May 23, 2007

Shortsighted Senate GOP proposal kills job creation

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus provided a perfect example of the ill-effects caused by the short-sighted decision by the Michigan Senate Republicans to try and make up the $800 million budget deficit with cuts alone by mortgaging the future and ensuring that even deeper cuts will have to be made in the future to balance the budget.

Earlier this month the Senate GOP voted to cut almost $300 million from the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The 21st Century Jobs Fund – part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation –was created with strong bipartisan support to stimulate and diversify our economy. It’s an investment to spur further investment and job creation, with an emphasis on high tech investment, instead of relying on just one industry, the automotive industry, to make our economy grow.

Senate Democratic Leader Mark Schauer of Battle Creek summed it up best when he called the decision "irresponsible and reckless. They put the state at risk and mortgage the future."

Hamburg Township entrepreneur Kyle Schwulst, with his expanding company ElectroJet Inc., has developed an emission-reducing device for a variety of small gasoline engines. Schwulst was promised roughly $1 million through the 21st Century Jobs Fund to hire additional staff and move his operation from a pole barn to 6,000 square feet of office space in Brighton.

The P & A reports a 45-day hold has been placed on all 21st Century Jobs Fund accounts, Schwulst said, while legislators hash out the program's future. He also said Indiana offers a grant, rather than loan, program similar to the 21st Century Jobs Fund that is already attracting small businesses in Michigan to the neighboring state, yet the Governor is blamed when companies move out of the state.

This is just one small company in one of Michigan’s 83 counties. I’m sure there are more companies out there that are being similarly affected. It’s time for the Republicans to start looking to the future instead of trying to make Democrats look bad and trying to get back the power they lost.

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