In a bid to help developers across the state finance large-scale projects on brownfield sites, the MI Thrive legislative package was introduced Tuesday by State Senator Ken Horn, R- Frankenmuth. The effort marks the second time the measure was introduced after the legislature failed to act on the first proposal last December.
Many state business and labor leaders and economic developers say the package is just one half of a broader strategy to ensure Michigan can compete for large-scale projects that can create hundreds of good-paying jobs in every community.
“Michigan cities across the state will benefit from this needed economic development tool. It’s an essential next step to help spur increased private investment and redevelop urban centers in both peninsulas,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO for Business Leaders for Michigan.
“It’s clear we also need another tool to grow and attract good paying jobs: a simple, transparent and predictable mechanism available to all industries that doesn’t pick winners and losers,” adds Rothwell. “Other states, including our Great Lakes neighbors Indiana and Ohio, are outcompeting and outspending us up to 7 to 1. Every community in every corner of the state stands to benefit from enacting a targeted, strategic tool like this.”
Whirlpool Corp. vice president D. Jeffrey Noel says the Benton Harbor-based company, which is the world’s largest home appliance maker, supports the proposed legislation.
“Whirlpool is proud to be headquartered right here in Michigan with over 4,000 employees,” says Noel. “We want to stay in Michigan and for us to do that, the state needs to grow and southwest Michigan needs to add new employers. To attract and grow good paying jobs, Michigan needs to be more competitive. From our experience of doing business in virtually every state, it’s clear that we simply do not have a winning set of tools to attract the kinds of growth and jobs we need as a committed Michigan employer.”
Each leader urged passage of the MI Thrive legislation and indicated they also look forward to the introduction of a simple, transparent, jobs attraction tool that would only be awarded if jobs are created. The measure is expected shortly by State Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland.
“We’ve seen and heard loud and clear the headlines from across the country and the overwhelming feedback from our local economic developers and national site selectors: Michigan must have another tool to compete effectively for new jobs. We can’t sit on the sidelines anymore, especially as the national climate heats up with more companies looking to bring jobs back to the United States,” says Stamas.