[Photo of Michael D. LaFaive]

Michael D. LaFaive

Senior Director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

Michael LaFaive is the senior 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.

Wyoming Lights Up a Tax Hike

Op-ed published in Casper Star Tribune … more

Mackinac Center Joins Tax Reform Letter

Senate vote for tax reform possible this week … more

Update: D.C.’s Tax Reform Sausage Making May Still Work Out

Tax Foundation Calculates $2,500 gain per Michigan worker … more

Why did the Governor Flip Flop on Corporate Welfare?

Corporate handouts remain unfair and ineffective … more

Federal Tax Proposal Not Perfect, but Good for Michigan, Nation

Reform plans are on the right track … more

Small Business Owners Say Liquor Commission Gave Bad Advice, Then Punished Them

Alcohol needs less and better control … more

On Economic Development, Michigan Repeats MEGA Mistake

Happy Anniversary Tax Hikers

Ten years have passed since we took your bait … more

This Just In … Longwoods Out

Secretive MEDC consultant replaced … more

Consumers Don’t Need a Law to Limit Competition

Get rid of the ‘half mile’ rule for selling alcohol … more

Jobs Department’s Fake News: $10 Tax return for Every $1 in Subsidies

Program lacks transparency, too … more

Mackinac Center Joins 87 Groups and Activists Calling for Federal Tax Reform

Time for a simple, efficient, sufficient and fair tax code … more

Post Labor Day Weekend Good Time for Tourism Talk

Lots to discuss with unofficial end of summer season … more

Give Foxconn Nothing

Lansing politicians should not make tools out of taxpayers … more

Lansing Politicians Betray Their Stated Ideals

Watch what they do, not what they say … more

Cigarette tax debate should include lawlessness

On Cigarette Tax Evasion, I Told You So

Raising cigarette taxes has consequences and not always good ones … more

‘But For’ Can’t Be Proved: Corporate Welfare is a Waste

New MEGA not costless, despite assurances … more

New Corporate Welfare Proposal is Unfair

'Good Jobs for Michigan' a repeat of failed MEGA program … more

In Remembrance on Independence Day: William T. Wilson, Ph.D.

Economist once paid steep price for intellectual honesty … more

Return of the Mega Subsidy

Corporate welfare still demonstrably ineffective … more

Lawmakers May Further Subsidize Millionaires and Billionaires with New Program

The Model Facade: Selling Jobs to the Public, Press and Policymakers

History shows models are used to obscure costly, ineffective programs … more

MEGA 2 Hearing Demonstrates Desperation

New corporate welfare proposal gets hard sell in tax committee … more

Special Deals for Special Corporations

A Plea for Fairness, Transparency and Intellectual Honesty

Testimony prepared for the Michigan Travel Commission … more

Do Millionaires Need More Subsidies?

MEGA 2.0 bound for failure … more

Why Government Fails at Economic Development

Politicians and bureaucrats repeatedly fail at picking the winners … more

State Tourism Subsidies Unnecessary, Ineffective and Unfair

Incentive Programs Fail: Evidence is All Too Clear

Center Scholar Speaks to Tax Group in Florida … more

Mackinac Center Praises Lawmakers Trying To Hold Pure Michigan Program Accountable

One Democratic lawmaker tried to defund multi-million dollar program; others calling for investigation into unsubstantiated ROI claims … more

Evidence? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Evidence, Imply Tourism Officials

Tourism officials make claims they can’t support … more

Back to the MEGA Future: Good Jobs for Michigan Reinvents Failed MEGA Program

Proposed law shares remarkable similarities with old, failed law … more

Dear House Tax Committee: Pure Michigan Return on Investment Not Validated

State Rep. Jim Tedder asks the right question … more

What’s Old is New Again: Another Subsidy Program Being Considered by Legislature

Good for politicians and well-connected businesses, bad for Michigan … more

Secretive Bidder Wins Pure Michigan Contract Over Transparent One

Auditor General, not MEDC, should hire reviews of corporate welfare programs … more

An Empire of Smuggled Smokes

New York's cigarette taxes have sparked a huge black market and should be rolled back … more

Governor's Tourism Conference Must Address Pure Michigan Shortfalls

Mackinac Center analyst offers counterpoint to state’s promotion campaign … more

The Secrecy of 'Pure Michigan'

One State May Do Away With Taxpayer-Funded Tourism Promotion

Why ending Florida’s “Pure Michigan” counterpart would benefit residents and visitors … more

Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling

An update through 2015 … more

Studies of Government-funded Tourism Promotion Withstand Criticism

Publicly-funded marketing for tourism is a waste of money … more

Updated Research Affirms Link between Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling

Interactive map shows taxes and smuggling by state … more

People First or Well Connected Developers?

We should provide tax relief for all instead of favors to a select few … more

Mackinac Center Analyst: Senate Bills 111-115 Are Corporate Cronyism

LaFaive available to comment on pending legislation … more

The Cost of High Cigarette Taxes

Research reveals unintended consequences of tax … more

Mackinac Center Expert Available for Comment on FY 2018 Budget Release

Fiscal policy analyst to be in Lansing Wednesday for Snyder’s presentation … more

Legislators Who Promote Transparency Should Start by Disclosing Corporate Welfare Deals

MEDC secrecy patronizes lawmakers and public … more

Michigan Wins When Immigrants Face a Fair and Predictable System

Due process is an important part of an immigration system … more

Detroit’s Soccer Stadium Should Stand on its Own

Stadiums are a bad investment for taxpayers … more