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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a free market, non-partisan educational institute workings towards a freer and fairer government. Our main focuses are in the following policy areas: Fiscal, Education, Energy and Environment, Labor, and Criminal Justice. Learn more at

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Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law Drives Up Costs

I recently installed a new roof on my house. Before doing so, I did what any responsible homeowner does — I got bids from different companies and made a decision by balancing quality and costs and using market competition to my advantage. … more

DTE Produces Enough Wind Power To Run 24,000 Homes - But Part Of The Day Only

DTE Electric Company, Michigan’s largest electric utility, uses a simple rhetorical device to explain the impact of solar and wind energy. But one expert says it misleads people by making renewable energy appear more useful than it is in reducing the need for electricity from conventional fuel sources. … more

Detroit Ignores State Law, Turns Down Money to Avoid Selling Abandoned School

The conventional school district in Detroit is, by most measures, the worst performing district in the United States. Students have been fleeing for years, leaving for schools in other districts or charter schools in the city. To prevent that, the district is doing everything it can to stop parents from making this choice. … more

Bills Make It Easier For Private Marketing Bureaus To Force Dues on Businesses

A package of bills introduced in the Michigan Senate in December could make it more difficult for local hotel and motel owners to refuse to pay levies as high as 5 percent of their revenue to private marketing bureaus.  … more

You Can Legally Warm Your Car Now

Michiganders who usually idle their cars to warm them up before driving in the winter will be pleased to know they will no longer be breaking the law by doing so. … more

Michigan’s Tax Collectors Are Hauling It In

The state of Michigan’s largest sources of tax revenue are projected to bring in $2.1 billion more during the current fiscal year than they collected just two years ago. … more

Michigan Well-Being Metric Stuck in 'Balanced' Position

State-to-state migration may be the single greatest tool for comparing the quality of life in different states.  … more

Teacher Shortage Claims: Republicans Did It

Liberal Michigan Public Radio columnist Jack Lessenberry blamed the Republican party for alleged declines in the teaching profession. However, one school district received more than 2,000 applicants for a single teaching position in 2017. … more

Property Owner: Mackinaw City’s Ban On Airbnb Rentals Violates Our Rights

The Mackinaw City Village Council banned rentals of less than 30 days in part of the residential section of the village. … more

Michigan Jails’ ‘Pay-To-Stay’ Jail Fees Stir Controversy

“Pay-to-stay” is little known practice of county jails throughout Michigan. Jails can charge inmates from $20 to $60 per day (the maximum under state law), which can leave an individual with thousands of dollars of debt upon release. … more

Michigan law requires a permit to own a wolf-dog hybrid, and prohibits ownership by anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty, or who has committed a felony within the last decade. According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the 2000 law regulating wolf-dog hybrids, opponents argued it is unfair to single out one type of dog for special regulations when other breeds including pit bulls, rottweilers, and Dobermans are known to exhibit predatory behavior.

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For the Record

A city commission member for the city of Traverse City says they don't have the money to repair the streets. The city's revenues tell a different story. … more
Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm chided the state of California and praised Michigan as the place to live in 2003. Then, less than a month out of office, she bolted to live in the Golden State. … more
The average teacher salary fell to $61,875 in 2015-16, the fifth consecutive year it declined. But the vast majority of public school teachers aren't taking pay cuts. … more
The Detroit Public Schools Community District spends more per student than all but eight of the nation’s 100 largest school districts, or $14,259 … more
The federal tax reform bill expected to be approved by Congress this week temporarily retains a tax credit for people who buy an electric car. … more
Utica Community Schools has made reductions to try to balance its budget, but not nearly what they claimed. … more
National education writer and frequent critic of charter schools Diane Ravitch wrote in a Detroit News op-ed that she blames free-market reforms and charter schools for the problems in Detroit’s public school system. … more
Midland Fire Chief Chris Coughlin said the city has been very responsible in funding pension liabilities. He may want to recheck the math on that. … more
Alan Singer is an education professor at Hofstra University in New York, and as a contributor to the Huffington Post, he has written numerous posts attacking public charter schools. … more
The Detroit public school district board cites accountability in its packet. Yet, its worst schools stay open with reprieves from the Michigan Department of Education. … more