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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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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 


Business Leaders for Michigan urges support for fiscal notes

DETROIT, Mich.  – Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today issued the following statement encouraging the Michigan Legislature to provide fiscal impact statements for all legislation.

Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO said, “The adoption of fiscal notes for all legislation has been a part of our Michigan Turnaround Plan (MTP) from the beginning. Michigan businesses, residents and municipalities deserve to know how every piece of proposed legislation could affect them.

“One of the objectives of the MTP is to create an attractive and competitive environment for job providers to start or grow a business. Adopting fiscal notes for pending and enacted legislation is a piece of that puzzle, and a good step towards reducing future financial uncertainty and strengthening Michigan’s fiscal stability.

“We encourage members of the Michigan House and Senate to take a look at the new report issued by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan on this topic, which provides insight into how our fiscal agencies could provide this critical information.”

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan Report, The Cost of Legislation: Expanding Michigan's Fiscal Notes can be found at

The Michigan Turnaround Plan can be accessed at

Download the statement 


Let's Fund Roads the Right Way

We've been here before. Last year, our state leaders couldn't agree on how to fix our roads, so they crafted Proposal 1 and asked the voters to decide. We all know how that turned out. Now, we have a second chance. The House and Senate have again passed different plans for fixing our roads. This time we can't afford to fail.
But it's critical as our leaders work toward a common plan that they not fix one problem by creating others. Both plans rely on redirecting at least $700 million of income tax revenue from the General Fund to transportation - that's about 7% of the current General Fund budget. Permanently shifting that much General Fund revenue to roads will no doubt have a negative impact in other areas that are critical to Michigan's growth - areas like job training and higher education - areas that are critical to developing the talent Michigan employers need to compete.
BLM's position: Our polling shows that voters are ready to support a simple, dedicated road funding stream, built to go the distance and backed by common sense. We encourage the Legislature to find a solution that fixes our roads the right way with a long-term solution that generates enough money to fix them every year and doesn't shortchange other key priorities.

BLM issues statement in response to Senate road funding package 

DETROIT, Mich., July 1, 2015  – Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today issued the following statement in response to the road funding package passed by the Michigan Senate.

“The Senate road funding plan is an improvement over the House package. By raising the state’s gas tax, it asks the users of our system to help ensure good quality road and bridge conditions,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO.  “However, like the House plan, the Senate package redirects a significant percentage of income tax revenue from the General Fund to transportation. We remain seriously concerned about this shift and the potential negative impact it could have on other critical priorities that are important to growing jobs and our economy.”



Download the statement.