A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Democrats Call for Moratorium on New Charter Public Schools

Bill would cap school choice

“We find it interesting that House Democrats are falling over themselves to introduce bills to restrict school choice for underserved students while ignoring the abysmal performance of the 85 percent of traditional public schools in our major cities that are ranked at the very bottom of the state’s accountability system." … more

Parents Speak Out on Effort to Halt School Choice

Legislators pushing charter school moratorium ignore public 'Schools of Choice' in areas they represent

When several state lawmakers spoke Sept. 18th in support of a moratorium on new charter public schools, they seemed to be overlooking what is going on in their districts. … more

Top DIA Officials Receive Huge Raises While Running Deficit, Raking in Taxpayer Money

Detroit Institute of Arts director sees compensation increase from $455K to $514K

Soon after voters approved a three-county $230 million millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts, its top two officers received increases of $58,415 and $98,564 in compensation. … more

Feeling Fine About the End of the World

Book review of Kevin Williamson's latest effort

Williamson seemingly enjoys placing counterintuitive theories in the middle of his texts. For example, he writes “failure is what makes us rich.” … more

Environmental Group Praises Michigan For Press Releases About 'Green Jobs'

Past job claims rarely came to fruition

While job creation can be a badge of honor for many politicians, a report praising Michigan for adding "green jobs" is a bit premature. … more

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Suggests Legislature Clarify Criminal Intent Statutes

Citizens are committing crimes without knowing it

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman wants state lawmakers to clarify statutes that criminalize administrative offenses. Offenders are often surprised when they are charged with a “strict liability public welfare offense” because it is not obvious the act is a crime. … more

10 Facts About Pension Systems in Michigan

Why reform is so vital

It is difficult to avoid numbers when talking about underfunded pension systems, but here are some illustrations that will hopefully help citizens grasp the enormity of the problem in Michigan. … more

Liberal Economist: 'Mostly White' Oakland County Deserves the Blame For Detroit's Problems

County official: 'He doesn't understand what he is talking about'

By all accounts, the state and Oakland County are major stakeholders in Detroit. Here’s some things Robert Reich overlooked about how county and state taxpayers help fund Detroit. … more

Grasping At Taxes to Pay for Pensions

Schools, municipalities get creative

New assessing rules have meant more inspections and after the housing bubble, cities are desperate to recognize increasing home values. Cities are also challenging previously exempt nonprofits to pay property taxes. … more

Michigan Now Spending More on Teacher Retiree Liabilities Than Prisons

Pension costs are crowding out other state funding

Michigan is planning on spending $1.937 billion to catch up on underfunding for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System and another $880 million to catch up on public school employee retiree health care costs. The state’s 2015 budget for corrections is $2.040 billion.  … more

Economic Freedom and Prosperity

"The financial burden of supporting our government has skyrocketed, saddling taxpayers with the bill. While federal government spending has doubled since 2000 and tripled since 1990, the growth of personal income has lagged, rising by less than half since 2000." … more

Resident Harmed by Windmills Now on County Planning Commission Which Approved Windmills

Plaintiff in wind turbine noise case appointed in Mason County

Cary Shineldecker, the homeowner who warned his community that the margin of safety was inadequate at Lake Winds wind plant near Ludington, is now a member of the Mason County Planning Commission. This same commission initially failed to heed his warning but it has learned a lot since then. … more

The Growth of Michigan's 'Shadow Government'

Pseudo-government authorities exploding

The U.S. Census Bureau defines them as “Special District Governments” and reports that they are growing at a fast rate. From 2002 to 2012, special district governments in Michigan have jumped 33 percent from 332 to 443. … more

Dropping Union Health Insurance Saves District $737K

MESSA revenue drops $190 million

In the three years since Dansville Schools dropped MESSA insurance for a different high-deductible plan, it has saved $736,873.87 and its employees hadn’t had to pay for any health insurance premiums in that time. … more

House Committee Sitting on Bill That Would Let Qualified Nurses Write Prescriptions

Proposed law would help deal with potential shortages

Michigan’s medical community is split over legislation that would give nurses with advanced training the authority to prescribe some medications. Essentially, physician groups don't want nurses gaining responsibilities that are currently reserved only for doctors.  … more

Ann Arbor Schools Bargains Over 'Prohibited Subject'

Law gives school boards sole authority to set teacher merit pay

Ann Arbor Public Schools three months ago negotiated a tentative agreement with its teachers union to provide “merit pay” of just $150 annually to educators who receive a “highly effective” rating. Under a law passed in 2011, however, merit pay is considered a “prohibited subject” for collective bargaining purposes. … more

Grand Rapids Transit Agency Defends New Bus Line

Michigan's first 'bus rapid transit' forced to give away rides

“If they are so secure about future business than why does it need public support?" LaFaive asked. "A good litmus test of this idea is whether or not anyone would want to finance it privately. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. We’ve seen that time and again.” … more

Gap Between Teacher Salaries and Private-Sector Workers Increasing

Since 1999, public school teacher pay has risen from 10 percent to 23 percent higher than average worker

In 2013, the latest data available, the average private-sector worker’s annual pay in Michigan was $46,659 – about $15,000 a year less than the average teacher’s salary. … more

MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call

Legislators voted on bills dealing with wolf hunts, golf carts and adding on more licensing rules. … more

'Worst Fears' of MEA Realized as Teachers Leave

Union president's greatest fear was losing 'thousands' of members — another 5K left in August

The MEA has 110,000 active members, but only 60,000 teachers were eligible to leave the union since many districts rushed to extend their already-existing contracts by years so employees couldn’t opt out under right-to-work. … more

Central Michigan University economist Jason Taylor explains how raising the minimum wage will hurt teen workers trying to find their first job. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."

Most Popular