Editorial: Keep job creation top state priority
Michigan is no longer last among the states for economic performance, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to take a break. The state still needs more good-paying jobs, and it should also diversify its portfolio of industries.
Both are possible if the House would take up the Good Jobs for Michigan package, which has already passed the Senate. The legislation would allow businesses that meet certain requirements to keep a portion of the income tax generated by their new hires.
A recent poll conducted by the Marketing Resource Group found that 77 percent of Michigan residents support the state working to bring such jobs here.
Rep. Jim Tedder, R-Clarkston, chairman of the House Tax Policy Committee, said his committee would likely take up the bill package this fall.
It shouldn’t wait that long. Potential jobs in new industries are at stake for Michigan residents.
This week Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan went to Asia to court a multi-billion dollar technology manufacturing company. The hope is that it will invest more than $4 billion in Michigan, creating more than 5,000 jobs, The Detroit News reported.
This would be a huge development. But this opportunity and others are in limbo until the Legislature gets serious about attracting new jobs to the state.
To receive the tax incentives, companies would have to create at least 250 jobs that pay 125 percent or more of the region’s average annual wage, or at least 500 jobs that pay the region’s average annual wage or more. Certain industries like retail and jobs at sports stadiums would be exempt.
Opponents liken the bills to the MEGA credits the state had previously given out. But that program had problems such as ballooning costs, in addition to little accountability and oversight.
By contrast, under the new bill package the state’s liability would be capped at $250 million over the legislation’s lifetime. And the incentives expire after five or 10 years, depending on how many jobs are created, and at what wages.
Companies that receive the incentives would be subject to annual audits and be required to sustain their investments.
The global economy has evolved over the past decade, and Michigan is in a new race to stay competitive with other countries as well as nearby states that are attracting outside investors.
Ideologically-driven opposition to common-sense legislation like the Good Jobs for Michigan package stunts not just job creation, but the state’s population growth as well.
“We’ve been attracting businesses to Michigan but they tend to be these smaller businesses,” Snyder said at the Detroit Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference last week.
“We have an opportunity to literally see companies that could bring thousands of new jobs to our state that could open up new industry areas for us, and expand our base of manufacturing, of creativity and technology.”
The state should continue its pursuit of economic opportunity by passing this legislation.