Forced-labor unionism blamed for Michigan exodus

Related forced-labor unionism stories: here

Jobs flow to states with worker-choice

Michigan’s economy is in the pits, that we can all agree on. The matter of how we got there is subject to debate and may not ultimately help find the solution. But this much is clear, people and businesses are leaving Michigan in droves.

Why? For starters, Michigan’s close ties to the American auto industry is no help. According to Terry Stanton, a public information officer for the Department of Treasury, the Big Three’s market place share will have fallen a full 30 percent by 2009 since their peak in the mid-90s.

“Any state that faces changes like that in the auto industry will be seriously impacted,” he said.

True. But what can be done about it?

Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, R-Kalamazoo, who is term limited in the state House and running against Sen. Carl Levin this November, believes Michigan is too cozy with its unions, and that as a state we are losing out on new factories to the 22 states that do not require union membership.

“The number one reason jobs leave Michigan is labor policy,” he said. “Our jobs aren’t going to China or India, they are going to other states.”

A measured amount of Hoogendyk’s rhetoric has to be chalked up to electioneering politics, and his desire to unseat Levin. But then again, how much of Michigan’s tax structure is deterring the growth of new business here?

On Levin’s Web site there is similar political maneuvering in a time when we need answers not more finger pointing. Levin correctly acknowledges the depressed Michigan economy and details a certain tax-relief plan he hoped would address those problems. The plan ultimately failed, and Levin’s Web site plays into unproductive partisan bickering and uses everyone’s favorite punching bag as the culprit — President George Bush.

Thankfully, at least Gov. Jennifer Granholm is being drawn less and less into that fray.

Back in 2005, the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing article on the high taxes in Michigan. Granholm reacted swiftly, calling the financial newspaper’s report “treasonous.” The relationship between the two has not grown much warmer.

In a May 28 piece titled “Granholm’s Tax Warning,” the Journal again outlined the slouching state economy and once again laid blame at the feet of Granholm citing the state’s 2007 shutdown and subsequent tax hike.

Yet, experience has taught Granholm to hold back, and rather than jump into another shouting match with the paper, she and her administration are touting recent bipartisan developments meant to grow the state’s economy.

Among those recent developments are the biggest tourism budget for the state championed by Democrats and Republicans alike, a downtown development package also pleasing to both sides of the aisle and a new film incentive package built to draw Hollywood’s glamorous (and profitable?) industry here.

These plans are not without their detractors. Just search online for the tongue-in-cheek video by Rep. Chuck Moss, R-Birmingham, lampooning the film incentive package. But again, wouldn’t Moss’ constituents been better served in another way other than watching a politicians exercise his poor acting skills and sarcasm?

What we need are Democrats and Republicans willing to work together, and perhaps even adopt some of each others ideas. There is a path out of this mess, but we will never find it with our two parties pulling in opposite directions, kicking and screaming the whole way.


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