Michigan has come a long way in its comeback. We are experiencing great private-sector job growth and our state’s unemployment rate is lower than it has been in 17 years. And yet, we can never be content or complacent.
We have worked hard to improve our business climate to make Michigan more attractive to job providers. From implementing a simple tax structure to energy reform, from workers’ compensation reform to education reform, we are doing all the right things to continue our economic comeback and improve the standard of living for all Michigan residents.
Nevertheless, the competition from other states and countries is fierce. Every day, other states are doing everything possible to lure job providers both big and small. There is no doubt that Michigan has the talent and the atmosphere to compete with anyone. But we are at an increasing disadvantage in trying to lure transformational, large-scale projects simply because other states offer extremely competitive incentive packages that we don’t have available. While I wish I could tell you that we can simply compete on good old-fashioned grit and determination, the world is a different place now in the arena of job attraction. That is why I support Senate Bills 242 –244 also known as the “Good Jobs for Michigan” package as a tool to bring large-scale job providers across the finish line and into Michigan.
The package of bills provides meaningful incentives to employers who create over 250 new jobs and are paying 125 percent or more of the regional average wage, as well as to employers who create over 500 jobs and are paying 100 percent or more of average regional wages. But the key to this program is that it is absolutely performance-based; the proposals would be reviewed and validated, transparent, and audited and verified every year. There is no risk to the state because if a company doesn’t create the jobs as promised, they will receive no tax incentives. Also, there would be a maximum program cap in place.
The need for this package is critical. Economic developers across the state are telling us that while they can get very good projects and companies to commit to Michigan, they are losing too many opportunities due to a lack of a “big-project incentive.” We are fortunate right now to have some very good opportunities sitting right on our doorstep, but we need to be able to close the deal.
I understand some skepticism toward incentives; prior incentive tools did not have enough accountability measures and the costs ballooned. But the overall positive impact of bringing in large-scale projects cannot be understated: more supplier jobs, more spinoff jobs, more tax dollars, more tourism, more kids in schools, more families living in our great state.
The package of bills has received bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate, bipartisan support in the Michigan House Tax Policy committee, and huge statewide support from businesses, unions and economic developers who are out trying to bring jobs here every day.
I ask you to join me in supporting this effort and help us get this important legislation across the finish line to help open the door to more good jobs for Michiganians.
Rick Snyder is the governor of Michigan.