[Photo of James M. Hohman]

James M. Hohman

Assistant Director of Fiscal Policy

James M. Hohman is assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He holds a degree in economics from Northwood University in Midland, Mich.

School Support Services Contracting Increases to 61 Percent of Districts

'Truth Squad' Gets Facts Wrong

The State Is Already Addressing 'Transition Costs' in School Pension Fund

Beware Doubling-Down on Municipal Pension Dysfunctions

Commentary: Pension Liabilities Larger Than Reported

Policymakers Still Tripped Up By Pension Transition Costs

"Transition costs" and "plunging credit ratings" are red herrings to pension reform.  … more

Study Finds That Teacher Pension Plan Unlikely to be Fully-Funded

The Legislature Must Fix Teacher Pensions the Right Way

Fix the Real Problem of the Pension System

Politicians to blame for unfunded liabilities. … more

MPSERS and MSERS: Three Pension Policy Briefs

Analysis: Agriculture Still Not the Second-Largest Industry in Michigan

House GOP Hides Behind Rigged 'Study'

Punting on pension reform keeps the burden on taxpayers. … more

Outsourcing Isn't the Problem

Special favors to bring jobs back not the answer. … more

Comparing Apples to Lemons in Pension Reform

Legislature needs to be transparent about costs. … more

House Pension Reform Savings are Phony

The Senate's plan is much more realistic. … more

Utah Incurred No Pension Reform ‘Transition Costs’

Michigan House Republicans should take note. … more

Michigan Already Diverges From GASB Rules

Full contributions in only two of last 10 years. … more

Teacher Pension Underfunding Hits $22B

Shows need to close fund immediately. … more

Michigan Pension Underfunding Gaps Widen

Another reason MPSERS should be closed now. … more

Analysis: Michigan’s Long History of Government Pension Problems

There Are Options to Address 'Transition Costs'

Plan would shift teachers to new pension system. … more

Commentary: Legislators Choose School Employees Over Taxpayers on Retirement Benefit Reform

Analysis: Local Governments Wrong to Call Foul On Property Tax Reform

The Public School Pension Fund’s Problem Is Not Charter Schools

Commentary: School Pension System Impacts Everyone’s Future

'Stranded Costs' Will Always Be Paid by Taxpayers

Keep charter school and contract employees out of MPSERS. … more

Commentary: Pension Reform Bigger School Fiscal Issue Than Education Budget

Close the State School Employee Pension Fund

Analysis: Two-Handed Michigan Recovery is Real

Pure Michigan’s Bid For More Tax Money

Five Options for Addressing ‘Transition Costs’ When Closing the MPSERS Pension Plan

Michigan Public School Employee Retirement Plans
in Need of Reform

This study considers the supposed ‘transition costs’ that would be effected by a state switch from a defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement system. In it, the “transition costs” are found to be nonbinding and discretionary. In addition, the study offers the state a series of reforms that would diffuse such costs, as well as consideration for the long-term fiscal improvements that would arise from payment of the pension’s unfunded liabilities. … more

According to Beneficiaries, All Government Spending Is Worth the Investment

Tax Foundation Rates Michigan

State climbs 42 spots after eliminating MBT. … more

State Behind on School Employee Pension Reform

Analysis: Michigan Cannot Grow Out of Pension Problems

Analysis: State Behind on School Employee Pension Reform

Indiana Leads the Manufacturing Belt

Hoosier state has the most to gain from a right-to-work law. … more

Commentary: Governor Should Veto Film Incentive Bills

Michigan School Privatization Survey 2011

Majority of Michigan school districts currently contract food, custodial or transportation services
Despite increased spending in Michigan public schools, districts regularly face tough choices allocating their resources. This study surveys the privatization of the three major noninstructional services: food, custodial and transportation services. The findings are that over half of public schools have privatized at least one of these services; what is more, about 93 percent report satisfaction with the private-sector services they receive, which spells progress towards improving services while spending less. … more

Cost of Benefits Is Sinking Detroit

City could run out of money in early 2012. … more

Wasted Talent

More college grads doesn't mean economic success. … more

Film Incentive Bill Sows Its Own Expansion

Legislators want to give more of your money to Hollywood. … more

Michigan Pensions Good at Controlling Fraud

More work needs to be done on controlling costs, though. … more

School Privatization Survey Results Available

Outsourcing helps public schools save millions of dollars. … more

Do We Really Need a Unionized State Government?

