Connecting entrepreneurial dots sees private sector efficiencies

October 5, 2009
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The state legislature is hastening its own demise by making more apparent its irrelevance. Despite statewide clamor for compromise and long-term solutions in an economically challenging environment, it is leaderless in a time of such opportunity.

In the spirit of consolidation rhetoric, it would seem plausible to simply ask local governmental units and school districts to keep the money raised locally and spend it locally, as community needs dictate, rather than divvy it up along political lines based on party “majorities.” The anarchy of such an admittedly cynical idea is no less than the anarchy caused now by individuals with state powers and no reasonable intelligence to guide for the good of this state.

The root of all current issues is jobs, and not jobs that politicians wrongfully believe they create with “stimulus” funds or because it sounds like a good idea, but jobs proven to be of long-term value because they are created in the private sector by proven professionals.

Business Leaders for Michigan — a group of large employers who elect to remain in this state but are surely not required to do so … and may not — recognized the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon to provide a balanced budget last week, which was met with the stupidity of further legislative and executive branch infighting and resulted in a “temporary budget.” BLM estimates the cost of the determined infighting will now add to Michigan’s budget deficit. The result is likely to be even further cuts to state revenue sharing and education budgets.

The state funds a “cool cities” program to prevent the state’s “brain drain” of young talent, but the brain drain is not the result of living in already-existing cool cities in Michigan but rather because those “brains” can’t find jobs. The BLM members are painfully aware of the cause and consequence.

Business and community leaders must continue to speak with one voice to be heard above the destructive fray. It is important to note that even as this debacle plays on national news, BLM has already established some innovative programs within its Michigan Turnaround Plan, programs that distance real job creation from any government “help.”

One such program is funded by its Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the largest fund of its kind in the country that is privately funded. Rather than tying state economic development funds to plans that politicians think are relevant (and seen more recently as politically motivated), they are reviewed by successful leaders in the private sector and connected to those creating new products and services — which furthers the development of an entrepreneurial climate and more jobs.

The Michigan Turnaround Plan offers some solid opportunities to move above this storm, and the continued actions of the legislature prove to be otherwise.

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