[Photo of Michael D. LaFaive]

Michael D. LaFaive

Director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

Michael LaFaive is director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where he has worked since 1995.

He is the author or co-author of hundreds of essays, commentaries and blog posts and 12 studies on fiscal policy topics as varied as local and state privatization efforts, corporate welfare, school finance, state budgeting and cigarette taxes.

Among his studies is the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s largest, a nearly 200-page state budget analysis that recommended more than 200 ideas for trimming some $2 billion from the state budget without cutting Medicaid or School Aid funding. Many ideas first presented by LaFaive in 2003 have been adopted or adapted by lawmakers in Lansing.

He is also the originator of the Center’s annual school privatization survey, which routinely garners a 100 percent response rates from districts. There is no database of competitive contracting like it in the United States. In addition to this product, LaFaive authored in 2001 a 26-page, full-color edition of Michigan Privatization Report specifically dedicated to fixing Detroit. The ideas in that publication are more relevant today than when it was published.

LaFaive is perhaps best known, however, for his cutting-edge, scholarly work examining state “economic development” programs. His studies and frequent commentaries on this topic have garnered him a national, if not international reputation as a respected government development critic and were probably influential in the decision to kill the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the state’s high-profile corporate welfare program. 

LaFaive has been interviewed more than 1,300 times by the media in the last ten years. He is typically interviewed more than 125 times a year by members of the press seeking comment on fiscal issues and remains a popular public speaker.

He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Central Michigan University.

LaFaive is married and resides in Midland, MI.

State Budget Follies

Senior Olympics subsidies getting old. … more

Now Lansing Politicians Want a Poet Laureate!

What rhymes with "that's not your job"? … more

State Legislators Take Care of Themselves

Even from the grave. … more

Bureaucracy in Iambic Pentameter?

Bill introduced for "official" state poem. … more

A Uniquely Overqualified Candidate

LaFaive's satirical cover letter for MEDC job. … more

Right-to-Work, Tax Rates Paint Interesting Picture

States with worker freedom, low taxes draw people. … more

'Competitiveness' Outlook Ranks Michigan 12th Best

State has a way to go to overcome past policies. … more

Remembering Milton Friedman on His 102nd Birthday

An intellectual powerhouse and Nobel laureate. … more

Repeal Post and Hold Alcohol Rules

Beer and wine wholesalers gain, consumers lose. … more

Low-Hanging Fruit Can Help Fund Roads

There's plenty of money in the current budget. … more

Thank Heaven We Have a Full-Time Legislature

Vitally important job of picking official state frog. … more

Legislature Lacks Credibility in Detroit Bailout

Now they want you to fix their mess. … more

Gov's Immigration Reform Isn't Bold Enough

Shouldn't be limited to Detroit and STEM degrees. … more

Gov. Snyder Is Right

'Don't Give Detroit a Bailout.' … more

Detroit Bailout Solved: Sell Just ONE Painting

Use state money to fill potholes statewide. … more

Detroit 'Openly and Notoriously' Went Bankrupt

Its reward? Maybe a state bailout … more

Cigarette Smuggling Undermines Tax Revenue

Michigan lost $175 million in 2012. … more

Detroit Should Sell Some Paintings and More

It's the only fair solution to all Michigan residents. … more

Art Sales and Angry Journalism

Detroit Free Press editor's remarks uncalled for. … more

More Good News for Michigan

State climbs to 12th place in economic outlook rankings. … more

Detroit Should Sell Some Paintings

Unfair to make the many subsidize amenities for the few. … more

A Better Way to Protect Detroit Pensioners

Make it a "contract city" … more

Economics 101: Minimum Wage Kills Jobs

When prices go up, quantity demanded goes down. … more

Detroit: Possibility of Real Privatization, Savings

Emergency Manager's plan filed in bankruptcy court. … more

Looking to Pontiac for Detroit Solutions

Reason Foundation roundtable discussion. … more

Do Politicians Understand Economics?

Minimum wage proponents don't appear to. … more

Mark Schauer's Support for Corporate Welfare

He had lots of help from the GOP along the way. … more

Money for Nothing

Detroit bailout comes at expense of statewide taxpayers. … more

Gov. Snyder Keeps Pace in State of the State

Bipartisan track record is to expand government. … more

Don't Bail Out Detroit with State Tax Dollars

It would be unfair to taxpayers statewide. … more

Minimum Wage Earners: Many Still Live at Home

Average family income is almost $57,000. … more

Minimum Wage Drumbeat Grows Louder

Minimum wage popping up on national scale.  … more

Public-Private Compensation Gaps Still With Us

The public sector's misconception of reality. … more

Tax Cut ‘Fever’?

Great News for Michigan on Migration Front!

