[Photo of James M. Hohman]

James M. Hohman

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.

Broken Windows on Display in Michigan Senate Finance Committee

Mark Adler, a lobbyist for the Michigan Production Alliance, and Carrie Jones, the director of the Michigan Film Office, defended the state's film subsidy program in a Senate Finance Committee meeting today. To do so they employed a long-recognized economic fallacy, the "Broken Window" theory, which only considers economic activity that is "seen" while ignoring unseen economic costs. … more

Michigan Schools Contract Out More Than Ever

State Budget Deal Kicks Can Down the Road to New Guys

The fiscal 2011 budget appears done. It contains no systemic reforms or program reductions. Meanwhile, with the end of federal stimulus subsidies, revenue projections for the following fiscal year fall off a cliff. … more

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

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

A government entity that received $14.6 million of taxpayer money in the current state budget organized a publicity stunt to lobby for more government spending, called the "First Ever Sandbox Party Convention" in East Lansing. … more

July Was a Good Month for Michigan

Last week's state-by-state employment release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Michigan led the nation in job growth from June to July. The state gained an estimated 27,800 jobs in the month. … more

The Secret of Economic Growth in Michigan

In a recent radio interview with Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative Director Michael LaFaive, radio host Tony Conley stated that we should be looking at what Texas and North Carolina are doing to foster economic development. Any benchmarking attempt should first start with the right states, but North Carolina isn't one of them. … more

Public Sector Still Doing All Right

Special interest groups whose members' compensation comes from tax dollars are afraid that Michigan's economic crisis will impact their paychecks. They're right to be concerned since there is less private money left to pay generous public-sector salaries and benefits. … more

New Report Misses the Mark on Higher Education

A new report by the Michigan League for Human Services bemoans the lack of tax money going to higher education. But the authors give a skewed view of appropriations, get some facts wrong, and completely miss the 800-pound gorilla of higher education: that increasing costs drive tuition increases. … more

Oakland County Gives Local Governments Something to Shoot For

Analysis: Dangers of Status Quo Budgeting in Higher Education

Michigan Education Association May Help Fund Oklahoma Revenue Grab

Oklahoma's state affiliate of the National Education Association only has 23,451 members, but has nevertheless launched a revenue-grabbing initiative, SQ 744, that will be on the ballot in November. … more

Bill Reveals New Politically Correct Economic Development

A newly introduced bill in Michigan gives new meaning to the phrase "politically correct economic development." … more

Michigan Exports to China Grow

The Chinese market for Michigan goods continues to grow. So it's strange that politicians here continue to point fingers at Chinese trade for Michigan's economic decay. … more

Michigan Exports to China Grow

The Chinese market for Michigan goods continues to grow. So it's strange that politicians here continue to point fingers at Chinese trade for Michigan's economic decay. … more

Michigan Public Payrolls Protected in Recent Recession

Since the beginning of the national recession in December 2007, Michigan's private sector has lost 70 times more jobs than its government sector. … more

Michigan Public Employee Pay and Benefits Growing

Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117m — and No Film Job Growth

Michigan Public Payrolls Protected in Recent Recession

Since the beginning of the national recession in December 2007, Michigan's private sector has lost 70 times more jobs than its government sector. … more

Governor Surrenders on Service Tax

Michigan taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief: The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has abandoned hope that her service tax will become law. At a news conference on an unrelated issue, the Governor stated that she did not expect the Legislature to enact her plan. … more

Analysis: Michigan Beats Most States in Tax Revenue Growth

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released state and local government quarterly tax information that shows Michigan's tax revenue continues to outperform the rest of the state economy. Policymakers should keep these figures in mind as Lansing cries poverty over this year's budget. … more

Census Bureau: Michigan Beats Most States in Tax Revenue Growth

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released state and local government quarterly tax information that shows Michigan's tax revenue continues to outperform the rest of the state economy. Policymakers should keep these figures in mind as Lansing cries poverty over this year's budget. … more

Reality Check: Governor’s Budget 'Poor Mouthing'

Gov. Jennifer Granholm cried poverty yesterday, claiming that her administration already cut 11,000 state employees and that the state cannot make further cuts without lowering "critical services that struggling families count on to survive in this tough economy." However, thanks to higher compensation levels, taxpayers are paying more overall even with fewer workers on the job. … more

Reality Check: Governor’s Budget 'Poor Mouthing'

Gov. Jennifer Granholm cried poverty yesterday, claiming that her administration already cut 11,000 state employees and that the state cannot make further cuts without lowering "critical services that struggling families count on to survive in this tough economy." However, thanks to higher compensation levels, taxpayers are paying more overall even with fewer workers on the job. … more

MEA Complains About More Money To Spend On Education?

