After a fairly successful first few months of bipartisan government in Lansing this year, it’s evident that cooperation between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leadership has hit a roadblock. The cause? Roads.
Ever since the governor announced her budget back in March, the Mackinac Center has remained a strong critic of her proposed 45-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax. As negotiations on this issue continue, Mackinac Center experts Michael LaFaive and James Hohman have offered commentary in news outlets across the state. Op-eds centered around the budget have appeared in the Benzie County Record-Patriot, Brown City Banner, Lake County Star, Monroe News, Detroit Legal News, Alpena News and the Manistee News Advocate.
Budget discussions are not just about totals; they’re about which programs are worthwhile and which aren’t. The state’s corporate welfare programs are great examples of wasted taxpayer dollars. While many of these programs will have to be voted on, lawmakers can let one corporate subsidy giveaway, known as Good Jobs for Michigan, just fade away. LaFaive wrote about this program in The Detroit News, saying, “A sunset provision in the law mandates that the program stop awarding new deals at the end of this year. Lawmakers should let the program die. Evidence shows targeted government incentives for business are unnecessary and may even be economically harmful.”
As political polarization continues to worsen, it’s more important than ever to practice civility. Practicing goodwill, one component of the Mackinac Center’s Values and Culture statement, can help. As Jack McHugh wrote in The Hill, “The essential prerequisite for civility is granting one’s ideological and political adversaries the presumption of goodwill. Granting goodwill separates societies that settle political disagreements with ballots from those that do it with bullets. It’s a core democratic habit.”
In August, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims against the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. We did so after the department failed to produce files requested under the Freedom of Information Act. This story was covered by several radio stations across the state, including Michigan Public Radio (an NPR affiliate).
The foundation also filed a lawsuit against the State Bar of Michigan for violating lawyers’ First Amendment rights to be free from compelled speech and to freely associate. The legal challenge was covered by the Associated Press, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Gongwer, MIRS News, the Iosco County News-Herald and more.