Great Success at the Great Lakes Policy Academy

From August 6th – 8th, ALEC hosted the Great Lakes Regional Tax and Fiscal Policy Academy at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. This three-day event brought together 20 state legislators from seven states across the Midwest region to discuss experiences and best practices for implementing pro-growth tax and fiscal policy. This event was featured in the Midland Daily News.

ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President of the Center for State Fiscal Reform, Jonathan Williams  presented findings from the ALEC state economic competitiveness report Rich States, Poor States. In the report, economic outlook varies greatly across the Great Lakes region. Michigan ranks 12th and Indiana ranks 5th, while Illinois ranks 48thand New York ranks 50th.

The Rich States, Poor States presentation was followed up by a panel on “The Michigan Comeback Story—A Perspective from Job Creators” featuring Northwood University Economics Professor Dr. Timothy G. Nash and Rich Studley, President and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. The panel discussed how Michigan improved its economic performance and outlook by implementing pro-growth policies.

The evening closed with a presentation by Michigan Senate President Pro Tempore Aric Nesbitt on Michigan’s improving economic outlook and how its reforms can serve as a model for other states.

The second day began with a presentation from John Hendrickson research from the Tax Education Foundation of Iowa and what other states can learn from Iowa. Following that presentation, Len Gilroy and Ryan Frost from the Reason Foundation’s Pension Integrity Project teamed up with Pete Constant of the Retirement Security Initiative to provide a deep dive into the public pension crisis and offer policy solutions.

Senator Jim Buck of Indiana  took the stage  former Michigan Senator Mike Green to present on “Lessons Learned from 25 Years in State Policymaking.”

Radio Host and Former Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones gave a presentation on the book How Money Walksan examination of how tax and fiscal policies encourage residents to move from high-tax states to low tax states. Attendees also heard from  John Mozena of the Center for Economic Accountability, who presented on the “Unforeseen Costs of Tax Preferences.”

 The final presentation of the academy was from David Guenthner of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who presented on “Asking the Right Policy Questions” and walked through the helpful “Questions for Appropriators” guide from the Mackinac Center.

The three days at Northwood were jam-packed with presentations, discussions and knowledge sharing. After the academy, the legislators returned their respective districts with fresh ideas and renewed inspiration to implement pro-growth tax and fiscal policy.