[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.

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

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

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

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

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

What Transparency Should Look Like at the MEDC (but Doesn't)

The award of a $9.1 million tax credit to a convicted embezzler has raised serious concerns about the lack of transparency at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The concerns could be alleviated by two transparency/due diligence reforms that would protect the state (and taxpayers) from fraud. However, the real issue is not whether the occasional criminal wins an "incentive" deal, but the lack of transparency that characterizes this entire operation. This is the measure by which the responses of politicians and economic development bureaucrats to this embarrassment should assessed. … more

MEGA Jobs Announcements Symbolic Drop in the Bucket

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority yesterday approved its latest batch of tax credits to lure large business projects to Michigan.
Despite the press release, these big business projects are just not that consequential to Michigan's total economy.  … more

Supposed Benefits of Pension Obligation Bonds Sink With Market

Michigan legislators who might consider borrowing billions to prop up government employee pension and post-retirement health care benefits should first look at recent developments in California. That state's massive state pension system, CalPERS, may lower its expectations for investment returns. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is considering a drop in its return expectations from 7.75 percent to as low as 5 or 6 percent. … more