Gov. Gretchen Whitmer zeroed out funding for the Pure Michigan advertising program in one of her many line-item vetoes at the end of last year. The Mackinac Center applauded this move, as we’ve long advocated for an end to that taxpayer-funded program. So when the governor decided to include $15 million in funding for Pure Michigan in her $61.9 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, media outlets across the state reached out to us for comment. “If the tourism industry can come together to advocate that the government fund a tourism advertising campaign, perhaps they should just cut out the middleman and pay for it themselves,” said Jarrett Skorup to The Detroit News. Michael LaFaive told Bridge Magazine, “The program is not only ineffective, it is unfair and expensive.”
We recently released the latest edition of our Context and Performance Report Card, which ranks elementary and middle schools across the state by adjusting average test scores for schools based on their student demographics. Local outlets across the state, including 9&10 News, Sanilac County News, Ionia Sentinel-Standard, The Alpena News, Dearborn Press and Guide, and FlintSide, have covered how their local schools ranked. You can read more about this year’s CAP Report Card on page 11. Michigan’s third grade reading law has been another popular topic in the news. In one of its editorials, The Detroit News cited Ben DeGrow, who has said that Michigan should give the law a chance, as similar laws in other states have helped students there. The editorial was also featured in The Associated Press editorial roundup.
There’s been a lot of national movement on labor issues. Mackinac Center Senior Fellow F. Vincent Vernuccio was quoted in The Washington Times, discussing the PRO Act. Two former candidates for president, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, and current candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, are co-sponsors of this bill. The legislation is part of “an extremist, radical platform that is going to hurt workers, earners and job creators,” said Vernuccio. He also discussed workers’ rights on WBCK radio and was quoted in the Washington Examiner. Vernuccio also wrote an op-ed, which appeared in the Chicago Tribune, on legislation currently being pushed by unions in Illinois. The legislation would severely limit government workers’ freedom.
Health care has been one of the top national issues in the past few months, with some presidential candidates touting their plans for a federal takeover of the country’s health care system. Sound health care policy is needed now more than ever, and as Lindsay Killen told Bridge Magazine, “Every state is different and every state has different challenges. So Michigan lawmakers need more flexibility from Washington to design our healthcare system in a way that better suits the needs that we face.” In an op-ed she wrote for The Hill, Killen discussed ways that states can use recent changes on the federal level to regain some control from Washington and focus on innovative ways to lower costs and ensure higher quality care.