Government Unions: Bad for Government Services

Commentary: Another Small Step Toward Benefits in Balance

Commentary: Eliminate the Personal Property Tax Without Replacement

Real Steel or Reel Steal? New Film Costs $4.26 Per Michigan Taxpayer

Michigan $1 Billion Closer to ‘Benefits in Balance’

State Admits Compensation Problem

State employment down 21 percent, compensation up 52 percent. … more

Defined-Contribution Retirement Reform Introduced in Michigan

Privatization Still Growing in Michigan Schools

No State Favors For Fastest Growing Companies

No state corporate welfare went to these fastest growers. … more

Michigan $1 Billion Closer to Bringing Benefits In Balance

Bill Looks to Require Districts to Seek Bids on Support Services

State Compensation Problem Bigger Than Advertised

The state’s negotiators should be on solid footing when asking for concessions. … more

And Now for Something Completely Different

State Spending From State Sources Going Up Next Year

State Pension Underfunding Liability Jumps $6.6 Billion, Confirming Need for Reform

New Transformers Flick Costs Each Michigan Taxpayer $1.36

What Can $5.7 Billion Get You in Michigan?

Commentary: Republican Legislators Try to Resurrect Film Subsidies

No Auto Resurgence Yet

While the Detroit 3 are now profitable and optimistic, clear job gains have yet to be prevalent. … more

Commentary: Fairness Arguments on the Pension Tax

Michigan Tax Reform Signed

The Michigan Business Tax will soon be no more. … more

Don't Confuse Estimates With Data

Center analyst explains job growth estimates to reporter. … more

GM Asks for More Tax Incentives

Michigan’s Massive Job Creation and Loss

Michigan Stands Out in Tax Redistribution

Michigan's EITC among most generous in the country. … more

Gov. Snyder vs. the Political Careerists

Historic Levels of Government Employment in Michigan

Analysis: The Obvious Need for Government Employment Benefit Reform

Commentary: Bringing Local Government Benefits in Balance

'Brutal' MSU Budget Cut: Just 4.5 Percent

Michigan State University President Lou Ann Simon has characterized proposed state aid cuts as "brutal," although she gamely acknowledges "We can make this work." … more

The State Should Dissolve the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council

Government Unions Protest to Bankrupt Local Governments

Executive Budget Takes on Government Employee Compensation

New Film Office Report Misleads and Shows Undercounting

Detroit Free Press Editor Points out Film Incentive Flaws

As Detroit Free Press editor Stephen Henderson points out, the film incentive was meant to generate a film industry in Michigan that would exist without special favors. In light of this goal, the incentive has so far been only an expensive failure. … more

Legislature’s Early-Out Deal: New Government Retirees 21, Taxpayers 3

Governor Looks At Public Employee Compensation

In his executive budget, Gov. Rick Snyder recommends reforms to the compensation offered to employees by Michigan’s state and local governments. Considering that employment costs are a primary reason why government continues to grow, this is a commendable move. … more

More Good News for Michigan’s Economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided some encouraging news that indicated Michigan’s economy continues to recover. The state’s private sector added 221,292 jobs in the second quarter of 2010 and lost only 184,025. … more

Detroit Public Schools Contracts Out Custodial Services

Mlive.com reports that Detroit Public Schools signed contracts with private vendors to clean and maintain the district’s buildings. DPS will join 145 other school districts in Michigan that contract out for these services. … more

Michigan's 'Green Energy' Jobs Total: 315

How Bad is Detroit’s Detroitification?

Mackinac Center analyst Jack McHugh has called the long process of hollowing out a private economy to prop up an unsustainable government, "Detroitification." Detroit's most recent comprehensive annual financial report shows just how much the title-city itself has been hollowed. … more

Michigan Posts Record Drop in Unemployment Rate for December

According to data released by the Michigan Office of Labor Market Information today, the state’s unemployment rate dropped by 0.7 percentage points from 12.4 percent in November 2010 to 11.7 percent in December 2010. This is a record for this data series that began in 1976. … more

Bonuses Included, Michigan Government Benefits Exceed Private Sector by $5.7 Billion

In an article in The Detroit News, Michigan Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, states that government workers get generous health and pension benefits in lieu of bonuses, apparently implying that the two offset. Thankfully, there are data on the issue to check his theory. … more

Bringing Balance to Public Benefits

Gov. Granhom Claims Ignorance of MEGA Failures

If a person sits through Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s video portrait, they might think that the governor is interested and aware of her economic development programs. She spends nearly the entire production on her efforts to foster job creation. Unfortunately, a recent MIRS interview (subscription required) shows that she is blind to the failures of the programs she supports. … more

The Mackinac Center Is not 'Pro-Business'

The Mackinac Center is pro-free markets, not necessarily “pro-business.” The following excerpt from an article by Luigi Zingales does a good job of describing the difference (although the Center is not a lobbyist, either). Zingales is a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  … more

Benchmarking Benefits Methodology Sheet

What Can $5.7 Billion Get You in Michigan?