Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2010 03:00 PM
It’s all well and good for Michigan to attempt to turn around the state’s economy for the long haul, to create an effective transition from Rust Belt relic to high-tech industrial dynamo.
But for now, some of that long-term work will have to wait — while the Michigan tourism industry grabs for all the skiers and snowmobilers it can attract this season from elsewhere in the Midwest.
“Pure Michigan” has been a winning TV-ad campaign for the state and its tourism operators over the last few years, leveraging the mellifluous intonations of Tim Allen voiceovers and breathtaking shots of scenic Michigan, into untold millions of dollars in revenues from vacationers that the ads have attracted from across the region and beyond.
But the state’s fiscal woes caused legislators to cut Pure Michigan funding from $30 million last year to just over $5 million budgeted for 2011, prompting many in the state to worry about losing tourism business just as Michigan is trying to climb out of its economic hole.
So in one last act of fiscal rescue, outgoing Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm reached a deal with the state senate this week to take $10 million out of the state’s Jobs Fund – basically, a venture-capital fund designed to spark long-term economic growth – and restore it to Pure Michigan.
That will give the state – and native son Mr. Allen – the wherewithal to get its message out through the winter and spring about the snow-covered and vernal wonders of Michigan.
As Lawrence Hadley, concerned citizen, wrote in a letter to the Detroit Free Press this week: “The Pure Michigan campaign represents far, far more than merely generating cottage rentals Up North or even tourism in general; it’s about burnishing our tarnished national image.”