By Stephen M. Kircher
---- — There are consequences for failure. That's the simple truth.
As a state, Michigan failed to make difficult decisions for far too long. We spent money we didn't have, our tax structure penalized job creation, and we didn't take a long-term common sense approach to planning for the state's future.
The consequences were severe — we grew an unsustainable level of entitlements, our economy faltered, and the great state that our parents knew was relegated to the national image that its best days were in the past. Nobody understands this better than the hard-working people of Michigan. They bore the brunt of our economic struggles over the last decade, and many watched as their children and grandchildren left their Michigan homes for opportunity elsewhere.
But things are starting to change. The governor and House and Senate leaders are making the difficult decisions. For the last two years, our leaders passed balanced budgets without gimmicks or surprises; they spent only what the state could afford; they reduced our debt; they created a better tax system that rewards hard work and job creation; they asked for greater efficiency and accountability for our tax dollars; improved our accountability in education and government; and they prioritized investments in areas that will provide better opportunities and a brighter future for Michigan. Coupled with the state's reimaging Pure Michigan campaign, we are seeing real growth and feeling better about our future.
But the progress we've made remains at risk from the same forces that caused our decline the past 40 years. On the Nov. 6 ballot, we all will be asked to decide whether or not we give in to those forces or we keep moving Michigan forward.
Proposal 1 asks us to decide whether or not to keep the Emergency Manager Law that is helping financially troubled Michigan communities regain financial stability.
Proposals 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 ask us to decide whether or not to permanently imbed in our constitution specific labor policy, tax policy, energy policy, and road- and bridge-building policy that promotes the self-interests of particular groups at the expense of Michigan's hardworking taxpayers and our children and grandchildren by making it more costly to live, work, and raise a family here.
To continue moving Michigan forward on a path to more opportunity and a brighter future for Michigan where we all benefit, Business Leaders for Michigan supports keeping the Emergency Manager Law and opposes the proposed amendments that attempt to entrench special interests in our constitution forever. We cannot afford to return to the days of out-of-control spending, no accountability, and our children and grandchildren moving away for greener pastures.
At Business Leaders for Michigan, our vision is to make Michigan a Top Ten state for job, economic and personal income growth. The work to achieve that vision has started, but much work remains. Let's keep moving Michigan forward and get the job done.
About the author: Stephen M. Kircher is president of Boyne Resorts' Eastern Operations. Business Leaders for Michigan; by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Business Leaders for Michigan is the state's business roundtable, composed of the chairpersons, CEOs or most senior executives of the state's largest job providers and universities.
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