In News Releases

For Immediate Release
Jan. 31, 2019

Alex Rossman

“The Owner’s Manual for Michigan” is driven by Michigan residents, geared toward policymakers

LANSING—Today the Michigan League for Public Policy released The Owner’s Manual for Michigan, a clear and comprehensive public policy plan informed by residents from around the state. The plan is intended to help the state’s leaders better understand the challenges facing many Michiganders and offers tangible policy recommendations on how the state can better serve its people.

Over the last few months, League staff met with local residents in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon, and Petoskey and solicited additional input online to learn how state policies have been affecting state residents. The big takeaways? Michigan’s economic “recovery” is still far from reaching ALL people and there are a lot of policies that are in need of significant repair. And in nearly every issue area, there are drastic inequities by race and ethnicity, income and geography.

“The League has been around since 1912—almost as long as the automobile itself—and we have always put people at the center of our work,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO for the Michigan League for Public Policy. “As we drove around the state, the residents we met were very different, but the problems they were facing were universal. We may have organized the information, but this plan really belongs to the 10 million people who call Michigan home—they’re the real owners of this great state and the real stakeholders in our policy decisions.”

The League’s policy analysts combined this public feedback with data and analysis and their decades of experience in state policy to compile a list of 16 concrete policy recommendations for Michigan policymakers. These policy improvements focus on four core areas: Strong Workers, Thriving Families, Healthy Communities and Top-Notch Education. The Owner’s Manual includes a two-page analysis of each policy issue, the current problem, and the solutions—including how to address racial inequities in each area.

“These policies are meant to resonate with all Michiganders and all policymakers,” Jacobs said. “If we’re going to fix our state and pave the way for everyone, then residents, advocates and elected officials are going to need to pop the hood, roll up our sleeves and work together to get things running smoothly.”

The Owner’s Manual is intended to generate policy improvements in the new legislative session getting underway this month. From child care costs to justice reforms, many of these issues are gaining traction on both sides of the aisle right now, and the League hopes to build on that momentum to make these recommendations a reality. Cost often is seen as a roadblock to any meaningful public policy change in Lansing, so the Owner’s Manual outlines some tangible recommendations for increasing state revenues to pay for these important priorities, including passing a graduated income tax, expanding the sales tax to services, and eliminating the harmful triggered income tax rate cut and other tax cuts that disproportionately benefit wealthy taxpayers and businesses.

Just like the real vehicles we all depend on, it takes a lot of components and tools to make our state go. Here is The Owner’s Manual for Michigan’s full list of policy recommendations to get all Michigan residents on the road to prosperity and security:

Top-Notch Education

  • Jumpstart Early Learning
  • Ramp up School Funding
  • Develop a Road Map for Reading

Strong Workers

  • Pave the Way for Better Jobs
  • Create a Route for Building Skills
  • Put Justice-Involved Residents Back on the Road

Healthy Communities

  • Curb Public Health Threats
  • Drive Healthcare Forward
  • Build Bridges for Immigrants
  • Give Kids Keys to a Strong Future

Thriving Families

  • Fill up Workers’ Pockets
  • Move the Needle on Child Care Access
  • Create Safer Homes for All
  • Fuel Families with Healthy Foods

Interested residents and lawmakers can get involved with the Owner’s Manual at, and


The Michigan League for Public Policy,, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

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