Mackinac Center Resources on Michigan's Tax and Budget Debate

   

Classics on Public Policy

Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy


Government, Poverty and Self-Reliance: Wisdom From 19th Century Presidents


The "Payless Payday"


 

Cutting Michigan’s Budget
Summary: An in-depth look at Michigan’s fiscal 2005 state budget, with recommendations on how to achieve $2 billion in savings without cutting revenue to the state’s school aid fund. Length: 94 pages.
Publication: May 4, 2004, Mackinac Center Policy Study
Project Manager: Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy

Replacing Michigan’s New Taxes With Budget Reductions: Curing $1.358 Billion in Overspending With 55 Specific Recommendations
Summary: This Policy Brief provides 55 specific recommendations that would immediately reduce state spending by $1.358 billion, thereby allowing the state to repeal the October 2007 state tax increases. Length: four pages.
Publication: Oct. 19, 2007, Mackinac Center Policy Brief
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center senior legislative analyst; foreword by Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Mackinac Center

NEW ITEM - Michigan’s Crisis and Opportunity

Summary: Michigan's economy has declined alarmingly relative to other states. State lawmakers' recent decision to raise taxes by nearly $1.4 billion was a major policy error, but it may prompt a backlash and genuine reform.
Publication: Oct. 29, 2007. Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Mackinac Center

How to Avoid Raising Taxes
Summary: This commentary provides a quick description of reasonable state budget cuts that would produce an estimated $1.9 billion in state spending reductions.
Publication: July 6, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center senior legislative analyst

Tax Hike Chronicle - Final Entry

Summary: A description and characterization of the huge state tax increase and budget deal from a free-market point of view Length: 634 words.
Publication: Oct. 4, 2007. Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst


 

Health Savings Accounts Could Save State $194 Million
Summary: Giving more than 52,000 state employees health savings accounts could save taxpayers $194 million annually. Length: 886 words.
Publication: Sept. 28, 2007. Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

The Only Safe State Spending Bet
Summary: If Michigan legislators force voters to pick between higher taxes or more legalized gambling in order to solve the state’s overspending crisis, then voters should also have the option to limit state spending. Length: 779 words.
Publication: Sept. 5, 2007. Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

MBT: A More Burdensome Tax?
Summary: The Michigan Legislature ignored business owners, sound economics and itself when it voted to replace the Single Business Tax with the equally burdensome Michigan Business Tax. Length: 726 words.
Publication: Aug. 6, 2007, Mackinac Center Viewpoint
Author: Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

Budget Hawks Should Think Outside the Bars
Summary: Gov. Granholm and the GOP Senate should combine their plans of sentencing reform and privatization to cut significant costs from Michigan’s prison system. Length: 785 words.
Publication: Aug. 2, 2007 Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

Stealing From the Future (article)
Summary: The Legislature balanced the current year’s budget by shifting the debt to future generations, rather than taking responsible cost-cutting measures and lowering taxes. Length: 759 words.
Publication: June 4, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Beware the Ideas of March
Summary: The Legislature missed an opportunity in March to cut spending in order to help balance the current year’s budget. Will it continue to ignore spending cuts as it addresses the next budget? Length: 713 words.
Publication: June 5, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

School District Consolidation, Size and Spending: an Evaluation
Summary: Any savings realized from school district consolidation would be limited and difficult to capture. Length: 35 pages.
Publication: May 22, 2007, Mackinac Center Policy Study
Project Manager: Andrew J. Coulson, Mackinac Center adjunct fellow

A “Way Forward” for Michigan?
Summary: Michigan must make fundamental changes in order to correct its current economic crisis. Will those changes come sooner or later? Length: 735 words.
Publication: May 22, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Bigger Taxes or Smaller Government — Let the People Decide
Summary: Since they cannot reach an agreement, the Legislature and Gov. Jennifer Granholm should let Michigan voters decide if budget cuts or tax increases are the best way to solve Michigan government’s overspending crisis. Length: 726 words.
Publication: April 9, 2007, Mackinac Center Viewpoint
Authors: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst, and Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

State Excise Tax Promises More Job Losses
Summary: An independent analysis of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s proposed 2 percent excise tax shows it will cost Michigan 19,000 jobs in its first 16 months, fall short of revenue projections and increase the tax burden on families, workers and businesses by $1.1 billion. Length: 586 words.
Publication: Mar. 8, 2007 Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy

Stop Punishing Michigan Investors
Summary: Getting rid of the Single Business Tax is not a question of replacing revenue; it’s a question of whether we want to make Michigan more business friendly. Length: 1,364 words.
Publication: Jan. 1, 2007, Mackinac Center Viewpoint
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Michigan Cannot Afford a Sales Tax on Services
Summary: Michigan families are already paying enough taxes while balancing limited resources for discretionary spending. A sales tax on services would only exacerbate Michigan’s struggling economy. Length: 1,025 words.
Publication: Feb. 23, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center president

Doom for Whom?
Summary: Whenever government budget cuts are suggested, politicians usually respond with dire predictions of misery and mayhem. In reality, there are ways to spend smarter and get more for less. It is high time elected officials streamline government, instead of asking families to sacrifice more. Length: 683 words.
Publication: Feb. 5, 2007, Mackinac Center Viewpoint
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Adam Smith’s Principles of a Proper Tax System
Summary: Adam Smith outlined in "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" a number of principles that should guide any system of taxation. Here is a brief description of several of these, placed in the context of our 21st century American system. Length: 1,839 words.
Publication: Apr. 21, 2004, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Place a Bet on Lottery Privatization
Summary: This article was one of the first to suggest that Michigan’s budget could benefit from privatizing the state lottery. Length: 828 words.
Publication: Feb. 11, 2003, Michigan Privatization Report
Author: Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy

