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Auchter's Art: Using taxpayer money for free market subsidies

Mar 9, 2018

Next week, March 11–17, is Sunshine Week. For us Michiganders, the timing may seem a little off. It is squarely in the hopeless stage of our long, gray winter — what's this talk of "sunshine"? That's just mean.

Nevertheless, the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press use this week each year to promote the importance of access to public information. Sunshine is a symbol for our communities to have transparent access to what's going on in our government. The tagline is: "It's Your Right to Know."

And certainly, when another state makes a play to draw a significant amount of Great Lakes water outside of the Great Lakes basin, we have the right to know. Thank goodness we do know because the Scott Walkers of the world have proven over and over they are not inclined toward full disclosure. It's not in their best interest (and their best interest is typically their only interest).

To be fair, Wisconsin is not the only state challenged by balancing economic development with environmental protection. We in Michigan are always grappling with how best to take care of our most valuable natural resource — fresh water: Should we let Nestle expand its bottled water operation? Should we allow a new potash mine to draw millions of gallons of groundwater?

Plus, it's not like Michigan hasn't gone down the dicey tax break path with solar panel manufacturing and batteries for electric cars. Truth be told, our own free market capitalist GOP governor made a "government picks the winners and losers" bid at Foxconn. But Walker and Wisconsin way outbid us. Way outbid. One could even say absurdly outbid.

So let 'em have it. We'll see how viable LED screen manufacturing is in 25 years when their investment is scheduled to begin paying off. But let's be suspicious about diverting water outside the Great Lakes basin to do it. Let the sunshine so we know what's going on.

John Auchter is a freelance editorial cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.