[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.

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

Taxes and the Life and Death of Great American Cities

Low-tax metropolitan areas experience much greater growth than high-tax ones. … more

State Regulations Suffocate Hospitality Industry

Rep. Doug Geiss (D-Taylor) wants to ease some of the regulatory burdens on Michigan’s hospitality industry. … more

Another MEGA Loser

In the latest government economic development failure in Michigan, Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy. … more

Liquor Panel Formalized

Time to change liquor laws to finally favor consumers. … more

Run From the Border(s)

One of MEGA's first "winners" ends up a loser.  … more

Michigan State Senator Offers Cigarette Tax Cut to Cut Smuggling

Lowering the cigarette tax would reduce smuggling and smuggling-related violence. … more

Distilling the Truth

Beer and wine monopoly "valiant" in fight against competition. … more

Pontiac Should Have Listened to Center Experts

Will Detroit pay attention to Pontiac's example? … more

Some Good GDP News for Michigan

Michigan’s 2009-2010 state GDP growth rate was 2.9 percent, its best since 2002. … more

Good, Bad and Ugly of Gov. Snyder's Budget

Gov. Rick Snyder’s first budget fell short of the “atomic bomb” promised by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, in part due to the fact that a megaton of further spending and tax cuts were left on the table. Overall, the budget moves the state in a positive direction with greater tax simplicity, more transparency, less corporate welfare and fewer discriminatory tax policies.  … more

Extending Exemptions

Michigan currently provides a 100 percent income tax exemption for government retirement benefits, but the exemption is capped for benefits earned by retirees who worked in the private sector. … more

Gov. Snyder to Break Michigan's MEGA Habit

Although details are not yet clear, according to early reports Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed Michigan Business Tax replacement appears to be good news for advocates of sound economic policy. … more

'Book Him!': Michigan Film Subsidy Scandal Leads to More Charges

A scandal first exposed by the Mackinac Center last June has led to a second set of felony fraud charges. … more

Four Cheers for Gov. Snyder

The first three weeks of Gov. Snyder’s administration has provided plenty to cheer, especially on fiscal policy issues. … more

Gov. Granholm Leaves Michigan to Find Work

Today is the 5th anniversary of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s promise that Michigan residents would be “blown away” by the gobs of jobs her latest economic development program would create. How ironic then that she of all people would flee the state to find work… more

Projection: Repealing MBT and Surcharge Creates 120,000-plus Jobs

The first bill introduced in the Michigan House this year would repeal the much-reviled Michigan Business Tax 22 percent “surcharge,” and the first Senate bill would repeal the MBT altogether. Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed replacing the tax with a 6 percent corporate income tax, a change that would mean a big net tax cut for job providers. … more

GR Press Editorial Correct on Muni Spending

Applause is in order for the Grand Rapids Press Jan. 5 editorial “How to save money for local governments,” which correctly concludes that removing barriers to freer association between local units of government can cut costs. … more

Past State of the State Speeches Show Wide Variation in Proposed Government Expansions/Contractions

The Mackinac Center has tallied proposed expansions and limitations in each Michigan State of the State address since 1969. While not perfectly scientific, the exercise may provide some insight into an administration’s mindset. What do the past speeches tell us? … more

Sympathy for Politicians, Staff

As significant and real reforms and spending cuts are being discussed in Lansing, it’s hard not to feel a touch of sympathy for the “constituent services” staffers employed by lawmakers, and even for some of their politician bosses. … more