[Photo of Michael D. LaFaive]

Michael D. LaFaive

Director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

Michael LaFaive is director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where he has worked since 1995.

He is the author or co-author of hundreds of essays, commentaries and blog posts and 12 studies on fiscal policy topics as varied as local and state privatization efforts, corporate welfare, school finance, state budgeting and cigarette taxes.

Among his studies is the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s largest, a nearly 200-page state budget analysis that recommended more than 200 ideas for trimming some $2 billion from the state budget without cutting Medicaid or School Aid funding. Many ideas first presented by LaFaive in 2003 have been adopted or adapted by lawmakers in Lansing.

He is also the originator of the Center’s annual school privatization survey, which routinely garners a 100 percent response rates from districts. There is no database of competitive contracting like it in the United States. In addition to this product, LaFaive authored in 2001 a 26-page, full-color edition of Michigan Privatization Report specifically dedicated to fixing Detroit. The ideas in that publication are more relevant today than when it was published.

LaFaive is perhaps best known, however, for his cutting-edge, scholarly work examining state “economic development” programs. His studies and frequent commentaries on this topic have garnered him a national, if not international reputation as a respected government development critic and were probably influential in the decision to kill the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the state’s high-profile corporate welfare program. 

LaFaive has been interviewed more than 1,300 times by the media in the last ten years. He is typically interviewed more than 125 times a year by members of the press seeking comment on fiscal issues and remains a popular public speaker.

He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Central Michigan University.

LaFaive is married and resides in Midland, MI.

New Survey Says Texas Schools Behind Contracting Curve

Only 22.8 percent of conventional public school districts contract out … more

California Tax Bills Asking for Trouble

Lawmakers raising cigarette excise taxes are well-intentioned but misguided … more

Survey: Pennsylvania is School Contracting Leader

Of Five States Surveyed, Keystone State Ranks Highest … more

Mackinac Center Survey Finds One-Third of Ga. School Districts Contract Out Services

Contracted custodial services are most popular … more

Aramark Contract: It Takes Two

One bad outcome is not a reason to abandon privatization … more

Senate Heart in Right Place, Execution Worrisome

Examining the future of road funding and income tax cuts … more

Reason Quotes LaFaive on Sin Taxes

Examining the unintended effects of cigarette taxes … more

LaFaive Interview on Economic Freedom

Hosted by Think Tech Hawaii and the Grassroots Institute … more

Cut Corporate Welfare, Shift Money to Road Repair for Economic Growth

Michigan House Wise to Shift Corporate Welfare Spending to Roads

Programs shown to be ineffective and wasteful … more

Smuggling Study Continues

Note to Michigan's Tourism Lobbyist: GEICO Pays For Its Own Advertising and You Should Too

Michigan taxpayers are paying for something private businesses normally pay for themselves … more

State Tourism Spending Ineffective

For every $1 spent, hotel industry gets one penny … more

The More Information Voters Have the Less They Support Film Subsidies

Majority of respondents want film money to go to roads … more

Prevailing Wage Repeal is Sound Policy

However, not all reforms are cuts … more

Michael LaFaive and Todd Nesbit: R.I. set to lose tobacco revenue

Increasing cigarette tax would be counterproductive … more

Snug as an Official Bug in a Rug

Politicians can find themselves deciding things of low value … more

Guest Post: Kansas Excise Tax Hike Proposal a Bad Choice

The unintended consequences of higher taxes … more

Mackinac Gets FOIA Fees Lowered in Liquor Commission Lawsuit

Open Letter to Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio

National Public Radio wrong about Mackinac Center study … more

Cigarette Tax Hikes Cause Unintended Consequences

Michigan Plummets in Economic Outlook Rankings Among States

Cigarette Smuggling Still Rampant, Problematic

Automatic Tax Increases are Not Good Policy

Letter: Continued cigarette tax policy will increase smuggling from other states … more

Smuggling Rampant in Minnesota

The unintended costs of cigarette 'sin' taxes … more

Letter to the Detroit Free Press on Film Subsidies

Corporate welfare programs rarely produce net new jobs … more

Excise Tax Hike on Cigarettes Irrational Choice for Washington

Fewer legal sales doesn't necessarily mean lower smoking rates … more

LaFaive's Minnesota Senate Tax Committee Testimony

Fiscal policy expert shows analysis of cigarette taxes and smuggling … more

Women Legislators Hear of Cigarette Smuggling Impact

Got Budget Savings?

