Labor, Michigan, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder — January 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Michigan leaders weigh in on what our state should do to attract jobs (hint: it ain’t “lower taxes & bust unions”)


Wait, I thought Gov. Snyder was a businessman…

A recent study by the Michigan Economic Center asked over 3000 representatives from businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations what things Michigan needs to do to attract more business investment in our state. If you listen to Michigan Republicans, including our governor, their answer is “lower taxes and bust unions”.

They might wish to ask the people who actually DO business in this state what they think. “Lower taxes” and “bust unions” aren’t even close to the top.

Here are the things they found most important:

  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Ensure our water is clean and Great Lakes protected
  • Improve education and higher education attainment
  • Fix our road, bridges and vital infrastructure
  • Revitalize our major cities like Detroit
  • Improve public safety in our core cities
  • Better fund vital services (public safety, fire, transportation)
  • Protect and rebuild our parks and outdoor recreation infrastructure

It’s almost as if Michigan Republicans saw this list and did the exact opposite over the past two years.

They also polled 1,000 Michigan residents and asked them their thoughts on what our state should do. Have a look at this chart:

[Chart by Michigan Economic Center]

Those surveyed noted that attracting and keeping talent, being good stewards of our Great Lakes and clean water, improving education, and fixing our infrastructure, as well as a number of other public good investment priorities, were imperative for supporting business and job growth.

This feedback from Michigan’s business, nonprofit, and governmental communities mirrors the results that we are learning through our Michigan “Dream Restored” Initiative. In a recent 1000 person survey conducted by EPIC-MRA for the Michigan Economic Center (to be released soon), Michigan citizens said the most important thing government can do for job creation is not cutting taxes, but by providing quality education, good roads, and good services like public safety, parks, and libraries. Investment in these public goods will create an environment where people want to live, work, and run a business. {…}

Traditional business climate issues like low-tax rates may be less important to businesses and average citizens than the public goods we provide together — with our taxes — that create conditions needed for business growth.

Let’s hope that the new year brings with it more investment in our state and less emphasis on hamstringing our state and local communities by emptying their coffers and making it harder for them to provide the services and investments that are so important to revitalizing our economy. The evidence seems clear: make Michigan a desirable place to live and businesses will beat a path to our door. They’re even willing to hire some union members and pay some taxes for the opportunity.