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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.

Wednesday
Jul092014

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 www.StrongandSafeCommunities.com, and be sure to vote August 5.

Wednesday
Jul022014

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.

Click to read more...

Friday
Jun132014

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.

Monday
May122014

High Hopes for Detroit

Across Michigan, voters say they want a revitalized, healthy Detroit.  Nearly 90 percent of the statewide voters surveyed at the end of April believe the Motor City offers promise to the state as a whole, and they are eager to see renewal, transformation, and collaboration.

There is a strong sentiment that Detroit is on the right track.  A large margin of the people surveyed (66%) say they support a 20-year/$350 million funding proposal that matches state funds with private foundation support to protect City pension benefits and preserve the DIA's art collection.

That's a pretty clear mandate for change.  The Governor and those who have been working hard to identify innovative strategies for Detroit have the support of Michiganders in all regions of the state.  Let's use the momentum to deliver meaningful change for us all. It's important to remember that while the City's government structure is going through bankruptcy and righting itself... businesses in the City have been investing and growing.

When it comes to MI's turnaround, we are all Detroiters now. Let's work together and make change happen.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Making College More Affordable

Recently, the House and Senate Higher Education Appropriations subcommittees passed their budget recommendations for next year, tying funding to university performance and tuition cost restraint. We want to thank our legislative leaders for their commitment to make college more affordable for Michigan families. 

The Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, agreed with the Executive Budget recommendation and approved a funding increase of 6.1%. In a letter, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville expressed his strong belief that this investment is critical for our state's future prosperity. While the House recommendation was lower than the Executive recommendation, Chairman Al Pscholka and Majority Vice Chair John Walsh both indicated that this was the first step in the process and there was more work to be done.

BLM's view: As the budget process moves forward, we are hopeful that the House and Senate will agree to fund our public universities at least at the level in the Executive Recommendation. We need a strong higher ed system to help strengthen Michigan's workforce -- for both young high school graduates and workers in need of retraining and development. The only surefire way of keeping higher ed affordable for everyone is to ensure strong public support. Please contact your state legislators and urge them to support the Governor's budget recommendation for our public universities.