Michigan’s state economist retires

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Michigan’s chief economist Jay Wortley said Monday he is retiring at the end of February.

Wortley advises Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration and the Legislature on economic, tax and revenue matters as director of the Michigan Department of Treasury’s office of Revenue and Tax Analysis.

He has been part of 53 annual hearings on the state’s budget — known as the “consensus revenue estimating conference” — since 1992. There, state officials brief lawmakers on how much money the state has to work with as they decide how to divvy up money for state spending.

Eric Bussis, who currently works in the State Budget Office, will be the new chief economist following Wortley’s retirement. Bussis conducted economic forecasting and fiscal analysis for the Indiana government before he came to Michigan.

Wortley began his career as an economist for another state department, where he worked for 12 years. He will have been employed by the government for 36 years by the time he retires.

“I have worked with Jay for many years and know firsthand his dedication, experience and knowledge of the Michigan economy and tax system,” Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri said in a Monday statement. “His ability to work through complex problems and build relationships throughout state government provided results when developing state budgets.”

Wortley was also the senior economist for the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency for more than 18 years after a brief stint at PriceWaterhouse and the National Association of State Budget Officers in Washington, D.C.