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 Rothwell,President & CEO