Government Blockades Ridiculous

May 5, 2008
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West Michigan companies this week “celebrate” World Trade Week, and although hors d’oeuvres will be served, the greatest amount of time will be spent in assisting others to understand and achieve international business success.

Those learning opportunities and shared successes are all the more important set against the backdrop of a Michigan legislature hell-bent on a legacy of ineptitude. In the past week, Republican House members held initial hearings in Grand Rapids regarding the new Michigan Business Tax, and lived to set another round of hearings across the state.

Consider the word choice of State Sen. Mark Jansen, chair of the MBT Impact Assessment Subcommittee, who announced “a road show to gather input from taxpayers ….” (The next hearing in Grand Rapids is 3-5 p.m., Thursday, May 8, at Davenport University, Lettinga Campus). Consider, too, that State Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop, R-Rochester, delivered a media advisory defining Capital Outlay legislation, followed by a cryptic comment regarding “out of control spending by state government.”

There was no mention of the fact that every airport in the state has been placed in a hostage situation by the fluke of federal aviation funds that, in Michigan, pass through the Capital Outlay budget. Apparently the airports will not get those federal funds, as state legislators use Capital Outlay approval process for political games. If those funds are not released, the federal government will disburse the money to other states. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is among those from whom the state is stealing money (see story on page 3) and so, too, are the businesses dependent upon West Michigan’s largest airport — all during World Trade Week.

It is important to reiterate that business survives despite government in these united states of commerce, but it may be more important to note it may do so not by moving to Indiana, but by moving to the European nations now investing heavily in the U.S., especially in West Michigan where lack of “critical mass” makes especially second-tier investment difficult (at best) to obtain. The delicate balance in the flat world now favors foreign investors with substantial foreign currency reserves, cash and a current U.S. trade account balance (like China, a focus during World Trade Week).

During the Jim Blanchard gubernatorial reign, Michigan residents commonly commented that “the last person to leave Michigan” should turn out the lights.

We’ll leave that to the legislature — should it even notice the last flight is outbound.

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