MIDLAND, Mich. — Increasing government transparency, curbing corporate welfare programs and removing unnecessary regulatory hurdles are a just few of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s 2024 policy priorities. The Center’s annual list of policy recommendations provides Michigan lawmakers with a guide of actionable policy reforms.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already indicated a desire for reforming the state’s Freedom of Information Act, particularly opening up the Legislature and governor’s office to FOIA. That’s a good start, but as the report points out, lawmakers should go even further. Government entities constantly use excessive delays, fees and redactions to deter the public from accessing information. The Mackinac Center has proposed reforms that would fix FOIA and make the state and local governments more accountable.
Other bipartisan reforms the guide recommends include adding accountability and transparency to corporate welfare programs and refraining from creating new subsidy programs. The state currently gives companies hundreds of millions of dollars through corporate welfare deals, yet most of the details are kept secret from the public. If the state insists on continuing these ineffective programs, lawmakers should at least ensure that the deals are fully transparent to the taxpayers footing the bill.
One positive that came from Gov. Whitmer’s population growth council’s report was the recommendation to remove unnecessary licensing barriers that prevent people from working. Policymakers should reduce those burdens and promote a thorough review of other harmful regulations and administrative rules that unnecessarily make earning a living in Michigan more difficult than it has to be.
Other recommendations include:
Avoiding new tax hikes.
Ensuring reliable and affordable energy.
Making schools more accountable and transparent to parents.
Taking steps to reduce overcriminalization and recidivism.
Expanding access to telemedicine.
Prioritizing education and workforce training in prisons.
“These reforms are crucial for fostering accountability and helping Michigan become a place where people want to live and work,” said David Guenthner, vice president for government affairs at the Mackinac Center. “We urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to embrace these common-sense measures for the betterment of our state."
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.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.