State Fairgrounds to be Sold

Delay costs state millions. … more

State 'Super' Sizes Movie with Subsidy

Hollywood getting more corporate welfare from your pockets. … more

Right-to-Work Laws Work

New study shows economic advantages. … more

WingsWorld on Fox Business

LaFaive on Fox's "Money" discussing Detroit … more

Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman

LaFaive reflects on anniversary of Friedman's birthday … more

Lansing Pols Recycle Press Releases

Tiresome and demeaning to taxpayers. … more

One More Time: Minimum Wage Laws Hurt People

Protestors are well-intentioned but misinformed. … more

Detroit Bankruptcy

It should never have come to pass. … more

John Adams Repents in Heaven

Pelosi needs refresher on American history … more

Resolution for 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' Introduced

Best proof yet for a part-time Legislature. … more

Balance Increased Road Spending with Cuts

Tax, spending cuts should be pursued. … more

Alcohol Reform on Tap

Lawmakers must be tougher on monopolies, price fixing. … more

Choice Between Two Tax Hikes No Choice At All

Lawmakers need different approach for road funding. … more

Smuggling Undermines Tobacco Tax Hike Goals

North Dakota Policy Council taps Center expert. … more

Three Cheers for Michigan House Democrats

Questioning MEDC transparency is the right thing to do. … more

Cigarette Smuggling Study Explained

Interpretation by special interests, not methedology, is flawed. … more

Minnesota Eyes Higher Tobacco Taxes

Center analyst shows it will result in more smuggling. … more

Michigan a Cigarette Smuggling Haven

10th highest rate in the nation, according to new study. … more

Michigan Migration in a Holding Pattern

United Van Lines 2012 data released today. … more

RTW Passes; Congratulations to Dr. William Wilson

Lost job for supporting right-to-work due to union backlash. … more

Work Slowdowns and 'Free Riders'

How do they relate to right-to-work? … more

Right-to-Work Laws Influence Migration

Attracting more jobs would stem Michigan's population loss. … more

Media Shouldn't Whitewash Big Labor's Past

Long history of union violence, intimidation gets ignored. … more

Right-to-Work and the Mackinac Center

The Overton Window is shifting in Michigan on right-to-work. … more

Proposal 6: Who Is Right About New Bridge?

Is it necessary and who gets the final say? … more

Prop 5: Protecting Taxpayers from the Government

Tax limitation amendment would force fiscal responsibility. … more

Prop 4 Would Put Union Scam in Constitution

SEIU has skimmed $32 million from the disabled so far. … more

Video Confirms Negative Union Stereotypes

Threats of violence even against their own members? … more

Prop 3 Would Cost Taxpayers Billions

Mandate means higher costs, more corporate welfare. … more

Proposal 2: More Power for Government Unions

Protecting public employees at the public's expense. … more

Proposal 1 a Referendum on PA 4

Mike LaFaive breaks down the ballot proposals. … more

UAW Video Shows Political Influence

How much more will they get if Prop 2 passes? … more

Stop the Presses! All of Michigan's Problems Solved

Bill would make Iosco County "birding capitol" of Michigan. … more

The Perils of Politicians' Promises

A radio blast from the past with Congressman Bill Huizenga. … more

'Protect Our Jobs' Could Increase Gov't Secrecy

Freedom of Information Act at risk? … more

Really? A 150 Percent Business Tax Hike?

More central planning folly from Lansing. … more

Detroit Tries to Salvage Water Department

Center recommended privatization a dozen years ago. … more

Scaffolding for Plunder Part II

"Enhancement" levy a tax, not a voluntary assessment. … more

Standard Fair

Private state fair nearly a decade after Center suggested it. … more

Are You Prepared for 'Taxmageddon'?

What will a $494 billion tax hike fix? … more

Remembering Vincent Chin

Death at the hands of laid-off autoworkers 30 years ago today. … more

Legislature Should Be Bold on Tax Cuts

Difference should be made up with spending cuts only. … more

Retail Alcohol Density and Public Safety

Scholarly evidence shows no negative connection. … more

Lansing Builds a 'Scaffolding for Plunder'

House Bill 5667 has several flaws … more

The Longest Yard

Prison guards defeat taxpayers in privatization battle. … more

Flashy Projects Flash Back

It didn't have to come to this for Detroit. … more

Pontiac's Fiscal Revolution

Emegency manager taking steps to rescue city. … more

Breaking News!

Michigan advances to 17th on economic outlook index. … more

If the Monopoly Title Fits, Wear It

Alcohol distribution territorial monopolies hurt consumers. … more

'Birthday Tax' Unveiled in Lansing

New taxes, fees for road maintenance. … more

Bay City Repeals Prevailing Wage Ordinance

Other cities, state should follow suit. … more

Taxpayers Fund Bureaucratic Back Slapping

Over-sized checks wasteful, opportunistic. … more

Bay City Amends Prevailing Wage Ordinance

State, cities should abandon "archaic practice." … more

Surplus, or Excess?

More state revenue could mean more spending. … more

Michigan's Migration Status Improves

United Van Lines 2011 study released. … more

Right-to-Work Legislation Possible in Indiana

"Significant economic consequences for Michigan." … more

Happy 96th Birthday, Dr. McCracken!

Best wishes from the Mackinac Center to an economic supernova. … more

Breaking News: Michigan Loses Population Again

Michigan citizens fleeing the Great Lake State. … more

Hand Wringing Over Liquor Reforms

Claims don't mesh with scholarly literature. … more

Gov. Snyder's Second State of the State

Some suggestions on what he should address. … more

Detroit Exhausts Its Options

City needs to take bold steps to avoid bankruptcy. … more

From the Department of You Can't Be Serious ...

MSU gets federal grant to study economic development subsidies. … more

Letter in Freep is Spurious, Misleading

Response on beer and wine wholesaler monopoly easily rebutted. … more

Migration and Tax Rates

More evidence for the relationship between high tax burdens and people showing their preference by voting with their feet. … more

Read All About It

State laws redistribute wealth to beer and wine distributors. … more