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Viewpoints Blog

Michigan Business BlogKeep abreast of current issues affecting Michigan’s competitiveness, both nationally and around the globe, and learn what the private sector is doing to stimulate and grow our economy.

You can also learn more about Business Leaders for Michigan’s (BLM) latest initiatives and find out how you can help make Michigan a "Top Ten" state once again.

Thursday
Mar192015

On May 5, Let's Fix the Roads with Proposal 1!

Imagine you're driving up I-75 from Ohio, and you cross the border. You see the beautiful blue sign welcoming you to Michigan, and suddenly the smooth road beneath your wheels gives way to a crumbling, tooth-rattling mess. Is this really what we want "Pure Michigan" to mean to our families, our tourists, or worst of all--the job providers thinking about locating here? 
Of course not.  That is why Proposal 1 on the May Election ballot is so important. It provides a dedicated source of funding to fix our roads now and in the future. Proposal 1 would guarantee an additional $1.2 billion to make MI's roads and bridges safer. 
 
Proposal 1 has three strong guarantees:
  • Every penny you pay at the pump in state gas taxes is constitutionally guaranteed to fund transportation.
  • Roadbuilders would have to provide warranties on the roads they build, so taxpayers aren't forced to pay for improper repairs.
  • Every penny in the School Aid Fund is constitutionally guaranteed for K-12 schools and community colleges.
BLM's position: Other states around us invest far more in their roads than we do and it shows. 
Businesses thinking of locating here take the condition of our roads into account as they consider how to move their products and ideas to market. We need to make sure our roads are safe, strong for our families and capable of supporting our businesses and the economy we want. The May Ballot Proposal is about making our roads safe and requiring those that fix our roads to guarantee their work. BLM supports Proposal 1.
Tuesday
Feb172015

No Time to Lose 

The 2015 legislative session is already underway, and it's clear that state lawmakers and the Governor have a busy year planned. So do we.

There's no time to lose when it comes to implementing The Michigan Turnaround Plan.In fact, we must act more aggressively than ever to boost jobs and incomes. We need to invest in the assets that matter most, our transportation and higher education infrastructure, and take steps to cement the gains we've made so far.

BLM is a strong supporter of this May's road funding ballot proposal. We're also pushing hard for increased funding for job training and the state's colleges and universities. We applaud the Governor's 2016 budget recommendation because it recognizes the importance of these things in boosting incomes and growing jobs. Our agenda also includes ongoing work to ensure support for the growth of New Michigan industries like life sciences, mobility, engineering, natural resources, and logistics. We are aggressively working to help grow the things that matter most-transforming Michigan into a center for innovation and an aspirational destination for all.

It's going to be an exciting year as Michigan takes more steps toward its future as a Top Ten state. 

Wednesday
Jan072015

2015: Charting a path to a vibrant, prosperous future

Our state has come a long way over the last few years. State government finances are more stable. Changes to our tax system have reduced the burden for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Long-term debt has been reduced. Unnecessary regulations have been eliminated. 

We've made great gains. Our state is performing better but what was necessary then is not what is needed now - if we are to make MI a Top Ten  state with more jobs and higher incomes. 

Now that we've regained our economic footing, it's time to think about how we can strategically invest for our future growth.  

Michigan leaders know two crucial areas of investment are needed--people and infrastructure. We need to make sure our people have the tools they need to succeed, and that our roads and bridges are safe for everyday travel and have the capacity to move our products and services to market.

We begin-first, last, and always-with the people of our great state.  There needs to be more investment in educational programs Michiganders need to be successful.  Our young people need more than a high school education to succeed.  Yet, our state spends more to house prison inmates than it does to help a kid get through college. We can do better.  And additional job training opportunities would help many talented, displaced workers re-enter the workforce and fill the 70,000+ open jobs that exist today.

For Michigan to continue to grow, we need to develop a skilled, educated workforce that is capable of meeting the demands of employers today, tomorrow, and even a decade from now.  At the same time, we need to fundamentally retool our state's transportation infrastructure.  Michigan's roads and bridges need to function as more than a humorous punchline; they need to be capable of supporting our growing economy. 

State policymakers have shown tremendous foresight in adopting a comprehensive road funding solution. Voters will have an opportunity to approve this solution this spring, connecting Michigan to the resources and tools necessary to be an economic powerhouse once more.

Please join us, our colleagues, neighbors and communities as we rally around these strategies for growth in 2015.  Michigan's future prosperity depends on it. 

Tuesday
Dec092014

SOS for MI roads & bridges! 

When you need help, you send out an SOS.  Here in Michigan, SOS could stand for "Save Our Streets."

Michigan's urban roads are appalling-a shameful 45th in the nation. Even worse, one-third of the state's bridges are deficient.  Action is needed to ensure the quality and safety of all Michigan roadways. 

SOS could also stand for "Save Our State." Our newfound economic recovery is jeopardized when people and businesses can't move their products and services with ease. 

The saying "you get what you pay for" could not be truer. Michigan has bad roads that are too congested because we spend only half of what our neighbors do, and it shows. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec022014

Michigan needs sustainable fix to road problem (Detroit Free Press) 

By Detroit Free Press Guest Writer Jeff Fettig, Chairman & CEO of Whirlpool Corporation and Chairman of Business Leaders for Michigan.

As winter takes hold, Michiganders will encounter one of our state’s most challenging issues — deficient roads and bridges. I think everyone has their own personal story of how our bad roads have affected them, whether in unplanned and costly car repairs or overall aggravation that comes from dealing with bad weather on top of potholes.

While our economic recovery remains strong — jobs and personal income are growing again, and gross domestic product is on the rise — we still have large gaps to fill, namely in our roads."

It starts with a commitment to build and maintain a world-class transportation infrastructure. Not only do poor-quality roads wreak havoc on our vehicles daily, they can add unnecessary costs and shipping delays for businesses, which harms everyone overall.

Click to read more ...