News Story

Analysis: Michigan Needs Regulatory Certainty

One thing my years as a government regulator taught me is that business hates uncertainty. Regulatory uncertainty is a major barrier to job creation in this state. Companies are reluctant to invest in new or expanded operations in Michigan unless they have a reasonable expectation that if they meet the necessary environmental requirements they will receive a permit in a timely manner.

During the 1990's General Motors made a decision to build a new car assembly plant in America. The company preferred to build the plant in Lansing for a number of reasons, including geographic location and good local labor relations. Their decision to build in Lansing, however, was predicated on receiving an air permit in a timely manner. As director of the Department of Environmental Quality at the time, I assembled a regulatory team and personally ensured that the application would receive high priority. GM, after complying with environmental requirements, received their permit within the requested time frame. Businesses in Michigan, whether large or small, should not have to rely on special treatment to ensure their permits are adjudicated without delay.

The following regulatory reforms would encourage business to invest in Michigan creating new jobs:

  • Mandatory time frame for permits of 30 to 90 days depending on complexity of the permit.
  • Environmental permits that are no more stringent than federal requirements unless authorized by the Legislature.
  • Private contractor preparation of permits prior to state review.

Enacting these common sense reforms would sent an important signal to job providers that Michigan is open to business.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.