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Business Leaders for Michigan is an organization dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. Serving as the state's business roundtable, Business Leaders for Michigan is composed of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of the state’s largest job providers and universities. Read more...

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New MI Higher Ed Council Begins Work

A unique panel of business, government and college/university leaders met today, launching a new, voluntary partnership aimed at boosting the economic contributions of Michigan’s higher education sector.

The Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council was created in response to a growing demand for educated, skilled workers in Michigan and the need to fully leverage the potential of higher education to meet that demand and drive economic growth.  The partnership is unique in that other such bodies across the nation are usually operated by government or public authorities.  

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Michigan's auto industry: A sure bet

"A sure bet."  We've all heard that line before.  But when it comes to Michigan, the auto industry remains the surest bet we can make.  Our largest industry has not only led Michigan's comeback, it also has the ability to produce tens of thousands of new, high-paying jobs if we play our cards right.  

Doug Rothwell

Technology is transforming automobiles into mobile devices that allow us to work, get informed and be entertained while we safely transport ourselves.  Michigan has an unique opportunity to diversify and grow our economy by attracting businesses that are fueling this transformation and have never considered locating here before. You may remember that BLM identified this opportunity to become the "Global Center of Mobility" in its New Michigan growth strategy.

The good news is that Michigan took a big step toward realizing its future automotive opportunities with the opening of Mcity on the University of Michigan's North Campus.  Mcity is the world's first full-service research facility specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies.  BLM is now working with a team of partners to develop additional testing centers, attract federal research, convene mobility conferences and expand education programs. 

And this is only the beginning. Michigan is ready to rev the engines of its auto sector and continue its industry leadership.  It is the surest bet that we can make for the people of our state.


BUSINESS LEADERS ECONOMIC FORECAST: In Short- and Long-Term, Job Leaders Think the MI and U.S. Economies will Stay Flat

DETROIT, Mich., July 30, 2015 – According to a survey conducted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, the majority of Michigan’s largest employers project that the Michigan and U.S. economies will remain flat in the next 6 to 18 months. 

“The majority of Michigan’s largest employers believe that the state's economy will remain essentially the same over the next six to eighteen months – and only slightly outpace the nation over the same time period,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “Recent global conditions in China, Europe and the Middle East are clearly having an impact. But Michigan’s inability to adopt a long-term road solution and talk of dramatically scaling-back economic development have also contributed to a climate of uncertainty.”

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BLM Issues Recommendations for Boosting Natural Resources Economy

DETROIT, Mich. —Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today released The Michigan Natural Resources Business Plan: Leveraging Our Assets to Make Michigan a Top Ten State,  showing how Michigan could better leverage its strengths in natural resources, from tourism to agriculture and beyond.

Currently, Michigan’s natural resource industries provide over 7 percent of all Michigan jobs, create over $32 billion in GDP, and account for over $400 billion in sales, according to the report. Exports of natural resource industry products from Michigan account for over $61 billion annually.

“Our natural assets are a powerful engine for economic growth,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO. “Managed responsibly, with careful attention to long-term environmental impact, Michigan has tremendous opportunities to harness these assets and share them—profitably—with the world.”

Natural resources was one of the six industry clusters identified in BLM’s New Michigan strategy as having the most potential to grow good paying and sustainable jobs in Michigan.  The BLM Natural Resources report identifies the industries within our natural resources sector with the greatest opportunity for growth, including tourism and outdoor recreation, agriculture and food processing, timber and renewable energy industries.

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Letter to Michigan Legislative leaders about road funding plans 

July 13, 2015

The Honorable Arlan Meekhof                                   
Senate Majority Leader
Michigan State Senate
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI  48909    

The Honorable Kevin Cotter
Speaker of the House
Michigan House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909                                     

The Honorable Jim Ananich                                                                           
Senate Minority Leader                                          
Michigan State Senate                                             
P.O. Box 30036                                                       
Lansing, MI  48909                                                 

The Honorable Tim Greimel
House Minority Leader
Michigan House of Representatives
P.O.Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909 

Dear Leaders: 

We appreciate the work you are doing to find a long-term solution to fixing our roads.  Earlier this year, Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) established five principles to evaluate road funding proposals:

  • It should provide funding sufficient to ensure good quality road and bridge conditions;
  • It should include road and bridge warranties;
  • The funding source should be sustainable and dedicated;
  • The revenue should come from the users of our roads and bridges; and 

We have serious concerns that the House and Senate road funding proposals will not meet several of these principles, because of their heavy reliance on General Fund revenues.  While we believe some General Fund monies could be part of a final solution, relying heavily on them to fund our long-term road needs isn’t sustainable and puts other critical needs at risk – ranging from potential Medicaid shortfalls and less money for community services to higher tuition bills and weaker efforts to attract jobs.  These priorities are just as important as fixing potholes.  

We continue to believe the fairest solution is one that relies on the users of our highways to pay for their upkeep and repair – gasoline taxes, registration fees or similar revenue sources.  We urge you to pass legislation that relies more heavily on user-based sources of revenue than General Funds which fund other critical services for our citizens.  Let’s get this problem solved, but solved the right way. 


Doug Rothwell
President & CEO


cc:  The Honorable Rick Snyder, Governor
       The Honorable Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor       
       Members of the Michigan Senate
       Members of the Michigan House of Representatives



Click here to download the letter