[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.

Think Big: Don’t Expand Transit, Uberize It!

Income Tax Cut Could Bring 15,000 New Jobs to Michigan

Updated Research Highlights Impact of Cigarette Tax Evasion

New York still an empire of smuggled smokes as Nevada leaps towards the top … more

State Corporate Welfare Winner Released from Prison

New Pure Michigan Return-on-Investment Figure Won’t Include All Costs

Previous estimation excluded 50 percent-plus of program costs … more

Governor’s 6-Year-Old Corporate Handout Program Should Be Shuttered

State Corporate Welfare Agency Picks Winners That Turn Out To Be Losers

Study: Michigan Business Development Program of Questionable Merit

Research shows decline in jobs in counties where subsidized projects are located … more

Mackinac Center Tallies Proposed Expansions and Limitations in Gov. Snyder’s Last State of the State

The address contained five proposed government expansions and no limitations … more

Michigan’s Well-Being Metric Stuck in “Balanced” Position

State Forces Hotels And Inns To Fund Private Marketing Bureaus

Happy Anniversary, Michigan Business Development Program

On Economic Development, Michigan Repeats MEGA Mistake

Lawmakers May Further Subsidize Millionaires and Billionaires with New Program

Special Deals for Special Corporations

State Tourism Subsidies Unnecessary, Ineffective and Unfair

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

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'

Updated Research Affirms Link between Cigarette Taxes and Smuggling

Interactive map shows taxes and smuggling by state … more

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

LaFaive available to comment on pending legislation … 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

Government Growth Proposed in Gov. Snyder's 2017 State of the State

Address included 12 proposed government expansions, one limitation … more

Some Budget Ideas for 2017

Michigan’s Net Out-Migration Much Reduced But Still Negative

High Cigarette Taxes Lead to More Smuggling

Study provides new estimates of smuggling rates for each state … more

Tourism Officials Invited To Debate Efficacy of Pure Michigan

Mackinac Center researchers challenge state to defend claim that program is worth its cost … more

Study: Pure Michigan a Poor Investment

New study raises questions about Pure Michigan’s effectiveness … more

Potential Corporate Welfare Binge Risks Second Michigan ‘Lost Decade’

Michigan and Ontario Governments Agree to Promote Crony Capitalism Together

Corporate Welfare’s Strange Allure for Politicians

Pure Michigan: An Economic Development Program That Doesn’t Create Any Development

MEDC's Priority: Defend Its Budget

Puffery or Proof? The Business of Tourism Subsidy 'Budget Justification'

New Study Says Pure Michigan Campaign Not As Advertised

Survey Reveals How Schools in Different States Compare in Privatizing Services

Pennsylvania leads the way among five states surveyed … more

School Privatization Survey: Michigan Rates Increase Again

Aramark Contract: It Takes Two

Cut Corporate Welfare, Shift Money to Road Repair for Economic Growth

Smuggling Study Continues

Michael LaFaive and Todd Nesbit: R.I. set to lose tobacco revenue

Increasing cigarette tax would be counterproductive … more

Mackinac Gets FOIA Fees Lowered in Liquor Commission Lawsuit

Michigan Plummets in Economic Outlook Rankings Among States

Cigarette Smuggling Still Rampant, Problematic

Women Legislators Hear of Cigarette Smuggling Impact

Got Budget Savings?

Economic Freedom in Michigan and Beyond

State Liquor Commission Should End Rules that Hike Prices

Granholm Too Cool For Her Own Cool Initiative?

Happy New Year! It’s Time for Tax Cuts

The State Budget and Civil Society

Senior Olympics Subsidy Getting Old

The 12 Fiscal Policy Days of Christmas

Budget Cutting Ideas Abound

$2.1 Billion in Michigan Budget Reforms

Budget Reform Ideas for 2015 and Beyond

State Budget Has Low-Hanging Fruit, Too

State Budget Savings Idea: Eliminate Revenue Sharing

The Machinations Behind Michigan’s Minimum Wage Hike

Happy Birthday, America

Detroit’s Dilemma Tests Lansing’s Leadership

Privatizing Detroit Department of Transportation Would Save City Millions

Cigarette Smuggling Still Rampant in Michigan, Nation

Detroit Bailout Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Trim Corporate Welfare to $0

Happy Anniversary Proposal A

Detroit Should Look to Pontiac

Trim Corporate Welfare to $0

Detroit Should Look to Pontiac

Minimum Wage, Minimum Employment

Center Research Question Addressed

Happy New Year: The Center Looks Back and Looks Forward

How to Save Cities Millions

A Tax Hike Al Capone Could Have Loved

How to Save Cities Millions

Right-to-Work Laws Improve Growth Prospects

Republicans Backsliding After Solid Reforms