Governor Snyder, and his town criers (a.k.a. your elected officials), tell us that one of their top priorities is to stop college graduates from leaving the state. In 2007, the last year I could find hard data on, the state lost about 18,000 college graduates. In the past decade, Michigan is the only state to lose population. Detroit suffered the largest lost with a drop of over 237,000 residents. The state as a whole only netted a loss of around 55,000. Governor Snyder doesn’t seem too concerned about the loss of urban citizens. However, he is concerned about the loss of college graduates and likes to use the issue as justification for his record breaking business tax cut.
While jobs are an important factor in the “should I stay or should I go” decision, they are but one factor. A recent study showed that one third of people who left the state had a job offer in the state. Perhaps they chose to leave for better weather or for other lifestyle choices. A study by Michigan College Foundation confirmed that 90% of soon to be college graduates want a stable economy and a good job. However, 94% wanted to live in an affordable area, something Michigan is known for. About 84% wanted strong K-12 schools and lifetime learning opportunities (i.e. colleges), areas in which Snyder has made cuts. Some 83% of people wanted a safe area to live in. Snyder’s cut to revenue sharing for cities will mean less pubic safety workers and he has also made cuts to the Michigan Sate Police. About 82% of respondents wanted a vibrant community, 77% wanted after hour opportunities, and 76% wanted to live in a place that had quality transportation and that is easy to navigate. For these things Snyder has no plan.
There is another way to boost Michigan’s population of college educated workers. We can do better than 35th in the country in the number of college graduates. One way would be to invest in K-12 education so more students are prepared for college. However, the Governor favors cuts to K-12 education. So the option of making college more affordable for those who are prepared seems reasonable. However, Snyder also cut funding for colleges and universities which means large tuition increases are on the way. A radical proposal like making college free for every student with good grades by adding as little as 1 cent to the sales tax would be out of the question I’m sure. After all, that would be a tax that would effect everyone proportionally, something Snyder seems to be against.
So we know Snyder ingores much of the data on why college graduates leave the state. We also know he is missing out on opportunities to address that very problem he seems to be so concerned about. But get this. Snyder also ignores some important data on how to create the jobs. A recent study shows that the states that have made the biggest spending cuts have the weakest economies. Yet more spending cuts is just what the Governor has prescribed!
Snyder is a self proclaimed nerd. People who consider themselves nerds are really good, or even great, at a understanding a certain subject or discipline. They tend to fixate on that thing, be it computers, math, astronomy, etc. They come to understand and master every component of it. However, Governor Snyder does not seem to fully understand the one thing he is fixated on, job creation. How can this be? I guess the voters wanted a nerd but all they got was this dork!