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How To Replace the SBT With Nothing (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Here’s how to save $1.855 billion by injecting competition into government operations, providing public employee fringe benefits comparable to (generous) Private-sector plans and eliminating non-core functions.

Protecting Art From Politicians

Using tax dollars to fund artistic pursuits is not in the best interest of Michigan citizens.

Michigan’s Russian Roulette

The governor’s five-year plan does not include reducing the cost of producing goods and services in Michigan — something that would attract industries trying to compete globally. Instead, the plan is built around the 21st Century Jobs Fund and other state programs that substitute central planning for the market process.

Change To Win What?

Organized labor has moved well beyond its core mission of championing workers’ issues to financing and promoting a range of policies and groups that have nothing to do with labor.

A Supreme Court To Be Proud Of

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller did not stretch either the law or the Constitution beyond what the words said. When the justices found law to be in conflict with the Constitution, they usually sided with the latter, because liberty under the rule of law was their highest priority.

Banks and Credit Unions: The Unlevel Playing Field

Banks, especially small and mid-sized community banks, have been consistently losing market share to credit unions because the latter enjoy status as nonprofit financial cooperatives for tax purposes.

Government Broadband: Unnecessary and Unfair

More often than not, municipal broadband ventures have saddled taxpayers with unwelcome debt or otherwise failed to deliver promised results.

Government Golf: Unfair Competition Hurts Business, Taxpayers

As citizens and taxpayers, we should be asking ourselves: Is golf one of the legitimate functions of government?

Hope in State Graduation Standards Misplaced (Viewpoint on Policy Issues)

Given state bureaucrats’ lack of success implementing the law’s one existing requirement, we should not place much hope in an additional mandate to fix public education or improve the economy.

Public Pension Plans Need To Reflect Reality

When it comes to defined benefits, corporations and municipalities have seen the warning signs and are changing course to avoid getting burned. Public school employee unions and their allies in Lansing would be wise to do the same.

Michigan Landowners To Be Heard at U.S. Supreme Court

Congress has effectively entered into land-use regulation, a domain traditionally left to state and local government. Worse, Congress delegated its authority to the Army Corps of Engineers, whose employees, whatever their expertise, never face the crucible of an election.

Can Detroit’s Problems Be Corrected by an Emergency Financial Manager?

Making changes to Act 72 would be essential for an EFM to have the necessary tools to deal with the city of Detroit’s management and fiscal problems.

Globalization: What a Wonderful World

Despite Michigan’s recent economic woes, in 2004 it exported $35 billion worth of goods and services to the world, ranking it fourth among the states, up from sixth place in 1998.

Insurance Demagoguery Drives Rates Higher, Not Lower

Like all such proposals, the only thing these bills would do is make insurance unavailable at any price.

Is There a Statesman in the House? (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Perhaps we should all take a moment to thank our great-grandchildren yet unborn. If we lack statesmen in this generation, we will still have our disaster relief, our pork and our politics — and they will pay for much of it.

Federal Regulations of Mercury Emissions Appear Adequate

Great Lakes mercury levels are declining, and to the extent that mercury remains a human health threat in Michigan, the federal program is a more sensible first step in addressing it.

Does the Headlee Tax Cap Need To Be Tightened? (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

So has Headlee restrained tax and spending growth? The answer is an unequivocal "maybe." In its 26-year history, the cap was exceeded just three times, and only once by enough to trigger a rebate.

Decisions About Great Lakes Drilling Should Be Left to the States

The Michigan Environmental Science Board concluded in 1997, “(T)here is little to no risk of contamination to the Great Lakes bottom or waters through releases directly above the bottom hole portion of directionally drilled wells. …”  The one small risk was contamination at the wellhead, far from the water’s edge. But wellheads, too, are regulated by the state.

"Poor Choices" Yield Better Education

The implications of Tooley’s findings are profound. Opposition to parental choice programs has often hinged on the belief that they would hurt the poor. In the wake of these results from Africa and India, it is difficult to imagine how that belief could be sustained.

An Agenda for the Next Mayor of Detroit (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Real reform can’t be postponed. If Detroit’s decline persists and the city’s financial problems continue, the state may be forced to appoint an “emergency financial manager” to run the city under Public Act 72 — an ignominious end for the mayor and Detroit itself.

Improving Michigan’s Regulatory Environment

If businesses or consumers are forced to spend too much money to obtain a permit or to carry out their business, it is the same as taxing their money away — and sometimes worse, since they lose time as well.

Tuition Hikes at Michigan Universities Demonstrate Need for Reform

Private for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix operate at dramatically lower cost per course, offering a product well-liked by students (enrollments are growing 20 percent annually), taught in comfortable but not opulent surroundings.

Michigan Supreme Court Ruling on “Beachwalking” Erodes Property Rights

The court’s ruling now exposes Great Lakes waterfront landowners to new risks and intrusions. Do the landowners have a duty to make the area beneath the high-water mark safe for walkers or wheelchair users? Can people fish all day below the high-water mark?

Supreme Court Ruling Shows Telecom Regulation Should Be Abolished

The ruling’s outcome is all well and good. Yet the FCC’s distinction between “telecommunications services” and “information services” is, in fact, imprecise and arbitrary — a regulatory invention that has no place in today’s telecommunications market.

