The Traverse City Area Chamber is actively bringing the message of “one size does not fit all” to Lansing on a job creation bill package that would be unusable to northern Michigan businesses.
Bills backed by Business Leaders for Michigan and the Good Jobs for Michigan coalition were brought up and passed in the Michigan Senate in March. SBs 242-244 would create an incentive for employers looking to relocate or expand in Michigan, creating new jobs in the process. Employers who create 500 new jobs, or 250 new jobs if the jobs pay at or above the region’s average wage level, would be eligible for reimbursement for a percentage of the new state income tax generated from the jobs created.
Allowing business owners the ability to ease the burden of expansion is welcomed policy. The problem, however, is that very, very rarely does a business relocation or expansion effort in the Traverse City area include between 250-500 new jobs, especially at 125% of the regional wage average (around $60,000 in Grand Traverse County).
Chamber Director of Government Relations Kent Wood has met with nearly every legislative office from northern Michigan to let them know the numbers in the bill package would not work in rural areas of the state – most especially in northern Michigan. The package is currently stuck in the House of Representatives and the Chamber is working hard with Senate and House members, as well as the Governor’s office, to secure an amendment that includes a rural component that allows businesses from the Traverse City region and northern Michigan to compete for the incentive.
This is part of the Chamber’s ongoing commitment to educate policymakers that one size fits all approaches many times do not work in northern Michigan and other rural settings.