Economic Development

Blown Away By Flawed Research on Jobs Program

Michigan spent millions with little to show for it

Michigan spent millions with little to show for it … more

New Evidence: Film Incentives Still Don’t Work

Research from Michael Thom analyzes a variety of programs

Research from Michael Thom analyzes a variety of programs … more

Rumors of Taxpayer Spending

State job funds are expensive and underwhelming

State job funds are expensive and underwhelming … more

Economic Interference Week

Economic Development Week is no cause for celebration

Economic Development Week is no cause for celebration … more

Job Churn Shows Why Targeted Tax Favors Do Not Work

There is constant job loss and creation in the state economy

There is constant job loss and creation in the state economy … more

Pure Michigan Campaign Ineffective, Needs To End

New op-ed published in the Detroit News

New op-ed published in the Detroit News … more

Pure Flummery: Seeing Double on Corporate Welfare Spin

Pure Michigan ads are attractive corporate welfare

Pure Michigan ads are attractive corporate welfare … more

Reasons to be Optimistic Abound in Michigan Economy

State leads the way out of recession, but work still to do

State leads the way out of recession, but work still to do … more

Are Michigan's Record Labor Force Gains Real?

Can we celebrate recent record-breaking job growth figures? … more

Grand Rapids: Michigan's Boomtown

Recovered from recent recession and grown beyond its 2000 peak

Recovered from recession and grown beyond its 2000 peak … more

Tax Cuts Beat Selective Favors in Economic Growth

Only broad changes will improve the state's economy

Only broad changes will improve the state's economy … more

Michigan Competitiveness Stuck on Mediocre

Economic outlook has improved, but could be better

Economic outlook has improved, but could be better … more

College Grads Attracted to Opportunity Before Bike Lanes

To increase college grads, increase opportunities for all … more

LaFaive Op-Ed Published in The Detroit News

Why Michigan shouldn't single out Switch for tax breaks

Why Michigan shouldn't single out Switch for tax breaks … more

Addition by Subtraction

Detroit's economy stagnates under regulatory burden

Detroit's economy stagnates under regulatory burden … more

Republicans Backtracking on Previous Good Tax Work

More holes in the tax code with data center deal

Shooting more holes in the tax code with data center deal … more

The MEDC’s Pure Michigan Puffery: Part II

Reforms could make agency more credible

Reforms could make agency more creditable … more

MEDC’s Pure Michigan Puffery: Part I

Agency claims about success deserve more scrutiny

Agency claims about success deserve more scrutiny … more

Lawmakers Rushing Through Special Tax Breaks

Will GOP backtrack on select deals?

Taxpayers shouldn't subsidize Steelcase pyramid deal … more

Will Republicans Backtrack on Corporate Welfare Cuts?

Many economic development programs receive bipartisan support

Many economic development programs receive bipartisan support … more

How to Improve Economic Development Transparency

State considers changes to economic development disclosure

State considers changes to economic development disclosure … more

Film Incentives Clearly Hurt

Studies show a lack of positive economic impact

Studies show a lack of positive economic impact … more

So Long Film Subsidies

Other 'economic development' programs should be next

Other economic development programs should be next … more

The Problem of Corporate Welfare

Corporate welfare leaves smaller companies to struggle … more

House Republicans Should be Applauded for Trying to Cut ‘21st Century Jobs Fund’

The program has been a repeated failure

The 21st Century Jobs fund has repeatedly failed in its objectives, and any efforts to cut it would be positive. … more

State Tourism Spending Ineffective

For every $1 spent, hotel industry gets one penny … more

Pure Michigan Scare Tactics

MEDC deploys 'Washington Monument syndrome'

MEDC deploys 'Washington Monument syndrome' … more

Department Reorganization is New Wine in Old Skin

Corporate welfare doesn’t work, reorganizing won't fix it

Corporate welfare doesn’t work, reorganizing won't fix it … more

Economic Growth and Right-to-Work Laws

This study aims to measure the impact of right-to-work laws on states’ economic performance. It uses average annual growth rates in employment, real (inflation-adjusted) personal income and population to measure the economic well-being of right-to-work states. On the whole, the results of this analysis show that right-to-work laws have a statistically significant and economically meaningful positive impact, although the results vary. … more

LaFaive Cited in Macomb Daily

Repetitive language in press releases is tiresome. … more

Lansing Pols Recycle Press Releases

Tiresome and demeaning to taxpayers

Tiresome and demeaning to taxpayers. … more

'The Freeman' Interviews Rod Lockwood

Mackinac Center board member discusses Belle Isle

Mackinac Center board member discusses Belle Isle. … more

New Strategies Needed for Dealing With Blight

Turning over more property to land banks not the answer. … more

Pontiac Phoenix Center in Ashes

Stop the Presses! All of Michigan's Problems Solved

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

Is 5076 Montauk Blighted?

