[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.

Strong Link Between Cigarette Tax and Illegal Smuggling Rates

The negative and unintended consequences of excise taxes … more

Pure Fiction: State Tourism Cost-Benefit Analysis Ignores Costs

The full cost of the Pure Michigan advertising campaign is ignored … more

Want Money For Roads? Take It from This Failing Program

Michigan Business Development Program funding should end … more

State’s MBDP Job Creation Claims an Inconvenient Fiction

Just because government says its effective doesn’t mean it is … more

Michigan Well-Being Metric Stuck in 'Balanced' Position

Changes in policy could attract more people … more

State Forces Hotels, Inns, To Fund Tourism Bureaus

Michigan Falls in Economic Freedom Index

Lower rank due to reforms in other states … more

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

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

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

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

Incentive Programs Fail: Evidence is All Too Clear

Center Scholar Speaks to Tax Group in Florida … 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

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

People First or Well Connected Developers?

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

The Cost of High Cigarette Taxes

Research reveals unintended consequences of tax … 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

Indiana Could See Cigarette Smuggling Leap with Excise Tax Increase

Michigan may benefit from Hoosier hike … more

Happy 50th Birthday Personal Income Tax

Now go away … more

Michigan Stagnates on Economic Freedom Index

After big recent gains, this state stuck in neutral … more