This week, the CATO Institute posted their rankings of “how free is your state?” Michigan came in as the 24th freest state, down 7 spots from their last ranking in 2012
But why was Michigan ranked 24th? According to CATO, it is because Michigan has “decent” policies and nothing that sets us apart from others.
To make Michigan a freer State, CATO argues for new fiscal, regulatory, and personal policies that can help our State thrive. In our Part 1 of 3 series, we examine their policy recommendations for fiscal responsibility and freedom.
CATO stated that to improve fiscal policy in our state, Michigan should, “Repeal Proposal A, cutting the state sales tax and state school aid and giving localities the freedom to determine school budgets once again.”
For those of you who don’t know, Proposal A deals directly with our education system. Proposal A was passed by voters over 20 years ago to shift education funding from local communities to the state government. This was the proposal that began per-pupil funding of students and raised the state sales tax from 4 to 6 percent.
Proposal A was meant to level the playing field between school districts, primarily poor and rich. Although the plan had good intentions, Proposal A has been nothing more than the centralization of education.
Since Proposal A we have seen more arguments, more scandals, and more issues with our education system than ever before in history. The CATO Institute is correct, to make Michigan a freer fiscal state, we must repeal Proposal A.
If we repeal the Proposal, our state sales tax will reduce from 6 to 4 percent, which is great for the average consumer and household in Michigan. This will allow for households to either save more money or spend more, without the government reaching into your pocket. Any time the government does not have to reach into your pocket, an angel gains his wings and you gain more freedom.
Secondly, the idea to return school aid to localities and to give them the freedom to determine what is best for their district is long overdue. The State spends millions of dollars on our school system all while our schools keep failing. This is not to blame the teachers, students, parents, or anyone else. We all love our children and do not blame failure on them or others, but rather this proves that government spending does not fix a broken system.
Local school districts should have the power to reasonably, efficiently, and effectively spend their own money. Districts also should have the ability to set curriculum that is best for their students, and not what is best for Common Core bureaucrats.
Now this is not to say that Proposal A is all bad. Proposal A also allows for our home mortgage rates to remain fixed over a period of time, which is good for many of us who are struggling paycheck to paycheck; We would need to ensure that this would not change if Proposal A was repealed.
With that being said, with these policy recommendations, Michigan would be a freer State and not a measly #24.