[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.

State Budget Issues Big and Small

Right-to-Work and the Mackinac Center

The Overton Window is shifting in Michigan on right-to-work. … more

Shouldn’t Enhancing Your Neighborhood Be Up to You?

Proposal 5 of 2012: An Assessment of the Supermajority Tax Vote Requirement

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published “Proposal 5 of 2012: An Assessment of the Supermajority Tax Vote Requirement,” which addresses Proposal 5 on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot.
The study examines the amendment to the state constitution that proposes to require a two-thirds supermajority vote of both the Michigan House and Senate, or a simple majority vote of the people in a November election, to impose new state taxes or increase any state taxes that currently require only a majority vote of the Legislature. The study concludes that Proposal 5 is likely to provide additional protection against state tax increases, though it may be appropriate to ensure state lawmakers take further steps to ensure the original intent of the proposal.
The Policy Brief was authored by Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.  … more

Milton Friedman at 100

Proposal 6: Who Is Right About New Bridge?

Is it necessary and who gets the final say? … more

Prop 5: Protecting Taxpayers from the Government

Tax limitation amendment would force fiscal responsibility. … more

Prop 4 Would Put Union Scam in Constitution

SEIU has skimmed $32 million from the disabled so far. … more

Video Confirms Negative Union Stereotypes

Threats of violence even against their own members? … more

Prop 3 Would Cost Taxpayers Billions

Mandate means higher costs, more corporate welfare. … more

Proposal 2: More Power for Government Unions

Protecting public employees at the public's expense. … more

Proposal 1 a Referendum on PA 4

Mike LaFaive breaks down the ballot proposals. … more

Prop 2 May Put FOIA on Ice for Media, Others

UAW Video Shows Political Influence

How much more will they get if Prop 2 passes? … more

Stop the Presses! All of Michigan's Problems Solved

Bill would make Iosco County "birding capitol" of Michigan. … more

The Perils of Politicians' Promises

A radio blast from the past with Congressman Bill Huizenga. … more

'Protect Our Jobs' Could Increase Gov't Secrecy

Freedom of Information Act at risk? … more

Tax Limitation Amendment May Greet Voters in November

Analysis: 25 by 2025 'Green Energy' Studies Ignore Costs

Really? A 150 Percent Business Tax Hike?

More central planning folly from Lansing. … more

Detroit Tries to Salvage Water Department

Center recommended privatization a dozen years ago. … more

Scaffolding for Plunder Part II

"Enhancement" levy a tax, not a voluntary assessment. … more

Standard Fair

Private state fair nearly a decade after Center suggested it. … more

Are You Prepared for 'Taxmageddon'?

What will a $494 billion tax hike fix? … more

Million-Dollar Beer Babies

Remembering Vincent Chin

Death at the hands of laid-off autoworkers 30 years ago today. … more

Legislature Should Be Bold on Tax Cuts

Difference should be made up with spending cuts only. … more

Million-Dollar Beer Babies

State Lawmakers Invite a Local Emergency Manager by Disregarding Michigan’s History

Retail Alcohol Density and Public Safety

Scholarly evidence shows no negative connection. … more

Lansing Builds a 'Scaffolding for Plunder'

House Bill 5667 has several flaws … more

The Longest Yard

Prison guards defeat taxpayers in privatization battle. … more

Alcohol Control Reform and Public Health and Safety

Michigan regulates the sale of beer, wine and “spirituous” (hard) liquor through state statute and rules promulgated by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. As part of this system, state government intervenes in the spirituous liquor market as a monopoly wholesaler, a role it has filled since the end of Prohibition. The state also mandates that most suppliers of beer and wine grant exclusive sales territories to a select group of wholesalers. These and other restrictions artificially raise prices and reduce the availability of alcohol to Michigan’s consumers.

Last year, a state Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee was charged with developing alcohol control reform proposals. Some critics, however, have cautioned that the state’s present alcohol laws are necessary to protect public health. This Policy Brief examines the health and safety effects of alcohol regulations like Michigan’s. … more

Flashy Projects Flash Back

It didn't have to come to this for Detroit. … more

Pontiac's Fiscal Revolution

Emegency manager taking steps to rescue city. … more

Breaking News!

