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State budget has real-life implications

We understand those of us who have watched the bickering and blaming in Lansing over the state budget and see it as one more exhibit proving government’s dysfunction, one more reason to throw up your hands and disengage.

It’s hard to be inspired when our leaders, unable to find common ground, throw up their hands near the 11th hour and leave us the apparent choice of a state government shutdown or, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer decided, $1 billion in spending cuts through line-item vetoes.

But, as Steve Schulwitz showed us in Monday’s edition, the outcome of those debates have real-life implications right here in Northeast Michigan.

In a front-page story on Monday, Schulwitz showed us how $11 million in state grant funding over the last eight years have helped beautify our community and spurred economic development. From Starlite Beach and its splash pad ($410,000 in total funding) to the ongoing renovations of the former Dry Dock building downtown ($623,000) to our new dog park along the Thunder Bay River ($5,000), state grants have ignited local investments and allowed Alpena to accomplish tasks that otherwise would likely be impossible.

The state budget that took effect Oct. 1 slashes funding to the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the primary vehicle for most of those $11 million in grants.

And that is just one sliver of the state’s multibillion-dollar budget that affects Northeast Michigan.

So, if you believe your representatives in Lansing are failing you, it is not the time to grow apathetic or throw up your hands in frustration, however understandable that impulse may be.

Nay, now is the time to get more involved. To write your representative (state Rep. Sue Allor, S-1485 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, Michigan, 48909 or SueAllor@house.mi.gov), senator (state Sen. Jim Stamas, P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7536 or SenJStamas@senate.michigan.gov), or governor (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, Michigan, 48909) and tell them how they ought to behave.

Remind them of the power you have at the ballot box, and then make sure you exercise that power.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)