A History of Corporate Welfare Failure: Mackinac Center Testimony in the Michigan House

"The truth is these are mostly political development programs, not economic development programs." … more

Economic Freedom in Michigan and Beyond

Time to Uncork Beer and Wine Reforms?

Office of Regulatory Reinvention seeks input. … more

State Liquor Commission Should End Rules that Hike Prices

Granholm Too Cool For Her Own Cool Initiative?

State Out Nearly $300M from Cigarette Smuggling

Yet another unintended consequence of high excise taxes. … more

Open Letter to the Liquor Control Commission

Abandon rules allowing industry price collusion. … more

Another Tobacco Store Burglary Today

Unintended consequence of high cigarette taxes. … more

Dear Taxpayer: Does This 'Bug' You?

Politicians often focus on less important matters … more

Happy New Year! It’s Time for Tax Cuts

In or Out? How is Michigan Doing Among Other States?

New United Van Lines National Movers Study released. … more

Happy New Year!

The perfect time for tax cuts. … more

Department Reorganization is New Wine in Old Skin

Corporate welfare doesn’t work, reorganizing won't fix it … more

The State Budget and Civil Society

Economic Freedom Gains in Michigan

But the risk of backsliding remains. … more

Senior Olympics Subsidy Getting Old

The 12 Fiscal Policy Days of Christmas

Prohibition Repealed 81 Years Ago Today

Similarities exist in cigarette market due to high taxes. … more

House Road Plan Is Solid

A way to fix roads without raising gas taxes. … more

Morris Hood Jr. Educator Development Program

Time for the Legislature to end it. … more

Sound Road Funding

Michigan House headed in right direction. … more

Hey, Tim Skubick!

Where is that 'tax cut fever' you promised? … more

Budget Cutting Ideas Abound

State Budget Follies

Senior Olympics subsidies getting old. … more

$2.1 Billion in Michigan Budget Reforms

Now Lansing Politicians Want a Poet Laureate!

What rhymes with "that's not your job"? … more

Budget Reform Ideas for 2015 and Beyond

State Legislators Take Care of Themselves

Even from the grave. … more

Bureaucracy in Iambic Pentameter?

Bill introduced for "official" state poem. … more

State Budget Has Low-Hanging Fruit, Too

A Uniquely Overqualified Candidate

LaFaive's satirical cover letter for MEDC job. … more

Right-to-Work, Tax Rates Paint Interesting Picture

States with worker freedom, low taxes draw people. … more

'Competitiveness' Outlook Ranks Michigan 12th Best

State has a way to go to overcome past policies. … more

State Budget Savings Idea: Eliminate Revenue Sharing

Remembering Milton Friedman on His 102nd Birthday

An intellectual powerhouse and Nobel laureate. … more

The Machinations Behind Michigan’s Minimum Wage Hike

Happy Birthday, America

Repeal Post and Hold Alcohol Rules

Beer and wine wholesalers gain, consumers lose. … more

Low-Hanging Fruit Can Help Fund Roads

There's plenty of money in the current budget. … more

Detroit’s Dilemma Tests Lansing’s Leadership

Thank Heaven We Have a Full-Time Legislature

Vitally important job of picking official state frog. … more

Legislature Lacks Credibility in Detroit Bailout

Now they want you to fix their mess. … more

Gov's Immigration Reform Isn't Bold Enough

Shouldn't be limited to Detroit and STEM degrees. … more

Gov. Snyder Is Right

'Don't Give Detroit a Bailout.' … more

Detroit Bailout Solved: Sell Just ONE Painting

Use state money to fill potholes statewide. … more

Detroit 'Openly and Notoriously' Went Bankrupt

Its reward? Maybe a state bailout … more

Privatizing Detroit Department of Transportation Would Save City Millions

Cigarette Smuggling Still Rampant in Michigan, Nation

Cigarette Smuggling Undermines Tax Revenue

Michigan lost $350 million in 2012. … more

Detroit Should Sell Some Paintings and More

It's the only fair solution to all Michigan residents. … more

Art Sales and Angry Journalism

Detroit Free Press editor's remarks uncalled for. … more

More Good News for Michigan

State climbs to 12th place in economic outlook rankings. … more

Detroit Should Sell Some Paintings

Unfair to make the many subsidize amenities for the few. … more

Detroit Bailout Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Trim Corporate Welfare to $0

A Better Way to Protect Detroit Pensioners

Make it a "contract city" … more

Happy Anniversary Proposal A