A new federal study has found that free business advertising on Michigans websites is “a waste of resources” and “unnecessary.”
“It’s not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” said Robyn Morrison, who heads the Canadian Association of Business Directors’ Michigan office.
“It seems to me that it’s a waste in terms of taxpayer resources.”
The report by the Michigan-based Association of Canadian Business Directors (ACBD) found that Michigan’s Department of Economic Development (DE) spends $4.5 million per year on advertising on its website.
The Michigan legislature has earmarked nearly $4 million for that purpose.
“The Department of Business Development is spending $4,000 to $5,000 on advertising every single day, every single month, on the website, and there’s no justification for it,” Morrison said.
The report is the latest of many reports that have revealed the growing problem of government advertising.
A 2014 survey from the University of Ottawa found that a quarter of the Canadian population does not have a bank account.
“I’m pretty sure there’s probably a couple million people that don’t have any bank accounts, and that’s a pretty small percentage,” Morrison told CBC News.
“There’s a huge gap between the numbers that exist in Canada and the numbers we know in Michigan.”
“This is a state where people have very little access to the banks and we’re spending $3,000 a month on a government website for free.”
Government ads are an important way to advertise on government websites.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has previously said that the agency can’t “prohibit free ads from being placed on public channels.”
The Michigan study found that DE spent about $8,500 on advertising between March 2013 and March 2014.
It said DE’s advertising budget would have increased by $4M if it had used that money for ads.
“We’re spending about $5 million to $6 million a year, on advertising, and we know that if we had spent that money, we could have used that $6 to $7 million to invest in other programs that would have improved our economy and our quality of life,” Morrison explained.
Morrison said that while DE has a website, it is not as well-designed as other states in Michigan.
“You have to pay a fee to get to the website and then the ads that you see are not very good,” she said.
“If you’re a small business, you’re not paying that fee.”
Michigan’s advertising spending could be better if the state could create more local business directories.
But Morrison said the state has not done that.
“DE doesn’t have a directory system.
We have a system that’s based on the same advertising that’s being done in the federal government, so that’s not a good system,” she added.
Morrison also said that Michigan should have a dedicated office for business owners who want to advertise.
“Our goal should be to make sure that we’re educating the public on what’s going on with government advertising, but also providing that information in a way that allows us to have an efficient system for business,” Morrison added.
In Michigan, the average advertising fee is about $250, and a majority of business owners pay no fee at all.
“A lot of people think that if they’re making a lot of money they should be able to go out and buy a TV for themselves, but in Michigan, it’s really hard to do that,” Morrison noted.
“And it’s not fair to the people that actually need it.”
The state has been trying to improve its online advertising system for years, and recently set up a website for businesses that want to start a business.
But the Michigan government has not created a dedicated online advertising office.
In addition, some states have made some changes to their websites in recent years.
The federal government says that states should make their websites easier to use and more responsive.
It’s also trying to encourage businesses to create online advertising directories, as some states are.
However, many states have struggled with the creation of those directories.
In the past, some of the best information about businesses was shared on Facebook and Twitter, but now the companies are starting to make it easier for people to find out about businesses in their community.
“When you look at the data, the numbers are so high, that it really puts a damper on the concept of ‘go to town’ ads,” Morrison concluded.
“That’s not really what we’re trying to accomplish, and it doesn’t feel good to be honest.”