Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 2, 2013

Editorial: Cutbacks belie state's commitment

We’ve heard the mantra until ... well, until we don’t want to hear it anymore: jobs, jobs, jobs.

If Michigan had a job for every time some politician has said “Jobs are No. 1” or “jobs are our job” or some variation over the past few years, our unemployment rate wouldn’t be 8.4 percent, the 43rd worst in the country.

And if businesses had created even a fraction of the thousands of jobs many predicted would flow into the state after Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature handed out some $1.4 billion in business tax breaks soon after Snyder was elected in 2010, we wouldn’t be No. 43.

And if the jobs mantra was anything more than a meaningless platitude, the state wouldn’t have just closed the Michigan Works service center in Kalkaska, where the May unemployment rate was 9.3 percent and jobs are hard to come by.

It’s not as if the state had been putting much effort into the business of finding Kalkaska residents jobs anyway. After previous cuts, the Kalkaska service center was only open Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

And Kalkaska isn’t alone. The Petoskey service center will be cut to just three operating days per week and the Manistee service center will be downsized.

Don’t think Kalkaska residents don’t want the help. The learning lab — which is the region’s highest-attended adult education lab - will stay open four days a week. And a self-service kiosk (”For a job, press 1”) will be installed.

The cutbacks came after federal funds were slashed 35 percent as a result of the federal budget sequestration.

So instead of picking up the slack, which one might think state officials would do if there was a real commitment to workers, they closed the Kalkaska office and cut the ones in Petoskey and Manistee.

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