A Legislative Agenda for 2014

Good policy is good politics. After accomplishing so much in 2011 and 2012 to move Michigan forward, progress nearly sputtered to a halt in 2013. Here’s how to get back on track.

— Pass a broad-based marginal rate income tax cut. This is an incentive-changing reform that will lead to more jobs, higher incomes and a growing, more competitive state economy.

— Repeal the state Prevailing Wage law that prohibits granting government construction contracts to the lowest bidder if a contractor is not unionized.

— Finish the job on “personal property taxes” by putting a stake in the heart of this absurd levy on business tools and equipment. Even after parts of it are phased-out under the recent reform law, the tax will remain a burden on many commercial firms. (Phase-outs are OK, but at the end the tax should be deader than the Dodo for all businesses, regardless of size or type.)

— Stop pretending that spending more on conventional public schools leads to better educational outcomes for children. The evidence shows that it does not. Instead, fund innovative alternatives including on-line education and greater parental choice.

— Repeal Michigan’s minimum wage law, don’t increase it. As Michael LaFaive put it, the  only true “minimum” wage is zero — which is what many more low-skill workers will get if the mandated minimum is increased.

— End corporate welfare handouts. So called “economic development” programs are in fact just “political development” programs that benefit politicians and a handful of lucky “winner” firms, while doing nothing to grow the state economy or increase the total number of jobs.

— Repeal the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Instead, join with other states to press for the federal government to “block grant” the program with no strings attached to the 50 state laboratories of democracy. Let states create sustainable low-income health care systems that actually work for the beneficiaries and their people of their states.

— Repeal the racket known as the “three tier” alcohol distribution system, which redistributes tens of millions of dollars from the consumer tier to a tiny, rolling-in-dough special interest tier. Prohibition ended 80 years ago — it’s past time to end Michigan’s “transition” out of it.

— “Raise” Gov. Rick Snyder’s bid to cut $25 million out of wealth redistributions from Michigan taxpayers to film producers by making the total cut $50 million. In other words, zero-out this bizarre form of reverse-Robin Hoodism.

For a complete list of recommendations, please see www.mackinac.org/19700.