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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!

~M

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6 thoughts on “Last One Out (or, Where’s the Value?)

  1. “…less than 1600 troopers for a state of 10 million citizens.”

    I’d be wondering the very same thing you are, where the hell is my money going? So are other citizens starting to demand answers to these questions?

    • I don’t think people are asking questions. I think they are, instead, renting a U-Haul and getting the heck out of Dodge.

      Having such massive budget issues eludes me. I sit on the board of directors for 2 non-profits, and am blessedly employed at a great business… and each one of these entities starts each fiscal year with a balanced budget. It is something you do out of practice. Apparently, though, this is easier said than done when taking the state into account.

      • Wow, that’s crazy. No one is ever around to be held accountable for these things huh?! No clear answers. If that’s the case I’d be packing the u-haul too!

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