BOULDER, CO (July 14, 2022)—A recent Mackinac Center report claims that the proposed Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarship (MSOS) neovoucher program has the potential to create fiscal benefits for the state of Michigan and its school districts. Its conclusions were examined in a new review, however, and found faulty.
Christopher Saldaña of the University of Wisconsin-Madison reviewed Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarships: Overview and Fiscal Analysis. He found it to be more misleading than useful, with poorly grounded assumptions and a narrow use of research.
States fund neovoucher programs through tax-credited donations, which sets up a more complicated fiscal analysis that requires more assumptions than a conventional voucher policy. To inform its key assumptions about the factors influencing the fiscal impact of neovoucher policies, the report relies overwhelmingly on problematic reports and approaches produced by think tanks that regularly advocate for school choice.
Because of this, Professor Saldaña concludes, the report paints a misleadingly rosy picture of how the MSOS will impact the state’s finances and the finances of its school districts. On closer examination, the assumptions the analysis relies upon are flawed in several ways, rendering the report’s results, conclusions, and broad policy recommendations useless for Michigan policymakers.
Legislation creating the MSOS program was passed by the Michigan legislature in 2021 but vetoed by the state’s governor. A group called “Let MI Kids Learn” is now attempting to revive it through a petitioning (signature-gathering) process unique to Michigan. With enough signatures, the legislature can again pass the legislation and it would become law without the governor’s approval.
Find the review, by Christopher Saldaña, at:
Find Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarships: Overview and Fiscal Analysis, written by Ben DeGrow and Martin Lueken and published by the Mackinac Center, at: