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is trying to make people "drive further and further, just to receive assistance," according to state Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, who says his fellow Republican should focus her attention instead on "bringing services closer to the people." Kahn's criticisms were directed at the Dept. of State's ongoing Branch Office Modernization Program, which aims to save scarce taxpayer dollars by consolidating branches into fewer, but more technically-savvy and customer-friendly, locations. For Kahn's district, this means the loss of a branch in Frankenmuth and enhanced services at another in Saginaw — decision that Kahn calls "a mistake," but that Land's office defines as "fiscal responsibility."


     
  1879. Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Seeks Court of Appeals Reconsideration in Home-Based Day Care Union Case
     
  1880. Woodhaven caps insurance costs
    "The Woodhaven-Brownstown Board of Education has capped the amount the district will pay for teacher health insurance premiums at $13,000 annually."
     
  1881. Home Based Day Care Map
     
  1882. Bishop Unveils Reform Proposals

    A quick take on the Senate GOP's reform plans for Michigan.


     
  1883. Cadillac Hacks

    Okay, it’s a cynical deal, but union workers can at least take comfort in knowing that their unions are looking out for them, right?

    Well, maybe not...


     
  1884. Beware Michigan Tax “Restructuring”

    Lansing policymakers are discussing plans to shift taxes around and are being supported by some faulty observations. Some of them made their way into an op-ed by Susan Demas in The Detroit News. She noted, "Michiganders have gone from paying 9.5 percent of their incomes in taxes in 1999 to 7 percent today."

    Actually, Michiganders pay much more in taxes. These are simply figures from the state's Headlee amendment revenue limit calculations, which do not count local or federal figures, nor all of the state's non-federal revenues. Adding local tax burdens increases the figure to 10.7 percent. Overall, Michigan citizens face a much broader burden of government. The federal government takes in 21.6 percent of the entire country's personal income and Michigan pays its share, leaving Michigan citizens tax burdens around 30 percent instead of 7.

    Besides, the state tax system is very good at capturing revenues from growing economies. That's largely the reason why state government coffers were closer to the Headlee cap in the high-growth 90s. But Michigan has not grown in a long time.


     
  1885. Environmentalism: From Science to Faith

    Therapists are reporting an increase in green disputes between couples and family members, according to the Jan. 17 edition of The New York Times.


     
  1886. Detroit's Demolition Derby

    Many photographers have given us startling images of the effects of the swift, mass emigration of businesses and residents from Detroit. Time Magazine and others find the rubble morbidly fascinating and eerily artsy, but for Detroit residents, the reality is anything but charming. Entire neighborhoods are crumbling, and the city struggles to address that spreading disease: blight.


     
  1887. State Legislators Concerned Over Forced Unionization of Private Business Owners

    The forced unionization of home-based day care providers is finally drawing the attention of state legislators.


     
  1888. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST January 19, 2010
     
  1889. Schools cutting, but also building
    "Public school districts in southwest Michigan may be cutting their operations budgets, but they're also spending tens of millions on facility upgrades."
     
  1890. High School Debate Workshops: “I Have Seen the Influence”
     
  1891. School Funding, State Budget Explained

    The School Aid Fund, the mechanism through which millions of taxpayer dollars flow to public schools, is perpetually in trouble according to some. The SAF makes up a large portion of Michigan's overall budget, which also is in a constant state of "deficit," according to some. Mackinac Center scholars take a deeper look at these issues.


     
  1892. Busted

    Investigations by the US Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards led to two officials from AFSCME Local 100 in Pontiac being brought up on charges from the embezzlement of nearly $40,000 of union funds.


     
  1893. Asked and Answered

    Grand Rapids Press Editor Paul Keep asked for suggestions on how to "fix" Michigan. Mackinac Center scholars responded with two, both involving law enforcement, and will weigh in with more ideas as The Press begins a 10-month series focusing on Michigan's future.


     
  1894. Kids in Head Start Still End Up Behind

    A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows the limited effectiveness of early education programs. Students in the nation's most extensive pre-kindergarten program — Head Start — were shown to have lost all cognitive gains by the end of first grade. Proponents of universal and state-run pre-K should take notice.


