Results 201 to 238 of 238

The Archer Administration: A Commentary at Year One

After one year of Detroit Mayor Archer's administration, analysts Kleiman and Hutchison conclude that although some promising new directions were taken, much work remains. Experience in other major cities such as Philadelphia point the way for Detroit: Mayor Archer should move quickly to cut tax rates and privatize more services. 10 pages.

Political Drift or Paradigm Shift?

An Agenda for Leadership that Lasts

During the elections of 1994, the voters spoke with uncommon clarity about the role of government in their lives. Governor John Engler was re-elected to be a risk-taker, not a caretaker. In this advisory document, the Mackinac Center recommends several specific measures for education reform, labor law reform, and economic development. 5 pages.

Doing More With Less: Competitive Contracting for School Support Services

Competitive contracting can provide schools with expertise, flexibility, and cost efficiencies not always available with in-house service provision. If they are properly designed and monitored, contracts between schools and private providers can help school administrators do more with less. Includes step-by-step guidelines for the "make or buy" decision, tells how to avoid pitfalls, and suggests measures for contractor evaluation. 26 pages.

The Limits of Compulsory Professionalism: Does a Unified Bar Make Sense for Michigan?

No profession other than the practice of law, in Michigan or any other state, requires membership in a professional organization to maintain a license. This practice, known as the unified bar, has been the subject of litigation in a number of states. Practicing attorney and Law Professor Bradley A. Smith and attorney Alan Falk note that nineteen states have voluntary bar associations, and compare their operation to the "unified" (involuntary) associations. They find that compulsory bar membership provides no greater benefits than those provided by voluntary bar associations. 26 pages.

Discrimination at Private Clubs in Michigan: Freedom of Association After Public Act 70

In recent years, a cherished American right, freedom of association, has come into conflict with laws designed to prevent discrimination by private organizations. Michigan's Public Act 70 of 1992 is one such law. Examining P.A. 70, as well as Michigan's famed Elliot-Larsen law, University of Detroit Law Professor Stephen J. Safranek finds that the act was unnecessary, misdirected, and economically harmful. Individual consumers of club services are the real losers. P.A. 70 is government intervention without regard to the right of private clubs to engage in freedom of association. 16 pages.

Sales vs. Income Taxes: The Verdict of Economists

The March 15, 1994, statewide ballot question asked voters to weigh the pros and cons of school finance. The central question was this: Which does the least economic harm-the sales tax or the income tax? Economist Dean Stansel maintains that theory and empirical evidence suggest that consumption taxes are less deleterious than taxes on income, investment, and savings. Connecticut imposed a new income tax in 1991 and economic growth evaporated and job opportunities and population declined. We should learn from the experience of states with high income taxes. 9 pages.

Making Schools Work: Contracting Options for Better Management

Can America's public schools be improved? Unquestionably. Without additional spending, school administrators can take advantage of the expertise of the private sector, introducing innovations that will make a world of difference. This study reveals dozens of examples of private companies now providing management, instructional, and support services to public schools across America. A must-read for anyone interested in changing public education by putting competition and the profit motive to work. 28 pages.

Ecorse: The Fall and Rise of a Michigan City

Ecorse, a Michigan community south of Detroit, gained a national reputation in the late 1980s as a town that took privatization seriously. Over a four-year period, Louis Schimmel, court-appointed receiver, privatized most city services, cut the city's work force more than 60 percent, and eliminated a $6 million budget deficit. Daddow's review of the city's efforts to correct its fiscal problems through spending discipline and privatization is a must-read for every city official who wants to learn lessons from a city that's been to the brink and back. 99 pages.

A Prosperity Agenda for Michigan Cities

Introduction by David G. Sowerby

This study compiles recently released 1990 U.S. Census Bureau data to measure the economic and fiscal policy performance of Michigan's eleven largest cities. Using an index composed of poverty rates, population growth, job growth, and per capita income, the authors find that six cities grew during the 1980s while five declined. The per capita tax burden was found to be 65 percent higher in the declining cities than in the growing cities, a difference of more than $1,100 per year in taxes. Preface by prominent Michigan economist and Mackinac Center scholar David Sowerby. 19 pages.

