By Steve Murch
Baseball is officially underway. My mind is happy again, so …
- I’m not sure I understand why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer decided to add 28 stipulations to the sale of the shuddered Ionia Correction Facility for it to be used as a detention center for immigrants who were suspected of entering the country illegally. According the Detroit News, the project would have created around 225 jobs that would have averaged $68,000 per year … over $15 million annually. And those jobs were just directly attached to the facility, not any ancillary jobs that may have been created. I understand she didn’t want any families separated, but there is no way to guarantee that. The separation could happen at any point along the process and there would be no way to know where it occurred. Nothing is truly guaranteed in life, except that none of us will leave this life alive. So now the facility – and those jobs – go to Illinois – and Michigan still has an empty building (and 46 acre parcel) just sitting there. While $785,100 isn’t a big difference in a huge budget, it’s still something.
- Whitmer’s gas tax proposal in the state budget has raised the ire of many, while many have come to her defense. All we have to do is look at the state of our roads. The other thing people forget is how harsh Michigan winters are on our roads. However, an increased gas tax is a tough pill to swallow. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it would cost Michigan drivers, on average, an additional $255 per year.
- Why Michigan has never set up a toll road of some sort is beyond me. No one wants to pay a toll but I still would be willing to do it if we would have better roads. Where to put one would be up for debate and the blow-back initially would be significant. I’ve driven through enough states that have tolls that are just a way of life I those states that I’m sure over time no one would even bat an eye here. There might be some people who refuse to drive on a toll, but after taking a different route that takes a significantly longer time they probably would realize time is also money.
- Twelve years, $430 million. The first words uttered by most people after Mike Trout’s new contract with the Angels was announced was probably: “No one is worth that kind of money.” The problem with that argument is the market dictates what someone gets paid and apparently the market says Trout is worth that. If people are tired of big contracts for sports and entertainment people then they should quit watching sports, movies and TV.
- I live in a northern Michigan county of less than 30,000. His annual salary of over $35 million is probably right around the expected lifetime earnings of the entire county. Wow.
Steve Murch is a former managing editor and award-winning columnist for The Alpena News. He’s a lifelong Michigan resident, a broken and defeated fan of the Detroit Lions and a forever optimistic fan of the Detroit Tigers. His column will appear most Thursdays.