[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.

Service Tax: $1.3 Billion Tax Hike on Thousands of Services

The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency has performed an initial review of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's executive budget recommendation, which reveals that the proposed service tax would actually raise taxes by $1.3 billion — much more than the $900 million originally reported. … more

Michigan: A National Leader in Tax Hikes

Gov. Jennifer Granholm argues (with some remorse) that during her seven-year tenure, Michigan has cut more from its budget than any other state. The claim is dubious, but another milestone about which she does not boast is verifiable: Since Gov. Granholm's first inauguration in January 2003, Michigan has led the nation in tax increases.
States rely on four major taxes to finance their general operations: income, sales, business and tobacco taxes. Gov. Granholm has signed into law increases in three of these: tobacco taxes in 2004 and business and income taxes in 2007. Only two other states, Maryland and New York, have increased all three of these taxes since 2002. … more

Gubernatorial Fact Check

In presenting her executive budget, Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated, "I have cut more state spending than any governor in Michigan history, having resolved more than $10 billion in deficits since 2003." It's unnecessary to state that one of those budgets was "resolved" with a $1.4 billion tax hike — not exactly cutting more than anyone — but even the $10 billion is an overstatement. … more

Which Would You Choose: Growth or Economic Decline?

No, we wouldn't want to be like Mississippi. Flint wouldn't want to be like Dallas. Those places have like, economic growth and stuff. … more

Michigan’s Brains Remain Constant

The exodus of young and educated young people from Michigan is one of those “clear, simple and wrong” explanations often cited as a factor in Michigan’s poor economic performance. The reality is that young people are already highly mobile even in a good economy, and that even in Michigan’s ongoing bad times, we're actually doing pretty well in attracting college graduates to the state. … more

Governor’s Tax Hike Proposals Increase Already Juiced System

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm introduced a series of tax hikes today to raise more revenue to cover its overspending. But adding a tax hike would increase the revenue to a system that's already giving Lansing more revenue than typical among states. … more

Governor Wrong About Headlee Limits

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm presented her executive budget today. In it, she argues that Michigan needs to raise taxes in the over the next few years because its revenues are far below its constitutional revenue limit. She states, "The gap has grown as a result of the economic downturn and is anticipated to widen further as currently enacted tax changes take effect in the next several years." … more

Don’t Blame Mexico for Michigan’s Problems

In her State of the State address last week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm listed the reasons why she believes the state's economy has fallen. "We all know the reasons — trade policies that dismantled factories here and built them in Mexico, the auto industry in meltdown, the banking crisis, the mortgage crisis, and on top of all that, a severe national recession." While the latter reasons may have played their part, company and job relocation to Mexico has been the least of Michigan's problems. Furthermore, trade with Mexico has actually been a bright spot for the state. … more

Michigan Unemployment: Topping the Charts for 46 Months

Michigan's unemployment rate of 14.6 percent was the highest in the country, according to today's release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next closest state was Nevada, which increased to 13.0 percent. … more

Get the Data on Michigan Support Service Contracting

Part of the new Michigan Senate Republicans' spending reform proposal would mandate public school districts to seek competitive bids for food, custodial and transportation services. The Mackinac Center surveys each district annually to see whether they contract out for these services. You can view the 2009 survey results here… more