Mackinac Center in the News

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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.” … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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.” … more

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.” … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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.” … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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.” … more

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… more

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.” … more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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.” … more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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.  … more

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. … more

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… more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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 … more

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… more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

Big Savings With School Contracting

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

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.  … more

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… more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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… more

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… more

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. … more

'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… more

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… more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

Plagiarism Investigation Continues at MSU

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

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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… more

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

Center Analysts at Heart of School Funding Issues

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

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. … more

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… more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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." … more

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.  … more

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… more

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. … more

Michigan Capitol Confidential Stirs Radio Discussion

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

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. … more

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. … more

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. … more

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… more

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