Spinning Windmills and Movie Reels for Michigan?

Give Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm credit for truthfulness. Her State of the State speech included this statement: "Any honest assessment of our state’s economy has got to recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better."

As for some of the specifics in the address, Granholm appears to have adopted the "promise everything and see what sticks" approach. A few examples from this Detroit News summary:

  • Following the lead of several people currently in power in Washington, she is denouncing coal. A potential moratorium on new coal-fired plants and a "45 by 20" plan that calls for a 45% reduction in fossil fuels by 2020 sounds nice, but doesn’t pass the realism test.
  • As for no utility shutoffs, a one-year freeze on car insurance rates and no home foreclosures without 90-day notices. These are great for consumers to hear, but can businesses survive and thrive with those restrictions?
  • In education, "Promise Zones" to help provide college tuition for the needy and "Algebra for All" to better prepare teachers offer hope for improvement.
  • And, if the green energy industry doesn’t help the auto woes, there is state money proposed for an $86 million animation movie studio in Detroit, and a $54 million movie studio in Detroit. What?

Sure, Indiana might compete with our neighbors to the north in some business aspects. But in looking beyond state borders, a stronger Michigan would likely mean a stronger region to the benefit of all.

The economic hole is a deep one. Good luck! You’re going to need it.

Big and Blue: Michigan’s Unemployment Rising, Tax Revenues Shrinking

Michigan is a beautiful state, but right now its economic situation isn’t. The Detroit News offered this article yesterday articulating just how true the phrase "no rest for the weary" is becoming for the Great Lakes State, noting a projected unemployment rate of 11% coupled with declining tax revenues:

Michigan’s jobless rate will top 11 percent in each of the next two years and state tax receipts this year will come in $870 million below estimates made in May due to the languishing economy, according to a revenue forecast released Wednesday.

The House Fiscal Agency report says unemployment in Michigan, which was 8.4 percent in 2008, will rise to 11.3 percent this year and 11.4 percent in 2010. The jobless mark will peak at 11.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the report predicts.

"Michigan’s economy and state revenue will be significantly affected by the national recession, the weakened level of motor vehicle sales, the tight credit conditions, and the financial condition of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and their suppliers," the report says.

Senate Approves Great Lakes Compact

Good news from D.C. as the Senate just approved the Great Lakes Compact, which is supported by the Indiana Chamber. The eight-state agreement is designed to keep Great Lakes water in the region and protect this valuable natural resource.

Now the measure will head to Congress, where it will be voted on following the five-week Congressional break. No "School House Rock" video is yet available of the compact waiting for the House to return. However, it may go something like this:

"I’m just a waitin’

But they’re on a vacation

So I’m stuck here on Capitol Hilllllllll

I’d love to be a law

For Erie, Gary and Saginaw

But for now I’m just a lonely old billllllll."

Note: Ok, it’s technically a joint resolution and not a bill, but that’s a much harder rhyme to pull off.