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State Office Of The Auditor General Examining The Pure Michigan Campaign

Jul 27, 2017

"Welcome to Pure Michigan" Sign
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The multi-million dollar Pure Michigan campaign is getting an evaluation.  The state Auditor General started a review this week.


Representatives Steven Johnson (R-Wayland) and Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) asked for the audit.  Johnson said he wants to make sure the campaign is a good deal for taxpayers.

“I like the ads, too.  I think they’re, you know, they’re nice to see on TV.  They make me feel good about Michigan,” he said.  “But it’s millions of dollars that we’re spending, and that money doesn’t come from nowhere.  That comes from the hardworking taxpayers of Michigan.” 

The details of a potential audit have yet to be released by the Auditor General.  But Michelle Grinnell is with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  It oversees Pure Michigan.  She said the review is limited to Pure Michigan’s annual return on investment report. 

“We stand by that study,” said Grinnell.  “However, we are, again, happy to have the Office of the Auditor General review that and will work with them on that process.”

The state has long claimed the Pure Michigan campaign brings business and tourists to Michigan.  A recent study commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation says the state gets back eight dollars in tax revenue for every dollar spent. 

Some organizations have disagreed with the findings. 

The conservative think tank, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, released a report in 2016.  It said that the state gets two cents back for every dollar invested.  

“We just want to make sure, first and foremost, that taxpayer money is being spent wisely,” said Johnson.  “And we’ve seen several reports showing that the Pure Michigan campaign was not effective.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org