MIDLAND, Mich. — Maintaining a fiscally responsible state budget, expanding educational options for students and reforming antiquated health care laws are just a few of the policy priorities found in the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s 2021 Policy Recommendations released today. The recommendations can serve as a guide to lawmakers as they prioritize which new policies to implement and which existing ones to reform.
In the guide, Mackinac Center experts briefly summarize actionable and timely recommendations on issues that are likely to be considered by the Legislature this year. The COVID-19 pandemic brought some new challenges and also exposed reforms that are desperately needed.
Early last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer temporarily halted “scope of practice” restrictions and Certificate of Need laws. This allowed medical providers and practitioners to best serve the needs of their patients without unnecessary regulatory hurdles. These restrictions should continue to be suspended during public health emergencies to relieve stress on the overall system and considered for more permanent loosening or repeal.
As the state looks to rebound economically from the disruption of the pandemic and state lockdown orders, policymakers should reject calls to hand out more taxpayer money to select businesses and industries. Ineffective corporate welfare programs are harmful to Michigan’s overall business climate.
Lawmakers should also reject calls to raise taxes. Despite the pandemic, state revenue continues to grow. Taxpayers, including countless businesses, have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic and government shutdowns, and policymakers should not add to that suffering with higher taxes. Government transparency remains a key issue, as Michigan is one of just two states in the country that exempts its Legislature and executive branch from public documents disclosure. At a time when unelected government bureaucrats are issuing orders that affect millions and can result in criminal charges, transparency is more important than ever.
Several reforms to the criminal justice system are highlighted in the guide, such as reducing overcriminalization and overregulation, and reforming the police disciplinary process. Changes are needed to the arbitrary occupational licensing regulations, which put needless hurdles in the way of people trying to finding a job or start their own business.
“Pod learning” is a new educational option parents seek and should be available to those who want to use it, not just those who can afford it. The state should also give students and families more control over their learning by making educational funding more flexible and portable. As many face increasing electricity rates, energy policies that help reduce the cost of electricity for all consumers are also featured in the report.
“Our 2021 policy recommendations are a roadmap for how Michigan can emerge from COVID-19 as an attractive state for families to raise their children and for businesses to thrive,” said David Guenthner, the Mackinac Center’s senior strategist for state affairs. “These recommendations incorporate the lessons learned from our state’s experience with COVID-19 while returning to a normal governing order and addressing longstanding challenges.”
You can view the complete list of policy recommendations here.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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