Michigan advances to 17th on economic outlook index. … more

Time to Scotch Michigan’s Wholesale Alcohol Monopolies

Prohibition by Price

Research Shows Right-to-Work Laws the Right Way to Go

How Corporate Welfare Hurts People

If the Monopoly Title Fits, Wear It

Alcohol distribution territorial monopolies hurt consumers. … more

'Birthday Tax' Unveiled in Lansing

New taxes, fees for road maintenance. … more

Commentary: Right-to-Work Will Keep Michigan Competitive

Bay City Repeals Prevailing Wage Ordinance

Other cities, state should follow suit. … more

Taxpayers Fund Bureaucratic Back Slapping

Over-sized checks wasteful, opportunistic. … more

Bay City Amends Prevailing Wage Ordinance

State, cities should abandon "archaic practice." … more

State Alcohol Control Law Expensive, Unfair, Ineffective

Surplus, or Excess?

More state revenue could mean more spending. … more

Michigan's Migration Status Improves

United Van Lines 2011 study released. … more

Right-to-Work Legislation Possible in Indiana

"Significant economic consequences for Michigan." … more

Mich. 'Green Jobs' Subsidy Winner Evicted from Saginaw Headquarters

Happy 96th Birthday, Dr. McCracken!

Best wishes from the Mackinac Center to an economic supernova. … more

Breaking News: Michigan Loses Population Again

Michigan citizens fleeing the Great Lake State. … more

Hand Wringing Over Liquor Reforms

Claims don't mesh with scholarly literature. … more

Commentary: Meet the New MEDC, Same as the Old MEDC

Analysis: State Alcohol Control Law Expensive, Unfair, Ineffective

State of the State: How to Move Michigan Forward

Eight Ideas for Reforming Alcohol Control in Michigan

Gov. Snyder's Second State of the State

Some suggestions on what he should address. … more

Detroit Exhausts Its Options

City needs to take bold steps to avoid bankruptcy. … more

Commentary: Recommendations for Gov. Snyder’s Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee

From the Department of You Can't Be Serious ...

MSU gets federal grant to study economic development subsidies. … more

Liquored Up: Michigan Government Should Exit Its Liquor Wholesale Business

Letter in Freep is Spurious, Misleading

Response on beer and wine wholesaler monopoly easily rebutted. … more

Alcohol Wholesalers Squeeze Consumers Dry

Migration and Tax Rates

More evidence for the relationship between high tax burdens and people showing their preference by voting with their feet. … more

Read All About It

State laws redistribute wealth to beer and wine distributors. … more

Taxes and the Life and Death of Great American Cities

Low-tax metropolitan areas experience much greater growth than high-tax ones. … more

State Regulations Suffocate Hospitality Industry

Rep. Doug Geiss (D-Taylor) wants to ease some of the regulatory burdens on Michigan’s hospitality industry. … more

Another MEGA Loser

In the latest government economic development failure in Michigan, Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy. … more

Liquor Panel Formalized

Time to change liquor laws to finally favor consumers. … more

Five Questions for New Liquor Advisory Committee

Commentary: Rethink Michigan's Liquor Distribution System

Commentary: Michigan Liquor Control Code Too Controlling

Beer and Wine Wholesalers Deliver Themselves Regulatory Privileges

Run From the Border(s)

One of MEGA's first "winners" ends up a loser.  … more

State Pours Interference on Liquor Business

Commentary: Five Questions for New Liquor Advisory Committee

Michigan State Senator Offers Cigarette Tax Cut to Cut Smuggling

Lowering the cigarette tax would reduce smuggling and smuggling-related violence. … more

Distilling the Truth

Beer and wine monopoly "valiant" in fight against competition. … more

Commentary: State Pours Interference on Liquor Business

Pontiac Should Have Listened to Center Experts

Will Detroit pay attention to Pontiac's example? … more

Some Good GDP News for Michigan

Michigan’s 2009-2010 state GDP growth rate was 2.9 percent, its best since 2002. … more

Stage Doors and Broken Windows

The Benefits of Prison Spending Reform

Film Incentive Drama May Upset Reforms

Film Incentive Drama May Upset Reforms

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Gov. Snyder’s First Budget