LANSING, Mich. — Recognizing state government’s role in protecting public health and economic vitality, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are recommending nine guiding principles that we encourage state policymakers to seriously consider as the develop plans to restart Michigan’s economy.
“State policymakers’ number one priority should be to protect the public health, but they must also acknowledge that businesses that can open responsibly with recognized safety protocols should be allowed to do so,” said Rich Studley, president and CEO of Michigan Chamber. “Ultimately, it’s going to be Michigan’s entrepreneurs, job providers and their employees who will rebuild Michigan’s economy. Government can help, but we don’t need another new state department of economic recovery.”
In order for the state to recover, the government needs to develop policies that will allow businesses to reopen and employees to safely return to work as soon as possible. The Chamber and Center’s joint effort provides practical, commonsense principles that can guide policymakers as the state transitions out of this emergency and into a fast and full recovery.
“Government officials should also avoid playing favorites in developing policies for recovery,” said Joe Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center. “Economic recovery efforts should be fair, broad-based and focused on making it easier for entrepreneurs to grow and for job creators to expand.”
The guidelines call for policymakers to create clear and consistent expectations for employers. Decisions related to the emergency and recovery should be transparent, accompanied with supporting rationale. Even though these are unprecedented times, policymakers’ role is still a limited one.
The guiding principles make it clear that there is no need to sacrifice public health for economic growth. A fast recovery is possible, and, with the right approach, Michigan’s economy can come out of this stronger than before.
For a complete list of guiding principles: https://www.mackinac.org/archives/2020/GuidingPrinciplesforReEnergizing.pdf
Public Health and State of Emergency
- Public Health First: Policymakers’ number one priority should be to protect the public health, but also remember that productive, rewarding work is a key to our physical and mental wellbeing. The state should focus on metrics related to safety and help businesses create safe workplaces as soon as possible. Businesses that can reopen responsibly using recognized safety protocols should be allowed to do so.
- We Must Live With Risk: Every day, millions of Michiganders take countless risks to their health and safety — driving their cars, working around the house, eating out. These are risks we are comfortable taking regularly, and eliminating all of them is not a realistic standard. Michigan’s economic recovery must start even in the face of some risk.
- This Emergency is Temporary: Even though the emergency declaration Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued was necessary, the Legislature remains an important voice in the debate and should evaluate the current and future orders, consistent with their powers. In addition, lawmakers and interested parties should thoroughly review the emergency powers in statute and improve them to better address future crises.
- Consistency and Clarity: Policymakers will have to make many important decisions in the near future. They should strive for consistency and clarity, as these decisions will impact entrepreneurs, job providers and their employees. None of these decisions are easy, but the ability of businesses to adjust is improved if they are clear and follow a predictable logic.
- Transparency: The law grants the governor extraordinary power during a time of crisis, but that should not diminish the responsibility the government has to be transparent to the public. Policymakers should openly explain their decisions and the supporting rationale used to make them. This will help foster trust with Michiganders, many of whom have been severely impacted by these emergency orders.
- Resist Playing Favorites: While some firms have been impacted more than others, policymakers should not single out certain industries and businesses for special treatment in the recovery. Nearly every business has been impacted one way or another, and recovery policies should apply as broadly as possible.
The Economic Recovery
- Economic Growth and Public Health Go Hand-in-Hand: There is no need to sacrifice public health for economic growth, or vice versa. But there is a negative impact on public health from economic recessions, too. Policymakers need to make this part of the equation when crafting policies for the emergency and for the recovery.
- A Limited Role for Government: While providing important support and guidance, policymakers should view their role as a limited one in the recovery. It will be Michigan’s entrepreneurs and hard-working employees who will ultimately rebuild Michigan’s economy. Recovery plans should not be focused on expanding government’s reach or creating new government departments.
- Focus on the Fundamentals: Full economic recovery will require creating a fertile environment for new businesses to start and incumbent firms to create new jobs. This should be the primary focus of state aid and policy in the recovery: promote free enterprise, entrepreneurship and new job creation.
The Michigan Chamber is a statewide business organization that represents approximately 5,000 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce. The Chamber represents businesses of every size and type in all 83 counties of the state. It was established in 1959 to be an advocate for Michigan job providers in the legislative, political and legal process. www.michamber.com
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents. Its policy experts develop solutions to state and local economic policy challenges based on fundamental principles of free markets, individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law. Headquartered in Midland, Mich., the Mackinac Center has grown into one of the nation’s largest state-based think tanks since its founding in 1987. For more information, visit www.mackinac.org.
Source: Michigan Chamber of Commerce