[Photo of Jack McHugh]

Jack McHugh

Senior Legislative Analyst

Jack McHugh is the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s senior legislative analyst and editor of MichiganVotes.org, a unique Web site that puts the activities of the Michigan Legislature at citizens’ fingertips. Since the site was launched in 2001, McHugh has written or edited concise, plain-English descriptions of every bill, vote and amendment in the state House and Senate: 12,000 bills; 10,000 roll call votes; 8,000 amendments; and 2,400 new laws. These can all be searched and sorted on the MichiganVotes.org Web site.

McHugh’s experience prior to joining the Center is wide and varied. He has been a floor trader in the treasury bond and gold futures “pits” of the Chicago commodity exchanges, writer and real estate developer. He entered the Michigan political and public policy scene in 1994, spending six years as a legislative chief of staff in the House of Representatives.

McHugh has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in political science from Central Michigan University (where he completed two highly relevant research projects, “Analyzing Michigan House Voting Records Using the ‘MichiganVotes.org’ Database” and “Analysis of Appropriations to Michigan’s Public Four-Year Universities, with Recommendations”).

Jack McHugh’s essays on public policy issues have appeared in The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The Grand Rapids Press and many other newspapers. He is also co-author of a book on Midwest mountain bike trails.

Analysis: Good News on Natural Gas Threatened by Regulatory Overreach

88 Percent of New 2011 Legislators 'Political Careerists'

MEA Republicans

Governor Describes Film Subsidies as Jobs Program, so "Why Not Give Them Spoons?"

The headline of a story today's Detroit Free Press characterizes Gov. Jennifer Granholm's understanding of the state film production subsidies' role like this: "Goal of film tax credit is jobs, not more revenue." This reminds one of the late economist Milton Friedman's question upon seeing a U.S. taxpayer-funded public works project in a poor country where thousands of men with shovels were moving dirt one spadeful at a time. … more

Analysis: Horse Racetracks Are Beneficiaries and Victims of State's Gambling Schizophrenia

Bad Week for Michigan Corporate Welfare Machine

On Thursday the plug was officially pulled on a monumentally hyped film endeavor in Allen Park called "Unity Studios." There were no press releases from the Governor's office or the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announcing the evaporation of the mirage. … more

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

Sept. 26 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

Would Tea Partiers Favor Wealth Redistribution Without the Bureaucracy?

Cost to Replace Lost Jobs with Michigan Film Subsidies: $39.4 Billion

Sept. 20 Michigan Legislature Roll Call Report

Will the Tea Party Fade if Republicans Win It All?

Analysis: Phony 'Sandbox Party' Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Lobby for More Goverment Spending

Brian Calley - Who Is This Guy?

Analysis: This Time It’s Liquor Distribution

Analysis: Michigan Legislature No Slouch at Fiscal Malpractice

Analysis: Plagiarism, Flawed MSU Studies, and the People vs. the Ruling Class

Alleged plagiarism in a study by an MSU scholar matters more than just as a violation of academic standards. The deeply flawed study wildly exaggerates the amount that could be saved by consolidating Michigan school districts, which will divert attention from the real solution to funding problems in Michigan public schools — scaling back outsized employee compensation and benefits. This is the second time in the last year that a flawed study was produced by an MSU professor that serves the interests of government employees and their unions. … more

'Bail Out Irresponsible Unions Act' Proposal Getting 11th Hour Push in Congress

Bernero or Snyder: Which Way Could the Public Policy Winds Blow?

Analysis: Michigan Primaries a Tea Party Failure?

Angelo M. Codevilla — Our Era's Tom Paine?

Here's how important I think Angelo M. Codevilla's American Spectator article is: It makes me think of Thomas Paine's Common Sense.
Excerpt: "Our ruling class's agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof." … more

Cost to Revive Economy With Battery Plant Subsidies: $5 Trillion

Yesterday, President Barack Obama and Gov. Jennifer Granholm came to Holland bearing gifts: cash subsidies for an electric car battery plant owned by the Korean firm LG Chem. The federal contribution is $151 million in "stimulus" money, and Michigan taxpayers are kicking in another $100 million. This means that each of the plant's approximately 400 jobs will cost taxpayers $625,000. At this rate, it would cost $5 trillion to provide employment to the approximately 8 million Americans who lost have their jobs in the current downturn. … more

Michigan Taxpayers Writing Check to Second Electric Car Battery Maker for $100 Million

Analysis: Michigan Taxpayers to Write $100 Million Check to Korean Battery Maker

Analysis: Gutted School Pension 'Reform' Could Come Back to Bite Schools

Analysis: 'Jungle Primary' Proposal Won’t Get Michigan Out of the Woods

Efforts to break the political stranglehold by rearranging the institutional furniture at best consumes energy better spent striking at the real root of our problems. … more

15 Specific Ideas to Move Michigan Forward

Analysis: Senate GOP Fumbles, May Approve $25.9 Billion Taxpayer Liability to Satisfy MEA

Michigan’s Best State Laws

MEA Wounds Governor’s School Pension Reform

Analysis: What's Next for Michigan Tea Parties?

