Arguing that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has “single-handedly exacerbated the negative effects” of the coronavirus pandemic on the state’s financial health, calling it an “overreach and suppression of our economy,” Michigan State Senator Aric Nesbitt from Lawton has responded to an editorial in the Detroit News that contends, “We are fast approaching a point of no return,” and calling on the governor to “put forth a path for recovery that more effectively and swiftly puts our economy back in motion.”
The editorial was penned by Pat O’Keefe, founder and CEO of O’Keefe Consulting, a Bloomfield Hills-based restructuring firm.
Recognizing that the pandemic is not Whitmer’s fault, O’Keefe suggests that “the fortitude to be responsible and strategic in repositioning our economy rests at her doorstep.” He goes on to address the growing budget deficits in light of reduced incomes and record unemployment, and adds, “There is no money tree in Lansing.”
O’Keefe’s main point is that there seems to be no sense or responsible and thoughtful urgency, and the impact for business is dire. Contending “an economic restart is complicated and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will become — if it succeeds at all,” O’Keefe says Michigan residents deserve hope and future prosperity for our children,” and concludes, “We simply cannot afford failure.”
Senator Nesbitt responded to a Facebook post that shared a link to the Detroit News editorial comments, saying, “We can and must open Michigan up safely and get back to work.”
Here’s the full context of his response:
“Our economy in Michigan was strong as we entered this crisis thanks to fiscal responsibility and sound economic policy. Over the last decade we paid down debt, passed balanced budgets, cut burdensome rules and regulations, and properly funded our priorities. Our jobless rates were at an all-time low, as closed store fronts were being replaced with signs reading “Help Wanted”; funding for education and roads were consistently at record levels; and our unemployment trust fund was the best funded in the Midwest.
The pandemic hit and we are in a health crisis that is inflicting significant harm to our economy.
The Governor has single-handedly exacerbated the negative effects this crisis has had on our financial health with her overreach and suppression of our economy. Our neighbor, Ohio, is looking at half the unemployment rate we will have and a quarter of the budget deficit our state is facing. They also have one-third of the deaths. People from the U.P. are going into Wisconsin to spend their hard-earned money. Constituents from right here in Southwest Michigan are going to Indiana to do the same. We can and must open Michigan up safely and get back to work. Business owners know what they need to do to operate safely and effectively. Let’s trust Michiganders and challenge all of us to practice good hygiene and take common-sense precautions against this virus. The longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it will be to revitalize our economy and continue to protect public health.”