[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.

Balance Increased Road Spending with Cuts

Gas Tax and Fee Discussion Worth Having

Gas Tax and Fee Discussion Worth Having

Cigarette Smuggling Remains High in Michigan, Elsewhere

History, Economics and Right-to-Work


Transparency Law Escapes Big Labor Chokehold

Election RECAP

State Budget Issues Big and Small

Shouldn’t Enhancing Your Neighborhood Be Up to You?

Milton Friedman at 100

Prop 2 May Put FOIA on Ice for Media, Others

Tax Limitation Amendment May Greet Voters in November

Analysis: 25 by 2025 'Green Energy' Studies Ignore Costs

Million-Dollar Beer Babies

Million-Dollar Beer Babies

State Lawmakers Invite a Local Emergency Manager by Disregarding Michigan’s History

Time to Scotch Michigan’s Wholesale Alcohol Monopolies

Prohibition by Price

Research Shows Right-to-Work Laws the Right Way to Go

How Corporate Welfare Hurts People

Commentary: Right-to-Work Will Keep Michigan Competitive

State Alcohol Control Law Expensive, Unfair, Ineffective

Mich. 'Green Jobs' Subsidy Winner Evicted from Saginaw Headquarters

Commentary: Meet the New MEDC, Same as the Old MEDC

Analysis: State Alcohol Control Law Expensive, Unfair, Ineffective

State of the State: How to Move Michigan Forward

Eight Ideas for Reforming Alcohol Control in Michigan

Commentary: Recommendations for Gov. Snyder’s Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee

Liquored Up: Michigan Government Should Exit Its Liquor Wholesale Business

Alcohol Wholesalers Squeeze Consumers Dry

Five Questions for New Liquor Advisory Committee

Commentary: Rethink Michigan's Liquor Distribution System

Commentary: Michigan Liquor Control Code Too Controlling

Beer and Wine Wholesalers Deliver Themselves Regulatory Privileges

State Pours Interference on Liquor Business

Commentary: Five Questions for New Liquor Advisory Committee

Commentary: State Pours Interference on Liquor Business

Stage Doors and Broken Windows

The Benefits of Prison Spending Reform

Film Incentive Drama May Upset Reforms

Film Incentive Drama May Upset Reforms

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Gov. Snyder’s First Budget

Cigarette Taxes Fuel Rampant Smuggling

State Should Reform Public Act 72 of 1990

Scheduled Saginaw Prevailing Wage Repeal Vote Quietly Killed

Gov. Snyder Should Adopt HSAs for Government Employees

MEGA “GlobalWatt” Deal Raises Questions

Analysis: State of Embarrassment

MEGA Questions Surround GlobalWatt

MEGA Questions Surround GlobalWatt

Analysis: Republican Vows — Seven Lean Years Later

Analysis: Horse Racing Subsidies Fail to Win, Place or Show

MEGA Careful?

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