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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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Entries in Competitiveness (5)


Consistency Will Build a New Michigan

Ask any business leader what they value most in a location and they'll tell you a healthy business climate is key.  And they're right. Thriving communities, a talented workforce, favorable tax and regulatory environments and strong infrastructure do matter-a lot.
But there's more to the story. If the business climate is cyclical or prone to change, it becomes very difficult for a business to make any lasting headway. Therefore, smart business leaders will add a caveat to their answer, telling you they want a consistently healthy business climate. 
Businesses typically make investments that take years to recoup. Economic, political or structural volatility prevents companies from delivering predictable results for shareholders and investors.   While MI has made great progress the past five years rebuilding our economy, there are warning signs that we're forgetting this first axiom of business success.

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Michigan's property taxes impact our competitiveness. 

Property taxes don't get as much attention as corporate tax rates as a site selection factor. But as more states improve their corporate tax competitiveness, these taxes are becoming more noticeable. For example, Michigan's property tax rates are higher than all the states to our south - which happen to be the states we most often compete against for jobs.

Learn more in the May 8, 2015 Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline article, "States Look to Deliver Relief as Property Taxes Rise." 

Property Taxes on the Rise - from the Pew Charitable Trust - Research & Analysis - Stateline


Reflecting on 2013

Dear Colleagues, 

It's the time of year when we reflect on what's been accomplished and what's left to do on our respective agendas. At Business Leaders for Michigan, we're excited about the progress MI is making to grow the economy. While we still have work ahead to reach our goal of becoming a Top Ten state, a number of Michigan Turnaround Plan objectives have been met. 

During the past year, the state's policy leaders have made strategic decisions necessary to strengthen the state's fiscal foundation. For the third consecutive year, the budget passed and signed into law was based on a two-year plan. In a move toward more efficient and effective public service, the Regional Prosperity Initiative was enacted to encourage regions to collaborate and promote economic growth. To give our children a better chance at success, our policy makers included funding to provide more under-served children access to early childhood education programs, continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards which will prepare our students for careers and college, and provided additional performance funding for our state universities. Earlier actions have made MI more competitive, including reducing state debt, reducing taxes for small and medium-sized businesses, and reducing obsolete or unnecessary regulations. 

Our most recent Benchmarking Report tells the story of a state that is recovering faster than most other states. MI's tax climate has flipped from one of the nation's worst to one of the best, and we remain a national leader in R & D and talent production.  MI produces 30% more patents, our universities generate about 30% more research and development, and the value of our exports is 50% more than Top Ten states. Our capacity to innovate positions us well to provide more of what the world needs - a key characteristic of Top Ten states. 

We will continue to develop  strategies that boost our state's leadership in areas such as mobility, engineering, natural resources, and the life sciences. Registration is now open for our Leadership Summit: Building a New Michigan on March 10, 2014 where we will showcase progress being made to leverage the state's unique strengths and ultimately create more jobs.

Happy Holidays from Business Leaders for Michigan!


Doug's esig  

Doug Rothwell,President & CEO


Playing to Win

At Business Leaders for Michigan, we believe in basing actions on facts – not just what we think. That means we have to know how Michigan stacks up to our competitors to reach our goal of making Michigan a Top Ten state again. 

Last week, we issued the 4th edition of our Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Report showing where Michigan’s competitive and where we’re not.  Strengths that we can build on include a greatly improved tax and regulatory climate and a more efficient government that is working better and more collaboratively than in the past.

Look at how we stack up to Top performing states on measures of innovation - we produce 30% more patents, our universities generate about 30% more research and development, and the value of our exports is 50% more than Top Ten states. Our capacity to innovate positions us well to meet more of what the world needs – a key characteristic of Top Ten states.

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Next Step To Competitiveness: PPT Reform

During times like these, we need to be doing all we can to encourage investment.  But Michigan's Personal Property Tax (PPT) does the opposite.  By taxing investment in machinery, equipment and technology that could help create jobs and grow businesses, it discourages those investments in Michigan.  

The biggest issue to eliminating the PPT is that it is a significant revenue source for some communities.  But we believe there are ways to minimize adverse impacts by phasing out the tax, allowing communities to raise replacement revenues or having the state fund the difference.  

Some also argue that further tax reform isn't necessary to make Michigan competitive after the state business tax was reformed earlier this year.  But those changes are projected to improve Michigan's overall business tax climate  to about 22nd among the 50 states.  If we want to be a "top ten" state for job and economic growth, having an "average" business tax climate isn't likely to help us achieve that goal.

The PPT is a tax on investment, and Michigan should be doing everything it can to encourage investment during these challenging times, not discourage it.