Government Growth
Summary: State employees' pay and benefits outpace those in the private sector. Length: 1,745 words.
Publication: Feb. 6, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Authors: Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy and Brian Balfour, policy analyst for the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Legislators Should Do No More Harm to Michigan
Summary: Legislators can help solve Michigan’s budget crisis by adopting a series of specific policies that do less, not more. Length: 810 words.
Publication: Jan. 16, 2007, Detroit News Op-Ed
Author: Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center president

New Year’s Resolutions for the Michigan Legislature
Summary: Michigan’s 94th Legislature should remember some basic policy truths as it sets to work. Length: 1,469 words.
Publication: Jan. 8, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center president

Michigan: A Taxing Place To Do Business
Summary: Michigan public policies punish job creation both directly and indirectly, while wasting taxpayers’ resources on tax abatement gimmicks and artificially inflated public school expenditures. Length: 1,242 words.
Publication: Sept. 29, 2006, Mackinac Center Current Comment


Author: Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center president

Business Taxes: A Pernicious Sham
Summary: Investors and entrepreneurs, not customers, actually pay for higher business taxes. The result is less investment in a state that desperately needs jobs. Length: 1,322 words.
Publication: Dec. 4, 2006, Mackinac Center Current Comment


Author: Jack McHugh, Mackinac Center legislative analyst

Using Taxes To Lobby for Taxes
Summary: Cities and others are spending your tax dollars to lobby for even more taxes. Length: 573 words.
Publication: Feb. 2, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Diane Katz, Mackinac Center director of science, environment and technology.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s 2007 State of the State Address
Summary: A breakdown of the 20 new spending initiatives and expansions of state government, as well as two limitations, proposed by Gov. Granholm in her 2007 State of the State speech. Length: 888 words.
Publication: Feb. 5, 2007, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy

From Worst to First: The Best Business Tax Is None
Summary: Michigan can succeed if state legislators do not replace the Single Business Tax and cut spending instead. Length: 1,451 words.
Publication: Dec. 11, 2006, Mackinac Center Current Comment
Author: Ken Braun, Mackinac Center policy analyst

 

Audio Commentary

Radio Interview With Jack McHugh
Summary: On Nov. 1, 2007, Mackinac Center Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh was interviewed on “The Lucy Ann Lance Show” on Ann Arbor's WAAM. McHugh observed that the state budget crisis that lawmakers cited in justifying nearly $1.4 billion in state tax hikes is not evident in the business-as-usual state budget passed at the end of October. The interview is 11 minutes, 59 seconds.

Radio Interview With Michael LaFaive
Summary: On Sept. 18, 2007, Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, discussed the state Legislature's budget negotiations on “The Greg Marshall Show” on WMKT in Traverse City. The interview is 24 minutes, 45 seconds.

Radio Interview With Ken Braun
Summary: On Aug. 2, 2007, Ken Braun, policy analyst for the Mackinac Center, was a guest on "The Greg Marshall Show" on Traverse City's WMKT. Braun recommended embracing Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposal to change sentencing guidelines for nonviolent criminals, a policy projected to cut spending by $92 million, and privatization of some state prison services, an approach that could save an additional $192 million. The interview is 19 minutes, 35 seconds.

Stealing From the Future
Summary: On May 29, 2007, Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, spoke on “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR 760 AM in Detroit about state legislators' attempts to postpone difficult budget decisions and the likelihood of a push to increase state taxes, rather than cut wasteful state spending. The interview is 10 minutes, 49 seconds.

Unemployment Tax
Summary: On March 12, 2007, Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, was interviewed on "The Frank Beckmann Show" on Detroit’s WJR 760 AM regarding Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s proposal to levy a 2 percent tax on services. Projections suggest the plan would eliminate 19,000 jobs and fall $221 million short of revenue estimates. The interview is 15 minutes, 3 seconds.

Need a Penny? Take Many
Summary: On March 19, 2007, David Rhoa, president of Lake Michigan Mailers in Kalamazoo, discussed at an Issues & Ideas forum the impact a 2 percent excise tax would have on his family-owned company, which would pay four times as much under the tax as it pays under the current single business tax. The clip is 20 minutes, 16 seconds.

Radio Interview with Michael LaFaive
Summary: On Feb. 8, 2007, Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, discussed on "The Greg Marshall Show" on Traverse City's WMKT the proposals in Gov. Jennifer Granholm's State of the State address to expand state government. The interview is 29 minutes, 7 seconds.

Radio Interview with Ken Braun
Summary: On Jan. 18, 2007, Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Ken Braun discussed state government's overspending crisis on "The Greg Marshall Show" on Traverse City's WMKT. The interview is 27 minutes, 58 seconds.

Eight Ways to Save
Summary: On Feb. 6, 2007, Mackinac Center Senior Economist David L. Littmann discussed Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s forthcoming State of the State address on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on Detroit’s WJR 760 AM. Littmann suggested eight ways the state could trim its budget and avoid raising taxes. The interview is 7 minutes, 30 seconds.