Tax Day Tea Party rallies were held across the state and nation last week, with mixed results in turnout. Regardless of the exact attendance, the movement represents a potent new force on the American political landscape. Its leaders and members are currently focused on changing the composition of Congress in November, but their real challenge will be finding ways after the election to pressure the political class — especially Republicans — to stick to the fiscal restraint promises made in the heat of the campaign. … more

Analysis — 'Up North' Grass Roots v. MI GOP Establishment: Echoes of 1992 in Stupak Seat Race

In 1992, incumbent Republican Congressman Bob Davis chose not to run for re-election in the Michigan 1st District because he was one of the top five politicians implicated in the House “check kiting“ scandal. Davis had represented the district covering the northern Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula since 1978. Poor decisions made then by a state Republican establishment alienated many grass roots “true believers” in the district, opening the door for a former one-term Democrat state Representative, who won and went on to an 18-year Congressional career.
Fast forward to 2010: The 1st District seat has once again become open due to a misstep by the incumbent, that once little-known Democrat who won the seat in 1992. His name, of course, is Bart Stupak, and the misstep was his vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s health care bill. And once again, members of the Republican establishment are making moves that could diminish grass roots support for the party’s eventual candidate in the November general election, potentially leading to the ascension of yet another Democrat “dynasty” in the 1st District. … more

Analysis: Government Employee Political Clout Obstructs Budget Reform

The Legislature returns today after a two-week break to take up perhaps the greatest challenge facing state government since 1983: an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall. Making this all the more difficult is the apparent inability of lawmakers to adopt what most struggling private-sector workers and small-business owners view as modest reductions in state employee pay and benefits. That failure was highlighted in three separate events just before the break. … more

The Plain Language of the Law: Senate Fails to Reject Government Pay Hike

Excerpts from Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35, which would have rejected a 3 percent state government employee pay hike for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2010:
(Roll Call Vote Details here.) … more

"Larry the Liquidator" on Senate Bill 1174

GOP Senators, SEIU Taxpayer Giveaways, Campaign Cash and More, OH MY!

On Aug. 5, 2009, Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, introduced Senate Bill 731, which would give statutory cover to a scheme transferring approximately $6.6 million in taxpayer money annually to the SEIU government employee union, one of the parents of ACORN. Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government has reported on Facebook that Allen was the recipient of a $2,000 campaign contribution from the SEIU on June 22, six weeks before SB 731 was introduced. In another post she hints that the bill was related to SEIU support of former state representative Mike Nofs in a November 2009 special election. The SEIU endorsed Nofs on August 22nd, two weeks after SB 731 was introduced, and sent four full-time workers to help on his campaign. … more

It’s From the Children

A review and analysis of important state legislative policy issues that do not always receive attention from the general media. Michigan Capitol Confidential will make it easier to keep tabs on your elected representatives in Lansing. … more

Dillon Insurance Plan Could Generate Monumental Reform

Union's Torpedoes Target "No New Taxes" Budget

The root of Michigan's ongoing budget debacle is government employee unions. … more

On Balance, School Health Insurance Proposal an Improvement

The Life of the Party

How to Save $2.2 Billion

Tea Party Toolbox

How to Save $2.2 Billion

Tool #2: Ten-Minute Tea Party Activist

Sneak Attack

Don’t “Fix” Budget With Graduated State Income Tax

Michigan’s Many Tax Ranks

School Pension Boost Proposal Exposes Political System’s Dysfunctions

Us v. Them

Collecting the Rent

How to Control College Costs

Collecting the "Rent"

School Employees Union Shows School Boards the Whip

Creative Charlatanry 2.0

Changing Direction. Are We There Yet?

Michigan’s political establishment has a proven ability to postpone the hard work of truly reforming and downsizing state government. … more

The Worst Legislature in Michigan History

These failed policies will see Michigan taxpayers actually writing huge checks to politically “sexy” enterprises favored by political elites. … more

Free Trade a Boon to Michigan’s Ailing Economy

The competitors who are eating Michigan’s lunch aren’t Mexico or Canada, but other states where investors and entrepreneurs enjoy lower tax rates, better labor climates and fewer excessive and unreasonable regulations. … more

Putting the University’s Cart Before the Economy’s Horse

Clearly, if one is looking for the cause of economic growth or decline, the relative number of bachelor’s degrees in a state is a weak indicator at best.. … more

State Budget Is Business as Usual

The just-concluded budget saga demonstrates that the real priority is to preserve the government status quo, quite literally at all costs. … more

Looking Ahead

Budget Savings Can Replace Recent Tax Hikes

In the short term the need is for immediate savings to allow repeal of the destructive $1.3 billion tax increase adopted as the capstone to this year’s state budget debacle. … more

Where’s the Crisis?

Tax Hike Chronicle - Final Entry

Used-Car Dealer Regulations Kill Small Businesses

This law authorized a regulatory taking of the livelihoods of hundreds of small business owners who can no longer use their property in the way they had done previously. … more

How To Avoid Raising Taxes