[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.

Tax Hikes Kill Jobs and Tax Cuts Create Them

Tax Hikes Kill Jobs, Tax Cuts Create Them

Analysis: MEDC Letter an Admission of Failure

Hangar42 Studios' Incentives Raise Questions

Michigan’s Gift to Texas? People

The Paying Class vs. the Government Class

Michigan’s Gift to Texas? People

Alice in Subsidy Land

State of the State Tally

State of the State: Blown Away

Michael and Me and Taxpayer Makes Three

Price Theory for Legislators in One Lesson

Dear Tax Raisers: Please Tell Us Where to Cut

If You Build It, They Won’t Come (or Stay)

Mississippi Not Burning

Health Savings Accounts Can Save Michigan Money

MEDC Should Become Transparent — or Disappear

Transparent Failures

Flawed MSU Film Subsidy Report Misleads Taxpayers

Transparent Failures

School Service Privatization: Survey 2008 Map

The State of the State You Should Have Heard

MichiGONE: New Migration Data Dark and Portentous

State of Crisis

School Privatization Grows Again (Revised Version)

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Smuggling

Cigarette Smuggling Rampant in Michigan

Collecting the Rent

Point of Departure

Requiem for Reason

Collecting the "Rent"

American Greetings Says Hello to More Incentives

Policymakers are quick to issue press releases about how many jobs will be created when they give discriminatory favors to certain businesses. Where are the press releases when those predictions fall short? … more

MEGA Stumble?

Requiem for Reason

Creative Charlatanry 2.0

The “Scene” and the Unseen

State Works at Cross Purposes

Playing Carnac with the Future

Survey 2008: School Service Privatization Grows Again

Done right, school support service privatization can save money and improve services — even if the privatization option is used solely to persuade public employee bargaining units to sharpen their pencils. … more

UVL Data, Migration Study Underscore Michigan Troubles

The Mackinac Center has long recommended a “Big Three” of tide-turning policies: Eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, prohibit employers from mandating union membership as a condition of employment and rein in oppressive regulation. … more

Latest Economic Numbers Confirm Failure of Status Quo

The question that apologists for the status quo have failed to answer is why investors and job providers increasingly avoid Michigan. … more

Privatization Rolls on Despite Rhetorical Opposition

Privatization Rolls on Despite Rhetorical Opposition (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Since our last survey, media reports from around the state indicate that additional schools are using privatization to yield savings. … more

A Taxing Question (revised version)

Martin “Marty” Wing: Rest in Peace

MEDC Rejects Development Bird-in-the-Hand

As long as the MEDC exists it should do one thing noticeably well to help facilitate job creation: advance right-to-work legislation. … more

State Should Adopt Health Savings Accounts

Across Michigan, institutions such as businesses, government, nonprofit organizations and unions are or have attempted to revise the way they address skyrocketing health care costs. … more

Privatization Review a Mixed Bag

Special Automotive Interests

The Wizard of Oz Has No Clothes

The answer is simple: Politicians don’t care about job creation as much as they care about the perception of it. … more

A Taxing Question

The Unvarnished State of the State

Someone once said that politicians will do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted every other option. Michigan may have reached that point. … more

Automotive Production Expands – Elsewhere

Michigan has carefully built and continues to maintain a culture of decline that is overtly hostile to outsiders and fearful of their competition. … more

A Flawed Argument for Higher State Taxes

A Really Gross Domestic Product

Relying on Private Agencies has Track Record of Saving Money

Migration Trends, Indiana Campaign Show Need for Policy Changes in Michigan

Indeed, if the state’s economic landscape doesn’t change soon it may need to change its official motto from “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” to “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, move to Florida.” … more

Norval K. “Nub” Morey: In Memoriam

Survey 2007: School Support Service Privatization Rises

Competitive contracting continues to be a popular management tool for improving services and for saving money, which can then be reinvested into classrooms. All indications are that it will continue to grow in popularity. … more

School Support Service Privatization: Getting it Right

Done right, privatization remains an effective management tool for school districts across Michigan. … more

State Excise Tax Promises More Job Losses

Renaissance Center Brought No Renaissance

Despite all of the glitz and lofty rhetoric associated with major building projects, people continue to flee the city. … more

Another Kind of Tax

Déjà Vu All Over Again

What Price Government?

Lights Out?

Survey 2006: School Outsourcing Continues to Grow

Pontiac Should Sell City Assets

Arrest Municipal Police Costs

Suppress Municipal Fire Costs

Around the State 2006-02

Arrest Pontiac Police Costs

Reforms need to be made that take Pontiac beyond the point of simply keeping its fiscal head above water. … more

Around the State 2006-01

Survey 2006: School Outsourcing Continues to Grow

With savings of this magnitude, it is not surprising that superintendents are investigating privatization. … more

Jazzing Up Civil Society

Gretchen Valade improved Detroit’s cultural scene with her gift, just as tens of thousands of Americans have done with their own contributions to countless organizations and enterprises. … more

Seeking Opportunity

There are many reasons people move, but it is probably easiest to sum all of them up with one word: opportunity. … more

Unfair Competition Should Be Outlawed

Government Golf

Federal-Mogul Lesson: Get Rid of the SBT and Fix the Fundamentals

What will it take before government understands that gimmicks don’t work, and that only fixing the fundamentals of our business climate through broad-based reforms will? … more

Building School Facilities with Public-Private Partnerships

Michigan Should End Its Tax Favoritism

MEGA Grant Requests: What Companies Say