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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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It's Time to Eliminate Michigan's Personal Property Tax

Tomorrow, Michigan voters will decide the future of the state's personal property tax. Businesses, seniors, law enforcement and communities across the state have joined together to urge elimination of this tax, which penalizes new investment and hurts growth.

It's long past time Michigan's outdated personal property tax was eliminated.  We've all heard the stories-businesses that bought equipment a half-century ago or more, and have been paying tax on that equipment every single year since-but the truth goes much deeper than that.

If we're going to make Michigan a top ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy, we need to keep pace with our competitors in the U.S. and across the globe. The states MI competes with most abandoned this 19th-century method of taxation long ago. They are welcoming new investment, not punishing it.

Even those who receive the personal property tax revenue each year are eager to find a new approach.  The amount of money brought in by the tax tends to fluctuate wildly, leaving local government without a stable, dependable revenue stream.  They, too, would like to bring Michigan into the 21st century.

BLM's view:  BLM strongly endorses the passage of Proposal 1.  We've improved our corporate tax climate, developed friendlier policy and regulatory frameworks, and are nurturing a workforce that is among the nation's finest.  Now we need to remove the last barrier to lasting economic growth-the personal property tax. 


Business Leaders for Michigan Takes "Michigan Ambassador Program" to Washington D.C. 

Top corporate CEOs, joined by Governor Snyder, meet national  executives with strong Michigan ties

Washington D.C., July 31, 2014 — Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state's business roundtable, today brought leading corporate executives to Washington D.C. to meet with Michigan “alumni” to talk about Michigan’s reestablished position as a leading location for business development and expansion.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined executives in emphasizing the state’s progress on key factors that lead to economic expansion.     

“In just a few short years, Michigan has transformed its business climate,” said Doug Rothwell, Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO. “The steps Michigan has taken to become more competitive have paid off.  Our tax climate has flipped from one of the nation’s worst to one of the best, Michigan is a national leader in terms of R&D and talent production and Michigan’s per capita GDP, per capita income and employment have all grown faster than the national average.”

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Proposal 1 is Good for Michigan

Imagine you buy a new laptop.  You pay for the computer (with 6 percent Michigan sales tax, of course), but then you learn you are not done.  You must also pay a tax on that laptop every year from now on, over and over again. Would you buy that computer? 

This is the calculation businesses must make every time they consider buying a new machine, piece of furniture, or other technology here in MI. For generations, personal property taxes have been levied against business investment in our state -a real disincentive to jobs and economic growth. 

It's time for the personal property tax to be eliminated. It's tough enough to attract job providers in a competitive global economy; let's not make it harder by adding a tax structure that just doesn't make sense.This August, MI voters have a chance to eliminate it with Proposal 1. 

Some might think that local units of government who rely on the personal property tax as a source of revenue would want to keep it, right?  WRONG.  MI's communities have come together as major supporters of Proposal 1.  They dislike the wild revenue fluctuations associated with the tax, their inability to plan budgets, and the difficulty of administering assessments. 

It really says something when those who benefit from a particular tax want to get rid of it as much as everyone else.  That is why the MI Legislature developed a plan that will:

  • Immediately repeal the personal property tax for MI's small businesses.
  • Phase out the tax over the next decade for manufacturers.
  • Replace lost revenue for locals using a portion of the state's existing use tax, a special assessment for manufacturers, and revenue gained from ending special business tax credits. 
BLM's view: Proposal 1 is right for our state.  It eliminates the Personal Property Tax and creates a more stable funding stream for communities and  a fairer tax structure that favors new investment in MI without any new taxes for state residents.  That's all good for Michigan!

For more info, visit, and be sure to vote August 5.


State Policy Leaders Make College More Affordable to Grow Jobs

Higher education is a critical element to fueling Michigan’s economy.  Universities account for a growing share of the research and development conducted in the state that fuels the growth of start-up companies and attracts new businesses.  Today, Michigan’s public universities account for over 6% of the total state economy and have the potential to create nearly 40,000 additional jobs in Michigan in the next decade. Higher learning also boosts lifetime earning potential. Median wages for Michigan workers with a bachelor’s degree are over twice as high as those with only a high school diploma. Further, they are far less likely to be unemployed.

Our leaders in Lansing understand that a strong higher education sector is crucial for a healthy state economy.  For the third straight year, Governor Rick Snyder proposed—and the state Legislature enacted—increased state aid to universities.  For FY 2015, universities received the largest single-year increase in more than a decade, and funding has increased 11 percent over FY 2012 levels – more than most other states. 

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Focusing on Michigan's Future

The Michigan Legislature accomplished a great deal this legislative session.  In addition to investing more in higher education so college could be more affordable, they balanced the budget on time and paid down debt.  They also paved the way for Detroit's financial restructuring and the establishment of a financial oversight process to help ensure sound fiscal practices are used in delivering city services.  All of these things are very important in making Michigan a stronger state and we commend the legislature for these actions.  But MI still needs a long-term, comprehensive funding solution for maintaining quality roads and bridges in our state.  At $154 per person, MI ranks last among all states for spending on roads. Sadly, MI ranks 45th in urban road condition and has 1,354 bridges that are considered structurally deficient. Right now, the price tag to bring our roads and bridges up to good condition according to most experts is close to $2 billion. That number grows every day we do not act. We have temporarily plugged the hole using general fund dollars, but this is not sustainable and comes at the expense of other important priorities.

Fixing our roads is central to our economic future, both to protect the jobs we already have and bring more jobs to the state. The condition of our transportation system causes existing MI companies and prospective businesses to question whether MI is the right location for making new investments. Access to good highways is one of the top factors in making site location decisions.  To compete for new jobs and investment, we need to invest in our roads and bridges now.  We can't continue to use general fund dollars on short-term fixes. We urge the legislature to continue to work on a comprehensive, long-term funding solution for fixing our roads.

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