[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.

A Rebuttal to MEDC Letter in The Wall Street Journal

On Sept. 4, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled “The Michigan Example,” excoriating the state’s reliance on government central planning to “create” jobs, rather than undertake genuine overall business climate reform. The editorial was based in part on research published a few days earlier by myself and James Hohman. … more

Michigan Sets Another Dubious Record

Data released last Friday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that for the second month this year, Michigan was burdened with an unemployment rate exceeding that of Puerto Rico. Michigan’s rate was 15.2 percent while Puerto Rico’s stood at 15.1 percent. … more

Green Jobs Fad Means More Government Intervention

The Michigan Economic Development Corp., state Legislature, governor and other supporters of government “jobs” programs have adopted an almost pop-culture idolatry for all things environmental by showering taxpayer subsidies upon corporations claiming to bring purportedly “earth friendly” products to market. It has a shiny, new green paint job, but in fact this is just the latest in a long line of failed state economic development program fads. … more

Trick, or Treat

The Michigan Legislature is this morning taking up House Bill 5275, a bill that authorizes a Michigan Economic Growth Authority business tax credit deal for a battery cell manufacturing facility. … more