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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
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.   

Friday
Mar072014

Accelerating Job Growth via Investments in Higher Ed

How do we keep our recent job growth success going?  One way is by giving more kids a chance to earn technical or college degrees.  All the data says we'll need more workers with an education beyond high school in the years ahead and that they will make and work more over their careers than those with just a high school degree.

But in Michigan, we've made it harder for kids to get the education they need.  We went from being a Top Ten to a Bottom Ten state for college affordability over the past decade due to a dramatic decline in state support.  The result was a cost shift to students and parents at a time when they could least afford it. 

The state began modestly reinvesting in college education the past two years.  This year, Governor Snyder proposed a 6% increase that would keep tuition at or below the rate of inflation.  BLM strongly supports the Governor's proposal and urges you to call your legislator and ask them to do the same.  Nothing could better help us fill the jobs of the future.

Wednesday
Feb122014

Investing to Accelerate Michigan's Growth

The Michigan Turnaround Plan recognizes the importance of making investments to grow the economy, but also the need to prioritize them on growing talent and building infrastructure while paying down debt.  The Governor's FY15 Budget Recommendation will give more kids a chance to start school ready to learn, increase college affordability, provide more workers the technical training they need, fix more of our roads and reduce future fiscal liabilities.   

The Executive Recommendation recognizes that MI needs more workers with an education beyond high school than ever before by strategically investing in higher education. It proposes increasing funding for our colleges and universities by $8.9 million and $80.3 million, respectively - tied to performance measures, including controlling college costs.  The additional dollars would be allocated based on how well each meets rigorous performance metrics. 
 
BLM's view: The Executive Recommendation is a sound budget proposal that reflects how Top Ten states prioritize state spending to grow the economy.  We urge the Legislature to support it as it not only serves our students and families well but also ensures MI has the future talent it needs.

 

 

Thursday
Jan022014

Looking ahead to 2014 

The start of the year is a good time to take stock of where we are and our goals for the future. As a state, Michigan has spent the last few years digging out of a decade-long recession driven by a decline in the manufacturing sector and compounded by the national financial crisis. 
 
The good news is that manufacturing is bouncing back and leading our economic recovery. Growth in MI employment, per capita income, and per capita GDP has outpaced most states in the last two years. Our state leaders have made MI more competitive by eliminating the uncompetitive Michigan Business Tax and have put the state on sound financial footing by reducing long-term unfunded liabilities and building up the state's Rainy Day Fund.
 
While MI has improved its competitive position, other states are not standing still. If we want to thrive, we must play to WIN.  The cost of doing business is just one factor considered by those looking to locate or expand their business.  Just as important is having a strong base of innovation, infrastructure, talent and unique assets. This will require MI becoming a more welcoming place, investing in transportation, making college more affordable and focusing on what makes MI unique, like our location, engineering and automotive assets.
 
Follow Business Leaders for Michigan this year as we work to grow our economy and create more good jobs!
 

 

Monday
Dec232013

Looking back on 2013

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. 

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