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.
By James M. Hohman
Rep. Smith and others seeking tax hikes (on both sides of the aisle) often claim that because of changes in the state's economy Michigan's tax system extracts fewer dollars per unit of economic activity than it did in an earlier era.
They are mistaken. Indeed, in its ability to suck revenue from a given level of (declining) economic activity, Michigan's tax system has outperformed 31 other states over the past year, despite being affixed to the nation's worst economy. This fact contradicts the claims of would-be tax raisers that our system is "broken" and needs to be "modernized." … more
Here's a look at recent monthly job gains and losses: … more
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan's movie and sound industries employ 5,222 workers as of March 2009, the most recent month available from the quarterly census of employment and wages. This industry declined by 31.2 percent from a peak in 2002 of 7,586. And even at its peak, this industry accounted for only .2 percent of the state's total employment. … more
Cross-cutting and underlying principles are the foundation of our recommendations
— Look to optimize across all levels and units of government
— Address underlying structural issues
— Be holistic in the approach (look at all aspects of the budget and government operations)
— Create a roadmap to fiscal stability
— Be of sufficient magnitude to make a difference
All clear now? Good — let's get on with it.
Seriously, these are the kind of vague generalities and bureaucratic gobbledygook where you can almost rearrange words in any particular order and they're no less meaningless.
In contrast, here's an example of what serious, concrete, specific recommendations for transformational reform really look like. … more