Michigan Education Special Services Association: The MEA's Money Machine

This exhaustive report illuminates the inner workings of the Michigan Education Association's health insurance division, known as MESSA. It documents how tens of millions of the public's education tax dollars are wasted each year on uncompetitive teacher health insurance, and how MESSA is part of a systematic plan to subsidize the MEA's basic operation and political activity. 64 pages.

Modern Schools for Michigan: An Outline for Educational Reform

After the Michigan Legislature's vote to end property tax funding for schools, the Mackinac Center issued this outline of a comprehensive education overhaul for Michigan. It suggests policy changes including parental choice, school-based management, and charter schools. Also included is an explanation of the Mackinac Center's innovative Education Credit Account idea. 7 pages.

Child Foster Care in Michigan: A Privatization Success Story

Few issues are more emotional and controversial than how states care for children who are removed from families because of neglect, abuse or abandonment. This extensively documented report finds that it is less costly to place children in foster care supervised by private agencies than for this service to be provided by Michigan's Department of Social Services. Privatization of this important social service serves as a model for other states. 16 pages.

Washington Should Kick the Mandate Habit:

The Fiscal Impact of Medicaid Mandates on Michigan

Unfunded mandates forced on state governments by Congress pose a substantial challenge to both their budgets and their fiscal sovereignty. Nearly one-third of the growth in Michigan state government revenue for 1993 was consumed by the cost of federal Medicaid mandates alone. The authors' recommendations include the creation of a mandate ombudsman and database, requirements that Congress determine the cost of mandates before passing them, and a call for Michigan's federal representatives to appear before the state legislature to explain their positions on mandate issues. 17 pages.

Proposal A: An Analysis of the June 2, 1993, Statewide Ballot Question

In 1993, Michigan voters were asked to consider a plan that would cut property taxes and cap property assessments, raise the sales tax, and establish a $4,800 per-pupil guarantee for the public schools. "Proposal A" was defeated, but not without intensive debate in which this study figured prominently. The report identifies both pros and cons of "A," including independent, in-depth analysis of its likely impact on the state budget, schools, and property owners. Although "A" is now consigned to the history books, this study is a useful tool for understanding school finance, the economics of property taxation, and related constitutional questions. 40 pages.

Michigan's Experiment with Public School Choice: A First Year Assessment

In 1991, the state of Michigan required each of the state's 563 school districts to devise intra district choice plans by April 1992. Wittmann and DeVore examine those plans and conclude that what could have been a bold new beginning for school reform in Michigan turned out to be a largely unproductive extension of the status quo. Genuine choice, competition and accountability in education require far more fundamental changes that will break the monopoly of the public education establishment and create a real marketplace for education. 57 pages.

The Engler Administration: A Mid-Term Review

January 1993 marked the half-way point of Governor John Engler's first term. In this review of the Engler administration, the Mackinac Center notes, "While the nation opts for change in one direction, progress in another is taking place here under the leadership of Governor Engler toward putting government in its proper (read: smaller) place." The report cites the strengths and weaknesses of the administration and concludes by assigning Governor Engler an overall grade of "A-." In addition, several new initiatives are suggested for 1993 and 1994 including civil service reform, property tax cuts, budget reductions, and privatization. 8 pages.

Analysis of Tax Proposals on the 1992 Ballot

The November 1992 general election in Michigan included two propositions regarding property taxes, Proposals A and C. This evaluation presents a detailed analysis of them, including projections for state and local government revenues. Widely cited in the press when released, it remains a useful guide to Michigan's property tax structure. The report makes a strong case that Michigan, which has the second highest property tax burden among twelve Midwestern states, sorely needs a property tax cut to spur economic growth and to stem the exodus of business from the state. 44 pages.

Twenty Myths About National Health Insurance

The allure of national health insurance comes largely because it is perceived as successful in Canada and Britain. This thoroughly documented report shows conclusively that government-run national health insurance has led to serious and inevitable dilemmas that no country should want to emulate. The authors prove that other models have not been more successful than the U.S. in controlling costs or providing superior access to care, and that adoption of a national health system would have negative consequences. Released in cooperation with the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. 68 pages.

