Republican legislators in Michigan have been vigorously promoting the ideas of school choice and healthy competition in the education arena. Senator Debbie Stabenow [D-024], apparently assuming that she was calling the Republicans’ bluff, introduced legislation on July 20, 1993, to cut the property taxes that fund Michigan’s public schools. The Republicans jumped on the bill and passed it though both the House and the Senate. Governor John Engler signed the tax cut into law on August 19, 1993.
Governor Engler is a strong proponent of private school choice and a supporter of home schools. He regards this new legislation as an opportunity to restructure the whole school system. The governor stated, “The first task is deciding what our education system should be like. The second step is funding.”
It appears that property taxes in Michigan could be cut by as much as 80 percent as a result of this new law. Obviously a new source of funding for the public schools will have to be found. However, this legislative action could begin the process of breaking the public schools’ monopoly and may signal a new era in American education.