The purpose of the Michigan Consensus Policy Project is to offer solutions to some of the major public policy challenges facing the state. In an era of intense and often extreme political polarization, our goal is to propose consensus recommendations that result from facts, thorough research, and vigorous debate between Democrats and Republicans that have served in policy-making roles. We hope to demonstrate that partisan affiliation and allegiance is not a barrier to reaching consensus solutions to issues facing Michigan.
The primary purpose of making a recommendation on a difficult policy issue is to encourage a long-term fix to a challenging issue facing Michigan. We will explain how we defined the problem, as well as the principles we used to reach a consensus recommendation. We want to start a conversation about the best way to solve big problems, and we encourage others to offer solutions. “Success” is less about our proposed solution being the final answer and more about the identified problem being ultimately solved in some way.
Our goal is not to replace or supplant the role of the Governor and the state legislature in making public policy, but rather to offer possible consensus solutions for them—and the public—to consider.
Issues to be tackled by the Michigan Consensus Policy Project are determined by the Steering Committee working with the Policy Director. The intent is to select impactful issues that have proven difficult to solve over time.
Although the number of issues will be limited to ensure that adequate resources are available and devoted to them, our intent is to select impactful issues that have proven difficult to solve over time. We devoted our initial efforts to transportation infrastructure funding for that reason—it is critical to Michigan’s future but has been difficult to solve because of the additional revenue necessary.
All recommendations will be based on thorough research. What occurs after the research, however, is a critical part of the Project and what makes it unique. A vigorous internal debate will occur, led by the Policy Director. This might involve multiple sessions with multiple numbers of Democrats and Republicans, depending on the issue. The purpose of this internal debate is to “refine by fire” and ensure that the final set of recommendations are based on sound research, truly have bipartisan support, and are politically viable.
Once recommendations are publicly released, the Project will continue to educate policy-makers and the public on the need to solve the issue being addressed.