States Leadership Is Embarrassment

July 15, 2005
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The “revenue neutral” budget proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, which shifted and increased taxes on specific service-sector businesses, was burned and buried last month by legislators who get it. Granholm does not. Still does not. And while it is hard to imagine that she could bring any more embarrassment to the Great Lakes state, the only state in the union still economically hobbled, she has very determinedly done so.

Readers of the Wall Street Journal know that the opinion page there (as here) fairly called her out on her budget proposals last March, and provided basic economic principles to improve her literacy. On July 7 state Rep. Rick Baxter and Hillsdale College professor Gary Wolfram co-authored a Guest Opinion for WSJ, calling out each aspect of the governor’s folly. Granholm denounced the two and the opinion piece as “treasonous” to the state of Michigan, and called for Baxter’s removal from office. She also whined that the op-ed piece has undermined her quest to bring jobs and business to Michigan.

WSJ this week responded to her reaction, indicating she clearly needed “some friendly advice,” and recalled that “the first time an American was accused of treason for opposing high taxes was when New Englanders dressed as Indians and dumped tea in the Boston Harbor (and also suggested she missed this important piece of American history by birth in Canada). The Journal noted “the Wolverine State ranks fifth both in per-capita terms and as a share of personal income. Michigan also has the nation’s highest unemployment rate. There is no shortage of studies that have linked these two phenomena.”

Granholm, now on an international stage, flying off to Japan to the World’s Fair to tout Michigan, needs to be grounded for such ineptitude. The only state in the country continuing to enforce a Single Business Tax and insisting on more business taxes does not “attract” business. The governor takes no responsibility for the facts of the state’s economic condition but instead looks to blame an opinion piece. Add to that her continued insistence on a $2 billion bond proposal to “create jobs” and one can see this state will leave its young not with jobs, but with massive debt.

WSJ readers weighed in with dozens of letters published from around the country, and around the state of Michigan. One former Michigan resident notes that those in his family who fled during the Blanchard administration are prospering in other states, while those who stayed still “are struggling to make ends meet.” A woman from Novi notes Granholm’s Cool Cities initiative as misplaced while the state hasn’t raised per-pupil school aid in three years, and quotes a Detroit mom, “In other words, it’s OK to be dumb as long as we’re cool. What a joke.” Perhaps that best describes Granholm.

The treason committed here is by an aloof and arrogant politician who now most obviously proves on the international stage she cannot lead this Great Lakes state.    

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