The Michigan Education Association protested in Lansing yesterday to demand more taxpayer money to go to the public school system and to protest recent public school pension reforms. But the pension reforms will allow districts to have more resources to devote to improving education. … more

Michigan Unemployment Rate Down to 13.6 Percent

New data was released yesterday from Michigan's Office of Labor Market Information that indicates Michigan's economy may be recovering. … more

Michigan Unemployment Rate Down to 13.6 Percent

New data was released yesterday from Michigan's Office of Labor Market Information that indicates Michigan's economy may be recovering. … more

Service Tax Is Bad Policy

The service tax is bad policy for Michigan. Legislators should resist the temptation to pass this tax hike as the budget deadline approaches. … more

Michigan Taxpayers Have Already Made Compromises

Fact-Checking and Adding Context to the Governor’s Economic Diversity Speech

In a speech on diversifying the state economy at the Mackinac Policy Conference today, Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated that diversification efforts through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. have brought 919 "companies or expansions" to Michigan. She also stated that health care is the state's largest industry. One claim is without context and the other is incorrect. … more

States With More College Grads Don't Have Better Economies

Evidence suggests that a single-minded focus on increasing the proportion of a state's population with college degrees is a dead end for improving the state's economy. … more

'Out of Balance' and Bad at Math

A new paper from the National Institute on Retirement Security uses convoluted calculations to argue that public-sector employees receive wages that are 11 percent to 12 percent below private-sector averages. When calculated in a straightforward way, however, the alleged wage disparity disappears. … more

Michigan Tax Burden Grows Despite Claims to the Contrary

Per capita figures make Michigan seem worse off by comparison to other states since population is less responsive to economic changes than are tax revenues. Still, Michigan's per capita tax burden increased over the past decade. … more

Michigan Service Tax Defended by Phantom Facts

State Employee Pay Grows 25 Percent Above Inflation Since 1999

State Employee Pay Grows 25 Percent Above Inflation Since 1999

The average state employee compensation package costs approximately $93,039. Inflation-adjusted wages and benefits have increased 25 percent since fiscal 1999. The figures include the value of all benefits from state-paid retirement contributions to dry cleaning allowances. … more

Analysis of Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117m - and No Film Job Growth

It has been two years since Michigan's film subsidy program became law, which is sufficient for it to have gotten off the ground and had some measureable impact on the state's economy. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 months after its launch there were 9.8 percent fewer people employed by the film industry in Michigan than when the subsidy program began. … more

Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117 Million and No Film Job Growth

It has been two years since Michigan's film subsidy program became law, which is sufficient for it to have gotten off the ground and had some measureable impact on the state's economy. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 months after its launch there were 9.8 percent fewer people employed by the film industry in Michigan than when the subsidy program began. … more

Facts for Tax Day in Michigan

Today is April 15, the last day to file your 2009 tax return. Protests are happening around the state alleging rampant growth of government, overtaxation and overregulation.
Here are some facts about taxes in Michigan. … more

Facts for Tax Day in Michigan

Today is April 15, the last day to file your 2009 tax return. Protests are happening around the state alleging rampant growth of government, overtaxation and overregulation.
Here are some facts about taxes in Michigan. … more

Taxpayers Never Get Early Retirement

Michigan Public Employees Compensation Growing Despite Concessions Claims

Spokespersons for Michigan government employee unions contend that they have given up hundreds of millions of dollars in wages and benefit concessions over the past few years. The claims are in dispute, and data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis offers some support for those challenging them. It shows that since 2000, government employee compensation in Michigan has increased 11.4 percent, while private sector employees are getting 5.1 percent less. … more

Michigan Public Employees Compensation Growing Despite Concessions Claims

Spokespersons for Michigan government employee unions contend that they have given up hundreds of millions of dollars in wages and benefit concessions over the past few years. The claims are in dispute, and data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis offers some support for those challenging them. It shows that since 2000, government employee compensation in Michigan has increased 11.4 percent, while private sector employees are getting 5.1 percent less. … more

Michigan Employment and Personal Incomes Better, But…

Two releases from government statistical agencies this week show that the state's economy is still pretty bad, but that its long fall may have finally bottomed out. The state unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, down from its peak. Michigan's per capita personal income was down again, but Michigan was not the worst in the country. … more

Michigan Employment and Personal Incomes Better, But…

Two releases from government statistical agencies this week show that the state's economy is still pretty bad, but that its long fall may have finally bottomed out. The state unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, down from its peak. Michigan's per capita personal income was down again, but Michigan was not the worst in the country. … more

Census Data: State Economy Suffering More Than State Budget

New Census Data: Michigan Economy Suffering More Than State Budget

New Census Bureau data published today confirm a trend shown in previous releases: While the amount of tax revenue flowing into the Michigan treasury has fallen, the state's tax trends look brighter than the state's economy. … more