The Sound of Freedom

In the summer of 1965, my mother announced one day that she was taking me to see a film called “The Sound of Music.” I knew nothing of it other than that a lot of singing was involved, and to my mind, that was a good enough reason to stay home. I went reluctantly — and was enthralled.

Survey: School Outsourcing Grows

According to Loock, the district went from paying a $100,000 subsidy to the food program to posting a profit of up to $25,000 after Chartwells took over.

Granholm’s Task Force Report: Wrong Prescription, Critical Disease

In the four states with a long-term care insurance partnership program, around 180,000 long-term care insurance policies have been sold — a purchase rate far higher than in other states. Of these policyholders, only 86 have had to resort to Medicaid.

Bad Food at a Good Price!

Imagine a restaurant with second-rate food, surly waiters, slow service and high prices. When the manager sees a customer getting restless, he rushes over and offers a 15 percent price cut.

Responding to Michigan’s Population Slide

No serious analysis can argue that redistributing the tax burden or putting the state deeper in debt so it can pick winners and losers could possibly make Michigan better off.

The Class is Always Keener on Our Own Side of the Street (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Asian students consistently outperformed those in the United States, while their parents downplayed their accomplishments. American parents, unaware of their children’s poor showings, tended to think their children were doing very well.

Catholic Schools and the Common Good

Given Catholic schools’ superior social and academic effects, it would seem sensible to structure education policy so as to make Catholic schooling more readily available, especially to low-income and minority families. We have done the opposite.

Schmeling K.O.’d by Louis! Louis K.O.’d by the U.S. Government!

Even in destitution, Louis remained a symbol of black achievement and American resistance to Hitler. But the American tax code remained a symbol of the strangling of economic wealth and generosity.

Remembering George Sutherland: Defender of the Constitution

So persuasive was Sutherland, and so bad was the NRA, that the Supreme Court voted unanimously that the law was unconstitutional.

Is the Governor’s Water Legacy Act All Wet?

More water is diverted into the Great Lakes than is siphoned out, and groundwater supplies are regularly replenished and remain abundant.

MEGA: 10 Years With Little To Show

MEGA’s attempt to pick winners and losers is a poor substitute for improving the fundamentals of Michigan’s business climate.

To Own or Be Owned: That Is the Question

“Ownership” as a general concept is never at issue in any society. It is neither possible nor desirable to construct a society in which people or the material things they create are not “owned.”

Her Own Personal Autoworld (Viewpoint of Public Issues)

More than 50 years of economic development history in Michigan should be enough to convince us that the economic development emperor has no clothes.

From Hospitals to Tsunami Relief: Lessons of Charles Hackley

Millions of Americans have contributed generously, just as they were accustomed to doing a century ago, because Americans have long believed that people voluntarily helping people is the way civil society is meant to work.

A Fair Comparison: U.S. Students Lag in Math and Science

The notion that America’s public school problems are confined to inner cities, and that our wealthy suburbs produce world-beating high school graduates, is a myth.

Watkins Debacle Shows Need for Basic Education Reforms

If the Michigan Board of Education, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the state Legislature hope to regain any credibility with the public, they must now show that they are serious about helping kids — and not just exiling people who offer straight talk about the system.

The “Payless Payday”

What’s the moral for state leaders today? The lasting and meaningful question is always, “Am I doing the right thing?”

Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Liberty

We cannot know what views Douglass and Washington might hold if they were alive today. But it’s worth remembering that the injustice and racial discrimination they faced in their era were at least as unforgiving as any persecution experienced in America in recent decades.

Creating Clear Signals on Telecom

Telecom firms are understandably reluctant to invest in markets where regulators wield power arbitrarily.

The Great Emigration

If people are the lifeblood of a city, then Detroit is bleeding to death. Staunching the flow will require a dramatic improvement in the city’s schools.

A New Beginning: Ending the Single Business Tax

Only eliminating the SBT and ensuring a bold net reduction in business taxes can begin to trump Michigan’s other handicaps in its economic competition with other states and nations. Even eliminating the SBT and cutting state spending dollar-for-dollar is not impossible; the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has detailed billions in potential state budget savings in areas like Medicaid, education and corrections.

Michigan at the Crossroads

The world economy is relentlessly, ruthlessly competitive. Michigan has no entitlement to a healthy economic future. Unless Lansing finds the courage to abandon “business‑as‑usual,” the state’s economy — and the people of Michigan — will fall further and further behind.

Profit Has a Role in Public Schools

Maybe what’s needed in the public schools is more profit, not less. Think about it: Where is the crisis in public education these days? Is it in the availability of desks, food or computers, or in other areas provided by the for-profit private sector? The crisis concerns the classroom — the part delivered by government, regulated by legislatures and supervised by district bureaucracies.

New Year’s Resolution: A Taxpayer Bill of Rights

At the end of fiscal 2000, Michigan budget officials informed lawmakers that the treasury had received $600 million more than had been budgeted. Rather than return it to taxpayers, state legislators went on a spending spree that included a new polar bear exhibit for the Detroit Zoo.

The Changing UAW

In innovative and very pragmatic new contracts with Ford, Chrysler and leading suppliers Delphi Corp. and Visteon Corp., the UAW finally consented to different levels of compensation for members who previously were entitled to the same, famously rich packages.

Should You Fear School Choice?

For the past 87 years, the Netherlands has enjoyed a universal, nationwide school-voucher program. Dutch high school seniors and recent graduates score first in the world in mathematics, second in science and fourth in literacy.