Responding to Municipal Fiscal Crisis: Bottom Line Lessons from Ecorse, Michigan

Ecorse, one of seventeen communities in the Downriver Detroit area, became the first Michigan city to be placed in receivership. Court-appointed Receiver Louis Schimmel turned the city's finances around through aggressive policies of cost cutting and privatization. He privatized the entire Department of Public Works for a minimum annual savings of $400,000. Other cities such as nearby Detroit have much to learn from the Ecorse experience. 13 pages.

New Hope for Michigan Welfare Reform

Welfare programs cost too much, foster dependency, and tear families apart. Consequently, they actually increase and perpetuate the very poverty which they are intended to remedy. What is required now is a sharp break from prevailing practices-a new philosophy of public assistance. This special report argues that Lansing lawmakers must restructure our state's welfare programs to provide incentives to keep families together and encourage people to work their way off welfare. The sixteen-point program for Michigan welfare reform, the first comprehensive proposal on the subject after the 1990 election, sparked a vigorous statewide debate. Dr. Gerald Miller, then director of the Michigan Department of Social Services, stated in June 1992, "Eleven of the Center's proposals were incorporated into Governor Engler's program." 7 pages.

Keeping the Engler Revolution on Track

This analysis of Governor Engler's first year in office gives the governor high marks for balancing the state's budget without a tax hike. The governor is urged not to shrink from the politics of constructive confrontation with legislative "big spenders." Includes a review of his first year in light of the Road Map for a Michigan Renaissance, issued by the Mackinac Center in November 1990, and makes recommendations for the continued downsizing of state government. 3 pages.

Educational Choice for Michigan

The sad state of public education in Michigan and America is largely due to its organization as a government-protected monopoly. The authors argue that injecting choice, competition and accountability into education would result in dramatic improvement. The report explodes the myths that the problem in education is too little money and that choice would lead to segregation or elitism. One chapter focuses on the remarkable achievements of 107 non-public schools in Detroit. 102 pages.

Progressive Environmentalism: A Pro-Human, Pro-Science, Pro-Free Enterprise Agenda for Change

Task Force Report

Radical environmentalism is the destructive notion that free enterprise is the danger and government is the manager of the environment. Conclusive facts, figures, and analysis show that private property and free markets should be encouraged if we want to clean up our environment. Specific changes in the law would improve environmental quality and preserve personal and economic liberties. 85 pages.

Employment-at-Will in Michigan: A Case for Retaining the Doctrine

The last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented assault on one of the last frontiers of free contract: the employment relationship. The ability of individuals to choose freely for whom they will work and who will work for them is being undermined by activist jurists and legislators and cheered on by statist academics. Skoppek traces this development in Michigan law, explains the breadth of harm it has caused, and argues strongly for change. 26 pages.

Managing the Michigan Solid Waste Stream: Markets or Mandates?

This comprehensive, Michigan specific review of the economics and politics of solid waste management analyzes recycling, incineration, landfilling, and composting. Michigan should manage its solid waste stream by relying upon market mechanisms and avoiding imposing statewide mandates. Includes an analysis of solid waste legislation and certain local government waste management initiatives. 98 pages.

Ann Arbor, Michigan: A Privatization Profile

The city of Ann Arbor has a successful privatization track record: vehicle towing, street and sidewalk repair, snow removal, janitorial services, and tree trimming. More can be done and DiGiuseppe specifies possible savings that could be achieved if solid waste collection, landfill management, and parking structures were privatized. 14 pages.

Road Map For a Michigan Renaissance

In the aftermath of the 1990 gubernatorial election, innovative proposals for a new incoming administration and legislature were needed. In a 20-point program, The Mackinac Center calls for a Michigan Grace Commission, welfare reform, trucking deregulation, privatization, repeal of the Prevailing Wage law, and specific tax and spending cuts.

