Senator Garcia’s statement is as follows:
I have been a supporter of Pure Michigan from the very moment it was introduced into the room. By that, I mean I was the Senate representative for the Governor’s 21st Century Jobs Fund legislation. Senator Ken Sikkema asked me to represent the Senate in the discussions and negotiations. At the last minute, the administration put in for the proposal to have $15 million used to fund Pure Michigan. We agreed to that. We thought it was a good thing to do, but we said that you need to understand that after the $15 million is gone, that’s it. There’s no more. Well, those are famous last words.
My point is that the original concept for the 21st century jobs program was four areas we were supposed to focus on, and those were to diversify the economy. If you did your homework, and I did on this issue, you go back to 1986 when the Strategic Fund was first introduced and the language that defined what it was going to do was for the purpose to diversify the economy. From 1986-2006, we did not do that. The 21st Century Jobs Fund was intended to do that.
The Governor and I have not always agreed, but this is an area that I agreed on. My concern about the 21st century jobs money to fund Pure Michigan is that we are diluting the program. This is the fear I had when we first started out was that somewhere down the road, a Legislature would come along and say, “Oh, we got an extra pot of money here—$75 million. Let’s do this with it. Let’s spend this money on it. It’s a good program.” Ultimately, it defeats and dilutes the original intent of the legislation and the program.
I support Pure Michigan. I think they are doing a great job. I had to vote against this because I believe that it diluted and defeats the original intent of the 21st century jobs program.
Senator Cassis’ statement is as follows:
On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, we found an editorial opinion in the Midland Daily News entitled, “Should tax payers fund Pure Michigan program?” I am just going to read very briefly because what they concluded is what I have concluded for quite some time, and it is the reason I am voting “no.”
“With so much good coming from the Pure Michigan campaign, you have to wonder why the MLTA and other tourism groups don’t step up and agree to pay the $25 million themselves? And if the campaign is so good at generating taxes for state government, why are lawmakers so willing to slash its budget?” Good questions. “Here’s the bottom line: The private sector should be paying to promote tourism in Michigan, not the state government (i.e. the taxpayers).” I repeat: “The private sector should be paying to promote tourism in Michigan, not the state government (i.e. the taxpayers).”
It is a sad day when private industry—private interests—look to the government to support their interests. This is a move away from entrepreneurism in its best sense, and it’s time we take a serious look, my friends. Plus, finally, this bill adds a green chemistry concept. What is that? Except, when I look at who is benefiting from it, another very possible special interest earmark. This is not a good reason to support this bill.