Government Spending Over Par, Overpriced

Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, was cited in two separate stories Saturday about fiscal irresponsibility at the local government level.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported on municipal golf courses that operate without paying property taxes and can take customers away from privately run courses.

“When governments subsidize or run businesses that provide below-cost governmental competition to American businesses, they are taxing us in order to undermine our own private businesses,” LaFaive told the Citizen Patriot.

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LaFaive called golf “the least necessary of least necessary government services.” He and other Center analysts have written about the problem here, here and here.

The Bay City Times also quoted LaFaive in an article about Bay County commissioners who receive perks such as health care insurance and a pension for holding the part-time job.

“It sends a message that people are confusing public service with self service,” LaFaive told The Times. “Public servants should be rejecting these generous benefits, particularly at the local level where they can have other employment.”

As Fiscal Policy Analyst James Hohman has found, public-sector employee benefits at the local and state levels in Michigan cost about $5.7 billion a year more than do benefits in the private sector.