I live in the mitten. I have pointed out my hometown on the palm of my right hand more times than I can count on those fingers. But the mitten is seemingly notorious these days… as a what-not-to-do example of a state (finally letting Mississippi off the hook).
For the last few years, I have heard people joke, saying “Last one out, turn off the light!” and similar things. Then I heard a harrowing statistic this fall (a full year after the stock market implosion): A family moves out of the state every 12 minutes.
The devil’s advocate/nerd in me wonders if that’s a net or gross number. Regardless, it’s still a number in the wrong direction.
But I’ve fought it. I’m an educated, young, professional who believes that there is something worth being here in this State. I believe in the businesses that are still here, working hard to overcome our crippling tax structure and black-listed credit crunch. “Oh, you say your project is where? Is that in Michigan? I’m sorry, we can’t do business with you. Good day.”
I might be at my tipping point, though.
Last week we had a spectacular blizzard. We were the news of the nation (again). 15″ of snow in a few days’ time. It was beautiful. And then, the news guy on the radio played an interview from a Highway Department official: “Our budget has been cut so drastically this year. We will only be plowing 1 lane of a 2-lane highway; and we don’t have enough salt to treat the roads.”
Is this really the same state that would advise when not to drive on the highway because “between 4 and 4:15pm, the Highway Department will have 4 plowtrucks driving in a gradual line down the highway [aka: the flying wedge] in order to clear the highway for evening rushhour.”?
What I hear as a taxpayer: “For the three of you who are still employed, good luck getting to work! I hope you make it! And if you get in an accident, good luck there too, because we had to cut the State Police force by 40% this year too.”
There are less than 1600 troopers in this state of 10 million citizens.
Where do my tax dollars go? And I understand budget cuts have to happen, but why have you given essential services (like police and road-safety) such a substantial haircut? It is rumored our state legislators are the 2nd highest paid in the nation (to… you guessed it: California). What I do know is that the Democratic staff “Graphic Artist” and “Photographer” each has a bigger salary than I do. And I am willing to bet they didn’t have to take a 5% “roll-back” this year!
I see, now, why Michigan has a “brain drain.” I understand why very few of my high school or college friends are still in this state. And each day, I feel like our governor is pushing me toward the state line.
Land is cheap up here, people! It’s beautiful, and it’s been a great secret for a long time. Just don’t expect to have reasonable taxes, public safety support, or clear roads! Good luck!