Michiganders were none too happy to discover that a Pure Michigan travel guide touting the state's natural and homegrown wonders is put together by an editorial staff in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle first reported that an editorial team working for Midwest Living magazine receives $1.5 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to write, design and produce the guide.
The MEDC is a public-private state agency tasked with promoting overall economic growth in the state, as well as attracting jobs and tourism. Spokeswoman Michelle Begnoche told the paper the arrangement with Midwest Living was "the best value for the price and we got the most out of it.”
“We work very hard to work with Michigan companies, but we want to make sure the product we’re delivering is consistent and has the quality and the distribution," she added.
However, reactions posted on social media showed that people didn't see eye-to-eye with that reasoning, with many wondering why those jobs couldn't go to an in-state team for the task.
There was also very simple incredulity, summed up with one one fed-up person's post on the Pure Michigan Facebook page: "Seriously guys, IOWA?! REALLY?!?!?!"
Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer seized the opportunity to call on Gov. Rick Snyder to stop spending taxpayer money that pays for the travel guide out-of-state and started a petition so others can ask why the governor spent $1.5 million on a firm that's based in Iowa.
"I have no doubt that there are a number of Michigan businesses that could produce the Pure Michigan Travel Guide right here in Michigan, putting Michiganders to work in the process,” Schauer said in a statement.
“Gov. Snyder's actions to outsource this business and our tax dollars to Iowa indicate that he feels otherwise. With Michigan's unemployment rate still one of the highest in the nation, I can't understand why the MEDC would spend $1.5 million to create jobs in Iowa."
Though the Pure Michigan moniker is used widely by residents trying to show their home state a little love, this isn't the first time the program has attracted controversy. In January, a Wall Street Journal ad promoting the state's new controversial right-to-work laws used the term. After blowback over a perceived politicizing of the Pure Michigan name, the MEDC said it would put advertising for right to work on hold.
Pure Michigan lovers and cynics alike have laughed over the parody Pure Michigan video series produced by John Kerfoot
And then, of course, there's the campaign most absurd detractor -- Ted Nugent, who called the campaign a "facade" and took issue with its refusal to put a photograph of a dead salmon on promotional materials. He might be the only one with that axe to grind, however.
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