By Cindy Denby
Our state looks much different than it did a year ago. We have implemented significant reform to get Michigan back on track and the results have begun to show. Just last week, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that Michigan's personal income growth rate is at the highest level in a decade, and also is the best among the Great Lakes states. In 2011, Michigan's personal income increased 5.2 percent, exceeding the national personal income growth rate.
This is only the second time since 1995 that Michigan's annual growth rate exceeded the national level. The data follows the recent decline in Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (which dropped to 8.8 percent in February). This was the seventh consecutive decline in unemployment and the lowest rate in nearly four years.
Part of getting Michigan back on track was choosing sound investments that will benefit Michigan taxpayers. One of the expenditures that the Michigan House focused on during the last year was providing $14 million to continue Pure Michigan advertising in 2011. Tourism has always been a major industry for our state, but that investment and decision to push the Pure Michigan brand paid off more than anyone could have expected.
New studies show that last summer's Pure Michigan campaign brought in record numbers of visitors from other states last year. Summer advertising alone generated 3.2 million trips to Michigan and visitors spent $1 billion at Michigan businesses, paying $70 million in Michigan taxes. This is a $4.90 return for every tax dollar invested in the program.
The success of Pure Michigan is just another indication that our state is heading in the right direction. In budgeting for next year and beyond, we will continue to look at successful programs like Pure Michigan that create jobs and strengthen our economy.
If you have any questions or need assistance with any state issues, please call me toll free at 866-828-4863 or via email at CindyDenby@house.mi.gov.