     
  1895. Michigan's Economic Development Failures

    Dome Magazine's cover story, "Desperate for Diversification: A brief history of Michigan's economic development strategies," correctly points out that Mackinac Center scholars have disagreed with the state's central planning attempts under both Republican and Democratic governors.


     
  1896. Straus signs ‘Race’ application
    "Kathleen Straus, president of the State Board of Education, signed Michigan's "Race to the Top" application Saturday."
     
  1897. School Savings
     
  1898. Schools of choice popular in Berrien County
    "More than 3,000 students in Berrien County attend a public school other than the one to which they are officially assigned."
     
  1899. Teachers’ union mum on concessions
    "Union solidarity is showing signs of wear in Brighton Area Schools, as the teachers union apparently snubbed a request from support staff employees to consider districtwide concessions."
     
  1900. Cigarette Tax Increases Bring Increased Crime

    As much as 50 percent of the cigarettes consumed in the state of Washington would be smuggled in if a proposed $1 increase in cigarette taxes there passes, according to an Op-Ed by Center scholars today in the Seattle-Tacoma News Tribune.


     
  1901. Michigan Forces Business Owners Into Public-Sector Union
     
  1902. U.S. Department of Autos

    Any pretense that we have a private automobile industry in this country was abandoned at the Detroit Auto Show.


     
  1903. MASStroturf

    You see a lot of union members at political rallies. One can’t help but wonder how many are genuine volunteers who are motivated by support for the union’s agenda, and how many are there for the money.


     
  1904. How to Remove an Ineffective Tenured Teacher in 13 Easy Steps

    Recent Michigan legislation hypothetically makes it easier for schools to remove ineffective teachers from classrooms. However, some districts are claiming they already have good evaluation systems in place. For a glimpse into how the current process works, here's a step-by-step look at how one school district handles ineffective teachers.


     
  1905. Unions: Let’s not Race
    "Teacher unions in at least three states besides Michigan are trying to put the brakes on their states' Race to the Top applications, in each case saying the reform measures would affect teacher assignment, evaluation or pay."
     
  1906. Half of Washington Smokes Expected to Be Illegal With Proposed Tax Hike

    The state of Washington is considering an increase in its cigarette taxes by $1 per pack. As we've shown in our 2008 study on cigarette taxes, these tax hikes carry a large degree of unintended consequences. Increasing cigarette taxes is expected to ensure that half of all cigarettes smoked in Washington are smuggled in from other states.

    In December 2008 we published a study "Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling: A Statistical Analysis and Historical Review." The study reviewed the efforts of states trying to fight the growth of smuggling, documented the history of cigarette taxes in Michigan, New Jersey and California, and modeled the level of illicit tobacco use in states due to cigarette tax rates. We recently updated the model to include changes to the Federal Excise Tax, as well.

    The 2008 study already found that Washington has the fourth highest smuggling rate. In applying the model to the proposed tax increases, we found that a $1.00 per pack increase in taxes would jump the state's smuggling rates from 39.3 percent to 51.5 percent.


     
  1907. Union Corruption Update

    Nevada contractor pleads guilty to bribing Michigan union official.


     
  1908. There Is an Endless Number of Jobs

    Yesterday it was reported that the Obama Administration would be "unrelenting" in putting Americans back to work. Indeed, Congress has named this its "top priority."

    However, our elected representatives (never known for their economic knowledge) don't understand that there are, in fact, countless jobs in an economy.


     
  1909. Advice to board: Tax, spend, save
    "Separate events brought school administrators, economists and policy analysts to Lansing on Tuesday, but according to media reports the topic everywhere was the same: the cost of public schools."
     
  1910. Boardman River Dams: Episode 1
     
  1911. Boardman River Dams: Episode 2
     
  1912. Happy Birthday John Hancock

    Wesley Reynolds, Mackinac Center operations intern, writes about John Hancock to celebrate the 273rd anniversary of Hancock's birth, Jan. 12, 1737, at Landmarks of Liberty.


     
  1913. Van Beek Invited to Address State Board of Education

    The Michigan State Board of Education heard from invited guests today, including Michael Van Beek, Mackinac Center director of education policy, about how to restructure school financing.