Questions arise over how county land banks operate. … more

GQ Hit Piece on GR ArtPrize

"Like fairgoers sampling sideshows at a carnival." … more

Land Bank Powers Abused, Costly to Taxpayers

Government shouldn't act as land speculators. … more

Kent County Taxpayers Question Land Bank

Group alleges "crony government gone wild" in tax lien sale. … more

Lansing Builds a 'Scaffolding for Plunder'

GOP Representative supports

House Bill 5667 has several flaws … more

Crime Hinders Economic Development

Michael LaFaive in The Saginaw News. … more

The Green Jobs Myth

Paying more to get the same thing does not improve the well-being of families, businesses, the economy or the nation. … 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

Good News From Marathon

Extra refinery capacity in Detroit will not only bring jobs and revenue, but also protect against gas price spikes and allow utilization of oil sands. … more

Strange Brew

Legislators to craft brewers: You don't count, but here's a cookie. … more

Some Good GDP News for Michigan

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

Lansing Township Action Puts Taxpayers at Risk

Government shouldn't be in the real estate business. … more

Michigan Tax Reform Signed

Changes will make Michigan more competetive

The Michigan Business Tax will soon be no more. … more

Stage Doors and Broken Windows

Brownfield Credits Are No Level Playing Field

There is nothing “fair” about unelected boards deciding which companies pay higher taxes and which companies pay less. … more

Who Benefits From Lower Business Taxes?

Just as individuals respond to changes in their personal financial situations, businesses, too, are affected. And taxing business will surely give us less of it. … more

'Book Him!': Michigan Film Subsidy Scandal Leads to More Charges

A scandal first exposed by the Mackinac Center last June has led to a second set of felony fraud charges. … more

Gov. Granholm Leaves Michigan to Find Work

Today is the 5th anniversary of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s promise that Michigan residents would be “blown away” by the gobs of jobs her latest economic development program would create. How ironic then that she of all people would flee the state to find work… more

Business Owners Favor MBT Surcharge Repeal

Business owners are cheering a proposal in Lansing to repeal and reform the Michigan Business Tax and the 22 percent surcharge that comes with it, according to WJRT-TV12 in Flint. … more

MBT Surcharge Repeal Could Create 27,900 New Jobs Through 2016

It’s probably no coincidence that the first bill (HB 4001) introduced in Michigan’s new Legislature is to repeal the 21.99 percent surcharge slapped onto the Michigan Business Tax in 2007. The surcharge is despised by the business community, and is seen as a job killer by policy analysts and politicians alike.  … more

Michigan Fiscal Policy a Two-Sided Coin

Michigan residents have a reasonable expectation that elected officials can do more than one thing at time. It is time for our leaders to meet those expectations.  … more

Saginaw Fails to Repeal Prevailing Wage

Saginaw County officials have quietly buried a previously scheduled vote to repeal its “prevailing wage” ordinance for construction projects costing more than $50,000. Prevailing wage laws prohibit granting a government contract to the lowest bidder unless the company pays above-market, “union-scale” wages. … more

The Rose-Colored Glasses of Political Dusk

Despite political spin, Michiganders shouldn't be convinced that the economy right in front of their faces is a sign of progress. … more

Projections vs. Reality

Climate Negotiations Carry a Chilling Message

Recent climate conferences in Stockholm and Cancun have revealed what the global climate change issue is really all about — the transfer of wealth from developed nations to developing countries. … more

Big Labor Vs. Lansing Entrepreneur

Tear Down This 'Film Industry' Facade

Ending the handouts would send a signal that this state is done playing games with ephemeral and failed "economic development" programs, and instead will focus on a real economic growth agenda, including across-the-board tax relief, labor law changes and other regulatory reforms. … more

Michigan’s Economy: From Worst to Average

There's no question that Michigan's economy has performed poorly over the past decade. Essentially, the state lost one out of every five jobs since employment peaked in 2000. However, Michigan's economic trends have changed in recent months. It is no longer the worst performer in the country. In fact, since the end of the U.S. recession, Michigan's performance is average. … more

Bailout Wal-Mart?

