MARQUETTE (WWJ) – Could Michigan’s Upper Peninsula become the nation’s 51st state? It’s an idea that’s being discussed by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners.

Officials there say residents are upset about declining state aid for schools and a proposed new tax on a sulfide mining operations.

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“They’re not happy with how much money they send to Lansing versus how much they send back up here,” County Commissioner Mike Quayle told WWJ Newsradio 950.

Quayle said the talks he’s been hearing from constituents is no joke.

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“At first I just chuckled at it and laughed like everybody else does. And then the more I started thinking about it .. then I thought, you know what? Maybe we have to send a message loud and clear.”

Quayle said they are considering having Northern Michigan University conduct a feasibility study on a break away.

“The likelihood of it happening? I don’t know. But I think, privately, a lot of private citizens say, ‘Yay team. Let’s do this. It’s long overdue,'” he said.

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The idea is nothing new. Efforts to pass legislation to form a new state reportedly failed by a single vote in 1975.