An Agenda for Solving America's Health Care Crisis

The best way to address the American health care crisis is to put market-based incentives in place where unwise public policies have been imposed. This study reviews the history and causes of national health care problems and proposes remedies such as the creation of medical savings accounts, reform of tax laws, and the repeal of expensive state-mandated health benefits. Released in cooperation with the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. 33 pages.

The Michigan Education Trust: A Political Economy Perspective

Touted as cutting-edge public policy, the MET program is found to be a flawed political promise that might have to be bailed out by state taxpayers. Parents who want to save for their children's education have better options in the private marketplace. Subsequent events led Governor Engler to scrap the program. 25 pages.

Michigan's Home Ownership Savings Trust: A Closer Look

The HOST program was created in 1989 ostensibly to assist first-time home buyers in saving for their down payments. Wolfram and Kaza point out the fatal flaws of the plan and expose HOST as a boondoggle of the first order. Their analysis was instrumental in bringing about revisions of the program under Governor James Blanchard and its ultimate abolition under Governor John Engler. 8 pages.

Auto Insurance in Michigan: Regulation, No-Fault, and Affordability

Written by one of America's foremost authorities on auto insurance, this study is a thorough review of Michigan's Essential Insurance Act and No-Fault Law. Harrington examines in-depth the structure of rates in the state and explains that they are not the result of price-gouging or insufficient competition. He analyzes the effects of the state's insurance regulations, and makes suggestions that would increase competition, lower costs, and limit the interference of government in a free insurance market. 33 pages.

Litigation and the Market: Restoring the Balance Between Individual and Employer Rights

Litigation has become an expensive and prominent component of our economy. There are too many excessive damage awards and too few controls on the length and expense of court proceedings. The author examines product liability and employment contract law and recommends ten specific reforms. 5 pages.

Regional Economic Development: Downriver as a Case Study

The seventeen communities of the Downriver Detroit area have traditionally been economically vibrant. Their decline in recent years is due in great measure to excessive tax burdens and the politicization of community services. The authors explain how this area can revive by rolling back property taxes, privatizing a number of municipal functions, avoiding government-directed economic development schemes, and making certain improvements to the transportation infrastructure. The many lessons from the Downriver experience are applicable to communities all across Michigan. 32 pages.

Jail Overcrowding in Michigan: A Public Problem With a Private Solution?

Strapped for cash and experiencing soaring costs to maintain over crowded jails, Michigan counties are overdue for privatization. Van Eaton cites substantial cost savings in more than a dozen other states where jail operation and management has been privatized. Michigan state government should allow our 83 counties the freedom to employ this promising option. 26 pages.

Tort Law and the Products Liability Insurance Crisis

This report examines the theories behind the products liability insurance crisis, including the idea that the crisis is contrived by the insurance industry. Smith argues that the real source of the problem is judicial changes in tort law that undermine the predictability of risk and the independence insurance markets need to adequately measure risk. He recommends steps that governments should take to solve the crisis and bring down consumer and industry costs. 55 pages.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport: A Case for Privatization

The nation's first comprehensive proposal to privatize a commercial airport was inspired by Britain's successful 1987 effort to privatize eight airports, including London's Heathrow. If Detroit Metro were properly privatized, it would benefit county finances, air travelers, and area economic development.

The Single Business Tax Burden on Michigan Industries

The Michigan Single Business Tax (SBT) was, at the time of this report's release, the only value-added state business tax system in the U.S. The author explores its history, actual practice, and inherent advantages and disadvantages. Tables of data are provided, showing the SBT burden as a percentage of the Adjusted Tax Base on industries in Michigan. This report is a good overview of the SBT and its impact on the state's businesses. 30 pages.

The Michigan Accident Fund: A Need for Privatization

Though prevailing legal opinion had concluded that the Accident Fund, a workers' compensation insurer, had been operating as a private insurer, Attorney General Frank Kelley ruled in 1976 that the Fund was in fact a state agency. Smith examines the controversy ignited by Kelley's ruling, culminating in a state takeover of the Fund in 1989. His powerful case for privatization of the Fund is just as relevant today and, in fact, is a major reason why the Engler administration planned to do just that in 1994. 31 pages.