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Upper Peninsula Statehood - A Bridge Too Far

by: Buster Vainamoinen

Tue May 01, 2012 at 17:36:49 PM EDT

(From the diaries ... fulfilling my end of a challenge! - promoted by Eric B.)

Some wags have over the years (since 1858) made noise about the idea of the Upper Peninsula splitting off from Michigan and becoming it’s own state. In 1962, an independence organization submitted a succession bill with 20,000 petition signatures to the Michigan Legislature. Laughably – this represented less than half the number of signatures that would have been needed to get this bill considered.

Like greasy pasty burps, independent statehood for the Upper Peninsula keeps coming up.

The current (increasingly-ridiculous) discussion of this is being fueled by dissatisfaction with a proposal for changes in taxation for a proposed “sulfide mine” (as the copper/nickel mine is called by opponents). A potential severance tax for non-ferrous mining operations proposed by State Rep. Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) could shortchange the local schools and municipalities that rely on revenue from the mining industry currently.

Buster Vainamoinen :: Upper Peninsula Statehood - A Bridge Too Far

If you want to make a Yooper sad you can do one of two things – you either tell him that you don’t like rutabaga in your pasty or you point out that this region that Thomas Jefferson called “Sylvania,” if it were successfully split off into its own state, would be the least populous state in the union and would have (in the city of Marquette) the smallest capital city of any state in the union. But these infrastructure issues are just a distraction from the fact that there are forces who would like to fiddle around with the tax structure for taxes on mining even though the Kennecott Eagle Mine isn’t scheduled to extract even one ounce of minerals from until 2013.

Huuki himself is on record as saying that he doesn’t exactly know what the result of his proposed bill would be for the local governments although he also wants us to know that he’s sure that the amount of money coming into the local coffers would be the same (somehow).

The online discussion of statehood has become heated due to the perception that Upper Michigan now has a lower unemployment rate than Lower Michigan and some Yoopers are beginning to feel that Lower Michigan has become a drag on their prosperity. Long-standing feelings of antipathy that some Yoopers feel towards their “Troll” neighbors “under the bridge” are causing this discussion to generate a lot of heat, but not much light.

The distraction of this statehood discussion could be made to go away with a cursory glace at Article IV Sec 3 of the US Constitution, which reads: “no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State…without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.” I can’t imagine the state legislature authorizing this any time soon (let alone the US Congress) but as usual the facts don’t seem to be getting in the way of a good argument.

Besides - I think we'd be selling ourselves short if we became our own state.  If we're going to do anything - we should set our sights higher.... like becoming a Canadian Province. 

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The first thing you learn in Yooperland is it ain't pasty without the rutabaga. You also learn there is an area along the MI/WI border near Watersmeet. Now, those of us who live in that end of the U.P. find ourselves saddled with Rep. Huuki who wants to zero out any tax paid by any business. He also advocates more wild pig farms since they are "good farmimg practice"and also attract an army of hunters who pour money into the local economy without the need to tax them. The fact the pigs raise hell with the environment is of no consequence to him.

Then we have Tom Casperson in the Senate. He's committed to seeing to it that all state lands come under ownership/supervision. These are lands you and I use that currently supervised by the DNR. Casperson would have the lands sold via  a process that only people with big bucks could participate in. Then he's trying to see to it the people pay for road improvements that benefit only the logging and trucking interests. Oddly enough, he has a trucking business that would benefit from such a ripoff.

Once upon a time the idea of Superiorland appealed to lots of yoopers. Given the current state of things in Lansing and the possibility Huuki and Casperson becoming members of Superiorland's Legislature most of us yoopers find ourselves between rock and a hard place.  


"pig farming"
I just don't get this whole "wild boar" thing.  They advertise that you can come to their "game preserve" and "Hunt dangerous game."   Then they tell the lawmakers that this is all about raising harmless little piggies which people with more money than brains come and shoot for fun.  


Are you clients coming to a farm to shoot tame pigs or are they taking their lives in their hands going man-to-beast?  

[ Parent ]
Montpelier Vermont is 1/3 the size of Marquette, according
to Wikipedia.

U.P. Population Stats
According to the 2010 U.S. Census:

Montpelier (city), Vermont -- 7,855 total people in the city limits

Marquette (city), Michigan -- 21,355 total people in the city limits

Upper Peninusala, Michigan -- 311,361 total people in all 15 counties combined

Vermont (state) -- 625,741 total people in the state

Wyoming (state) -- 563,626 total people in the lowest-population current state.

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." -- Harry S Truman

[ Parent ]

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