     
  1914. Insanity: Doing the Same Thing Over and Over and Expecting Different Results

    An article from the Summer 2002 issue of Michigan Privatization Report proved prescient. A follow-up by Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, eight years later is trying to warn officials in Kalamazoo not to repeat their folly.

    The 2002 commentary, written by Ray Wilson, former Kalamazoo County commissioner and founder of the Kalamazoo County Tax Payers Association, explained that subsidizing a grocery store in an area of the city where three private enterprises had already failed did not make sense.

    In this Kalamazoo Gazette Op-Ed, LaFaive explains that Wilson was right and why city, state and federal officials are about to make the same mistakes again.


     
  1915. Michigan Government Revenue Forecasted to Increase, But …

    Yesterday, forecasters from the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, Senate Fiscal Agency and Treasury Department met to agree on an estimate for the next fiscal year's state revenues. These revenues are important because coupled with spending figures, they tell us whether fiscal 2011 will result in a surplus or deficit.

    Despite Michigan's poor economy, state government revenue is expected to increase from this year to next. Nevertheless, the state is expected to spend $1.6 billion more than it receives in revenues.


     
  1916. Harding to Discuss Cap-and-Trade

    Russ Harding, senior environmental analyst and director of the Center's Property Rights Network, will talk about cap-and-trade tonight at 7 p.m. in Livingston County.


     
  1917. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST January 12, 2010
     
  1918. Huron to apply for bonds
    "Huron Schools will apply for $9.8 million in federal stimulus funds for new classrooms, technology and other improvements."
     
  1919. The Truth About Sacred Lies

    A book review of Paul A. Cleveland's "Unmasking the Sacred Lies."


     
  1920. School Health Insurance Data Online

    A new online database contains health insurance information for more than 95 percent of Michigan's 551 public school districts, according to Michael Van Beek, director of education policy. In more than 300 of those districts, teachers do not contribute a single penny toward the cost of their own premiums. Health insurance for school employees costs Michigan taxpayers nearly $2 billion per year.


     
  1921. State board to discuss school finance
    "As part of an effort to pull together recommendations on school finance reform, the state Board of Education will host a philosophically diverse group of panelists at its meeting Tuesday."
     
  1922. Nobody happy with ‘Race’ memos
    "Tuesday is the new deadline for school districts and unions to sign off on Race to the Top reform plans, but school administrators remain frustrated and confused."
     
  1923. Poor showing could affect ‘Race’
    "Just as Michigan is trying to win more federal education money, another pair of studies puts the state at or near the bottom in educational achievement among poor and minority studies."
     
  1924. Big Business Loves Big Government

    It's been said many times before, and yet people rarely seem to understand that believing in the free-market does not necessarily make one a fan of business. Business (especially large corporations) is often willing to fight government over taxes, and yet join government when it suits its own purpose.


     
  1925. New Ozone Standard More About Politics Than Science

    More important than the cost of compliance is the potential loss of American jobs. A stricter ozone standard will render America less competitive in attracting and keeping jobs, especially in manufacturing where the nation and Michigan in particular have suffered heavy job losses.


     
  1926. DFT recall organizers rally
    "Members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers say they have enough signatures to force a recall vote against their union president, but the president called the recall leaders "dissidents" who want to "turn the DFT into a socialist organization.""
     
  1927. Time to ZIP It?

    In November, I wrote about the "Luckiest ZIP code in Michigan", which, according to the official Web site that tracks federal stimulus dollars, was a ZIP code in Lansing. Further review of all 674 ZIP codes on the Michigan list, cross-checked with United States Postal Service ZIP Code lookup finds $573,161 in federal stimulus money went to five ZIP codes in Michigan that do not exist. $1,254,110 went to ZIP codes in other states, including $1,143,025 that went to ZIP Code 55411 (Minneapolis, Minn.) and created zero jobs.


     
  1928. School Health Insurance Database Unveiled
     
  1929. Suit alleges ‘secret’ insurance fees
    "Government and school officials in Saginaw have filed suit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, alleging the insurer overcharged them a combined $7 million in hidden administrative fees."
     
