Author James Hohman

Organized labor in Michigan: the dog that didn’t bark

While Governor Snyder and Michigan Republicans are pleased with their victories, the real lesson in this year’s election cycle is about the dog that didn’t bark, let alone bite. This was a terrible year for unions in Michigan. Not only did the candidates favorable to …

Michigan gubernatorial campaigns fight over alleged education cuts

The 2014 Michigan gubernatorial election should be a referendum on the major changes to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. Unfortunately, the debate is saturated instead with false claims of education cuts.
Snyder’s opponent, former congressman Mark Schauer, centered his campaign around the allegation that Snyder “cut $1 …

Michigan voters oppose state bailout of Detroit

When governments approach insolvency, its leaders go on the lookout for someone to bail them out. There is a rush to raise revenue from wherever, to dig deeper for federal grants, or to ask the state for extra cash. Detroit is doing all of these. …

Agenda for Detroit: What role state government should play after bankruptcy

This is the second article in a series Public Sector Inc. will be running over the next two weeks. The purpose is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of Opportunity,” …

A state bailout for Detroit? Been there, done that.

While the prospect for a federal bailout for Detroit remains dim, calls for Michigan state government to provide more help, and accusations that the state is somehow responsible for the city’s plight, haven’t let up. But those making the case for a state bailout are …

Benefits in Balance Can Save Michigan $5.8 Billion

With persistent underfunding gaps in government pension plans and increasing costs of health insurance premiums, it’s no secret that the costs of government employment benefits packages have stretched public finances thin. My new study looks at benefits in Michigan and finds that its governments and taxpayers could save $5.8 billion by benchmarking government benefits to private-sector averages

Detroit gets more state money than all other Michigan cities

The most frequent excuse for the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy is a lack of state support. Michigan has actually provided more money to the city than every other municipality, and protected Detroit officials from substantial cuts that state officials made to other governments.
Michigan’s support to …

Detroit bankruptcy: why the emergency manager powers were insufficient

According to the Manhattan Institute, Michigan has the most comprehensive policy for addressing and alleviating municipal fiscal stress. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Detroit from going bankrupt.
That is because, properly understood, the purpose of Michigan’s emergency manager law is to enact structural reforms of city …

Detroit’s big debt-restructuring question

Last Friday, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr laid out a plan to the city’s creditors. While the plan is exactly what you would want for the city — it contains initiatives to save money in every area of current operations, to collect owed revenues, and to equitably pay down debt — there are still open questions about its treatment of pension benefits.

New Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Should Start Here

Kevyn Orr starts his tenure today as Detroit’s new state-appointed emergency financial manager. While some may look at this as a state takeover, Michigan really doesn’t have many other options. Detroit is expected to run out of cash to pay its bills. The city has skirted state rules about budgeting and running deficits. It has not lived up to the agreement it made with the city to reform its finances.