March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Michigan promotes right to work as ‘once-in-a-lifetime transformation’ in Pure Michigan campaign


Wednesday, Jan. 9 — If at first you succeed, rub your opponents' faces in the bitter stench of your underhanded victory.

That’s one interpretation of the state’s new marketing strategy that uses its beloved “Pure Michigan” campaign to announce the state’s open business environment. It makes specific mention of the state’s “once-in-a-generation transformation” of becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state. A full-page ad appeared in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal titled, “What happens when Michigan makes history.”

Along with passing right to work, the ad also touts a new flat, 6 percent business tax, the elimination of a tax on business’ personal property and “streamlined regulatory processes.”

The Pure Michigan campaign is run through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. A Pure Michigan spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it decided on the WSJ, the country’s flagship newspaper for business news, which also has the highest circulation of any U.S. paper.

The Wall Street Journal’s advertising rate card lists a full-page, non-contractual color ad for $55,221 a day.

The ad doesn’t mention the thousands of protesters at the Capitol last month opposing the bill in the final hours of the Legislature’s 2012 lame duck session. Gov. Rick Snyder had said since he was elected in 2010 that right to work wasn’t on his agenda because it was too contentious an issue. He hopped on board, he said, after the issue reached a critical mass and he felt he had to take a position.

We learned of the ad from City Pulse book reviewer Bill Castanier, who wrote on “… Michigan did make history with passage of the recent Right-to-work law and it got me thinking about the idiom often attributed to Winston Churchill: ‘History is written by the victors.’”

Here’s the full text of the ad. We envision Tim Allen’s soothing narration describing this “perfect storm” of business, labor and contentious politics:

“It’s a new day for business in Michigan. Michigan is the newest Right-to-Work state. This once-in-a-generation transformation has Michigan poised to become a preferred place to do business. Michigan has also redesigned incentive programs, streamlined regulatory processes, approved legislation to eliminate personal property taxes and launched a new flat 6% business tax, giving the state its most competitive position in decades. The perfect storm of opportunity, resources and passion is Pure Michigan.”