  1930. Elegy for Cities Embracing Smart Growth

    With apologies to John Lennon, I imagine a city without cars.
    Exhaust fumes replaced by fine boutiques and fern bars.
    All the people walk to workplace and shops,
    And the streets are patrolled by mo-ped cops.
    All city life is one of perfect precision,
    Nothing's out of place if you have a Grand Vision.


     
  1931. Michigan's Tax System Is Much Better Than Michigan’s Economy

    Even with an expected budget overspending crisis of $1.8 billion next year, Michigan government's revenue situation is doing much better than the rest of the economy.

    State tax receipts are largely determined by how well a state's economy is doing. When workers earn more, they pay more income taxes. When consumers buy more, they pay more in sales taxes.

    Because of those ties to the economy, every state's tax base is naturally exposed to cyclical factors. But each state responds differently. Over the past year, Michigan's has been far less responsive to the recession than most states.


     
  1932. Private Business Owners Remain Union Captives

    Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, said he will explore further options after the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed - without explanation - the foundation's lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services in a case aimed at preventing union dues from being taken from home-based day care owners.


     
  1933. News Release: Health Insurance Information for More Than 500 Michigan School Districts Available Online
     
  1934. Private students lose aid, too
    "While the end of the Michigan Promise scholarship program grabbed most of the headlines last fall, students at the state's private universities saw a similar reduction."
     
  1935. Green Jobs Bubble

    Here's how to make an economic bubble: Throw in generous amounts of government money, add legislative mandates and stir with supportive media attention. Sound familiar? First we had the dot com bubble, then the housing bubble. Now we are headed for a green jobs bubble.


     
  1936. Spreading the Story of Norman Borlaug

    Called "arguably the greatest American in the 20th century," during his 95 years Norman Borlaug probably saved more lives than any other person. He is one of just six people to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And yet Dr. Borlaug, who died this past September, is scarcely known in his own country.


     
  1937. We're Not in Kansas Any More

    And we've never been anywhere quite like Pandora.


     
  1938. Environmental Justice Still an Elusive Concept

    A draft of the Michigan Environmental Justice Plan was released for public comment on Dec. 11, 2009. Reading it took me back to the days I worked on environmental justice issues while serving as director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


     
  1939. Mackinac Center Legal Brief Part of Howell Teachers Union Case Today

    The Michigan Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear a case today regarding a disagreement between Howell Public Schools and its teachers union over the release of teachers' e-mails. Mackinac Center Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case, explaining that the e-mails are public record and thus subject to the Freedom of Information Act.


     
  1940. Michigan Court of Appeals Dismisses Without Explanation Mackinac Center Lawsuit in Home-Based Day Care Union Case
     
  1941. MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST January 5, 2010
     
  1942. New jobs for education leaders
    "Central Michigan University's online program to train charter school leaders is drawing interest from students and prospective employers alike."
     
  1943. Unions: 'Race' memo goes too far
    "Now that the state Legislature has signed off on school reform intended to bring federal dollars to Michigan, local school districts and union leaders aren't sure they want to follow suit."
     
  1944. Collecting More Taxes From Fewer People

    Despite Michigan's numerous shortcomings, one area where we excel is tax collections. In fact, over the past two years Michigan's tax revenue per job increased 3.5 percent while the national average fell 1.5 percent.


     
  1945. While I Was Away

    Catching up on a couple of items left over from before my Christmas vacation.


     
  1946. Spending Too Much Doesn't Equal a Shortfall

    School funding issues continue to dominate discussion in Michigan as 2010 gets underway.


     
  1947. Vote Early and (not so) Often

    Which Michigan legislators missed the most votes in 2009?


     
  1948. Chesaning: MESSA costs up
    "Chesaning Union Schools is paying nearly 21 percent more for employee health insurance this year, even though teachers agreed to a plan with higher deductibles."
     
  1949. How to Find and Eliminate Wasted State Money
     
  1950. The Expensive Mystery of “Project Cherrywood”
     
  1951. Price Theory for Legislators in One Lesson
     
  1952. New Year’s Resolutions for Real Reform
     
Results 1 to 1952 for the year 2010
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