Governor, statewide leaders: Swift action on Good Jobs for Michigan legislation essential for state to compete, attract good-paying jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 1, 2017
CONTACT: Sara Wurfel, 517-599-3470 or swurfel@truscottrossman.com

Transparent, smart incentive ensures Michigan isn’t left on the sidelines, creates vital job attraction tool for large-scale projects in communities across the state

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. – Michigan needs a more competitive tool now to grow more good-paying jobs statewide and to take advantage of a surge of new investments coming back to the United States, said Gov. Rick Snyder and a diverse coalition of community, business and labor leaders and economic development experts today.

During the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference, the governor and members of the Good Jobs for Michigan Coalition urged support and swift action on Senate Bills 242, 243 and 244. The legislation would use a transparent, performance based incentive to fill a critical gap in Michigan’s business attraction toolkit and enable the Great Lakes State to compete on a national level for large, game-changing projects that will create hundreds of new and good-paying jobs each.

“Our state has made a tremendous comeback with more than 500,000 new private sector jobs since 2010,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “But we can’t be complacent or content. Our policies need to continually evolve so Michigan can compete for more good jobs and the opportunities of today and tomorrow. That’s exactly what this package does. These bills will also help diversify our state’s economy with the potential to bring an entirely new industry to Michigan.”

The legislative package, sponsored by Sens. Jim Stamas, Wayne Schmidt and Steven Bieda, passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support in late March. It’s awaiting action in the Michigan House.

For bill sponsor Sen. Stamas, the legislation is about doing what it takes to grow good-paying jobs in Michigan and preventing other states from luring businesses away that should be coming here. “The Good Jobs package is vital to ensuring Michigan can compete – and win – large projects with good-paying jobs in communities anywhere in the state,” he said. “The legislation was also specially constructed with key safeguards to protect the state, communities and taxpayers and to make sure that no company receives an incentive until it proves it has created the jobs and wages required.”

Bolstering communities, opportunities statewide

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, who recently chaired the Governor’s 21st Century Economy Commission, noted the importance of raising Michigan’s personal income ranking from 33rd in the nation. “In an effort to raise this ranking and provide more good jobs for Michiganders, we are pleased to support this legislation,” Baruah said.

Grand Rapids Mayor and Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees President Rosalynn Bliss highlighted the reason why cities such as Grand Rapids and MML members of all sizes and in all regions of the state are fully supportive of the Good Jobs for Michigan legislation. “Beyond creating more and better jobs, committed businesses and growing tax revenues are indispensable to ensuring a strong quality of life and helping to strengthen our neighborhoods, schools, infrastructure, public safety and other essential services.”

Ensuring Michigan’s Competitiveness

For Deputy Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb, the legislation is key to being able to compete fairly. “Though Oakland County is home to thriving Fortune 500 businesses with future expansion plans, counties like ours and across the state are at a severe disadvantage when competing with other states because of our lack of tax incentives. Far too often, we can’t and don’t make the “list” in the first place. That’s why we’re all in for the Good Jobs package.”

Michigan’s largest hometown utility, Consumers Energy with 7,500 employees and 7,500 contractors, sees firsthand the critical need to attract new businesses and jobs and grow Michigan’s economy. “We can’t lose sight of what’s happening nationally as the marketplace is competitive. We need a robust toolkit to attract investments and good-paying jobs. Passing Senate Bills 242-244 will do that,” said Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe.

Michigan Manufacturers Association Vice Chair Sanford “Sandy” Ring said the competition to attract jobs is fierce and growing, but with all its strengths, Michigan should be a natural choice for companies looking to grow or locate. “Our state has proud manufacturing roots and dedicated talent with a knack for innovation. Michigan essentially put the world on wheels, developed technologies to improve safety, performance and efficiency, and will be the lead state for testing, perfecting and implementing autonomous driving. Michigan should be a top choice for private investment. Too often that is not the case due to our lack of incentives. We need to act – and act fast – so that we can be competitive in the race for more and better jobs.”

Growing jobs, wages and the economy

“It’s simple: this is a jobs issue,” said Legislative Director Patrick “Shorty” Gleason of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, a union representing 15 organizations and nearly 100,000 members statewide. “This bipartisan package is good for growing jobs and growing wages. It puts hardworking Michiganders and our families and communities first. It’s something everyone should be able to get behind. It’s time to get this done.”

Similarly, Joel Schultz, chair of the Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance, highlighted how the benefits of this package transcend peninsulas, counties and regions. “As the adage goes, a rising tide lifts all boats,” Schultz said. “The U.P. wins when the communities in the state flourish. Even if a company doesn’t locate here, every new business brings additional, wide-ranging, positive economic impact. From increased tourism to increased economic activity – all Michiganders would benefit from this legislation. We urge our House lawmakers to act.”

How it works: Transparency, accountability and built-in fiscal protections

The Good Jobs for Michigan legislation creates a transparent, predictable and performance-based tax incentive program that doesn’t favor one industry over another, but instead focuses on projects that will bring 250 or 500-plus high-wage jobs to communities in the state.

Under the legislation, business expansions or new locations that create a minimum of 500 new jobs and pay 100 percent or more of the average regional wage would be eligible to capture up to half of the personal income tax (PIT) withholding of new employees for up to five years. Those creating 250 new jobs and paying 125 percent or more of the average regional wage would be eligible to capture up to 100 percent of the PIT withholdings for up to 10 years.

Other key provisions include:

  • Companies will not receive one penny of the incentive until they meet the minimum job and wage thresholds required. Both the jobs and the wages will be verified each year until the incentive expires.
  • A third-party analysis must demonstrate overall positive fiscal impact to the state.
  • The business/project must be supported by the community and secure a letter of support from the chief executive of the local unit of government where the project would expand or be located.
  • The program/incentive details will be public information.
  • A total of 15 projects per year could be authorized with a cap of $250 million for all projects at any given time.

For more information about the Good Jobs for Michigan legislation and a full list of coalition members, visit www.goodjobsformichigan.com

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