GRAND RAPIDS – (Dec. 14, 2023) –The West Michigan Policy Forum today expressed disappointment that the state’s Growing Michigan Together Council is not calling out the wrong direction of the current legislature and governor, and further recommending several proposals that could hinder the state’s ability to grow Michigan’s population and economy.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the council to propose policy initiatives to increase Michigan’s dwindling population, though policies adopted in the past year take Michigan back to a time where we lost jobs, residents and tax revenue.
This fall, the West Michigan Policy Forum recommended nine policy initiatives to the council to help reverse Michigan’s population loss. The proposals included solutions to make Michigan more attractive to residents, remove barriers to job growth and urged resisting recommendations that will lead to raising taxes on Michigan workers, residents and job providers.
“Sadly, this is not a plan to grow Michigan’s population; the fear is that when the additional spending is paid for it’ll become a how-to manual for Tennessee, Texas and Florida to attract even more Michigan transplants,” said Jase Bolger, policy advisor for the West Michigan Policy Forum. “This report appears long on problems but short on bold solutions. K-12 education is just one example where more spending and less accountability has failed to deliver better performance. Further, you can’t pick and choose data from one tax or one spending item without looking at the big picture. And, that big picture and growing states makes clear that tired ideas like more spending leads to more taxes, increased government bureaucracy and subsidized gimmicks that won’t bring people and economic prosperity to Michigan, it will drive us toward more job and population losses.”
“We need to take a cue from the fastest growing states in our country and enact policies like freeing Michigan’s people to create, innovate and grow jobs and our population,” Bolger said. “The prior decade proved that the best way to improve the state’s checkbook is to grow worker’s pocketbooks. More taxes and government bureaucracy has been tried and failed. Policy matters. We won’t encourage people to stay or locate in our state without career opportunities for workers, and we can’t create career opportunities with policies that make it harder to provide jobs in Michigan.”
Michigan currently ranks 49th worst among all states in population growth, with just 1% population growth from 2000 to 2020. In the last three years, the state has lost more than 43,000 residents.
Bolger said residents should contact their legislators to urge them to learn from growing states and work to approve proven policy solutions that will actually encourage people to live in Michigan.
For more information on the WMPF, please visit wmpolicyforum.com.