Governor Describes Film Subsidies as Jobs Program, so "Why Not Give Them Spoons?"

The headline of a story today's Detroit Free Press characterizes Gov. Jennifer Granholm's understanding of the state film production subsidies' role like this: "Goal of film tax credit is jobs, not more revenue." This reminds one of the late economist Milton Friedman's question upon seeing a U.S. taxpayer-funded public works project in a poor country where thousands of men with shovels were moving dirt one spadeful at a time. … more

Government Subsidy Deal Off for Competitor to Lansing Restaurant Owners

Existing, home-grown restaurant owners in the area — who pay their taxes in full and get no special privileges from the government — are no doubt relieved that they won't have to compete with a politically favored and subsidized outsider. … more

Joe Lehman on Comcast Newsmakers

GlobalWatt's the Deal?

Broken Windows on Display in Michigan Senate Finance Committee

Mark Adler, a lobbyist for the Michigan Production Alliance, and Carrie Jones, the director of the Michigan Film Office, defended the state's film subsidy program in a Senate Finance Committee meeting today. To do so they employed a long-recognized economic fallacy, the "Broken Window" theory, which only considers economic activity that is "seen" while ignoring unseen economic costs. … more

Bill Reveals New Politically Correct Economic Development

A newly introduced bill in Michigan gives new meaning to the phrase "politically correct economic development." … more

Federal Government Wants to Decide Which Car Models Americans Drive

When it comes to which model of vehicle Americans should buy, the federal government knows best — or believes it does. … more

Lawmakers Fail to Answer Questions About Film Subsidy Transparency

A rather blistering May 16 Livingston Daily editorial asked a few simple questions of three state lawmakers about the Michigan Film Incentive and how well it's working. Two of the legislators responded in a guest column Sunday, arguably dodging the real questions raised in the original editorial and putting up a weak defense of the two-year-old subsidy program. … more

States With More College Grads Don't Have Better Economies

Evidence suggests that a single-minded focus on increasing the proportion of a state's population with college degrees is a dead end for improving the state's economy. … more

New Type of "Renaissance Zone": Real Estate Development Bailout Zones

From MichiganVotes.org:
2010 House Bill 6180 (Create "uncompleted subdivision" renaissance tax break zones)
Introduced by Rep. Jim Slezak (D) on May 18, 2010,to authorize the extensive tax breaks and exemptions of a “renaissance zone” for up to 10 particular subdivisions started before the subprime/housing crash, that benefited from a local property tax special assessment levied to pay debt service on money borrowed by the local government to build infrastructure for the subdivision, and which now are only 20 percent completed. “Renaissance zone” status means that businesses and individuals within the zone are essentially exempt from all state and local taxes. See also House Bill 6181, which creates a state revolving loan fund to bail out the local governments that aren't collecting the special assessment revenue they were counting on to pay the debt on the infrastructure projects. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. McDowell, Denby, Rogers, Marleau, Walsh and Daley.  … more

Film Noir

Michigan’s Rank Position

There is no perfect method known for measuring a state's economic well being, or forecasting its future prospects. Nevertheless, over time many scholars using different methodologies have presented a relatively consistent picture: Michigan's economic performance and outlook have trended in a negative direction since their first reports. It's not hard to understand why: Lawmakers here continue to stifle growth with counterproductive policies. … more

Federal Reserve Study: Economic Freedom Matters

A new study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, called "Economic Freedom and Employment Growth in the U.S. States," concludes that there is a link between economic freedom and employment growth. Other studies have come to the same conclusion. One of the things that makes this one different is its findings on labor markets. The authors write: "In addition, we find that less restrictive state and national government labor market policies have the greatest impact on employment growth in U.S. states."
That conclusion doesn't bode well for Michigan, which is known for having a relatively hostile labor climate and which over the last 10 years has seen its overall national economic freedom ranking tumble. … more

Economists: Michigan's Low Personal Income Ranking Won't Rise Again Soon

Michigan dropped to 37th nationwide in 2009 for per capita personal income, sliding one spot as income dropped from $34,953 to $34,025. If one includes Washington D.C. in the rankings, Michigan is now 38th. … more

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