4 state House candidates in Washtenaw County pick up endorsements from Detroit Regional Chamber

From Ann Arbor.com
June 29, 2012
By: Ryan J. Stanton

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee has announced its endorsements for the Michigan House of Representatives for the Aug. 7 primary.

Four candidates seeking seats in Washtenaw County earned the chamber’s nod, including incumbents Jeff Irwin, Mark Ouimet and David Rutledge and newcomer Adam Zemke.

“The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC selects a bipartisan pool of candidates from our region and across the state who are committed to promoting legislation that will improve Michigan’s business climate,” said Brad Williams, the chamber’s vice president of government affairs.

“I am confident that the candidates endorsed this year will serve their communities and the state exceptionally well and look forward to continuing the chamber’s commitment to creating public policy that grows the economy and the region.”

With more than 20,000 members and affiliates that employ more than 750,000 workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country.

The Chamber PAC’s board of directors made the endorsements based on responses to a survey as well as input from PAC members and the chamber’s government affairs team.

The chamber’s top policy priorities include continued support of the New International Trade Crossing, repeal of the state’s personal property tax, implementation of a system ofregional transit and increased investment in Michigan’s transportation system.

All four candidates said they support a repeal of the tax businesses pay on equipment only if there’s a guaranteed mechanism to provide replacement revenue to local governments.

“I feel pretty strongly that there would have to be some sort of replacement if they do immediate elimination of PPT,” Ouimet said, suggesting he’s not as concerned about the impact on townships that receive small amounts of revenue from the tax.

“But for like the city of Detroit, it’s a huge part of their budget,” he said. “I think the jurisdictions that would be greatly affected in their budget would have to have full replacement.”

Ouimet, R-Scio Township, is seeking re-election to a second term and is not being challenged in the August primary. He faces Democrat Gretchen Driskell in November.

Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, is seeking re-election to a second term and is being challenged in the August primary by Democrat Thomas Partridge.

The winner will take on Republican John Spisak in November.

Rutledge, D-Superior Township, is seeking reelection to a second term and is not being challenged in the primary, but faces Republican Bill Emmerich in November.

Zemke, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, is running against Andrea Brown-Harrison, a Democrat from Pittsfield Township, in the August primary.

The winner of that race will take on Republican Owen Diaz in November for a chance to fill the seat being vacated by state Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township.

 

 

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

What the Supreme Court Decision Means for You and for Michigan

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s  5 – 4 decision upholding  nearly all of the central features of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), two elements stand out:

  • By construing the penalty for individuals who refuse to carry insurance coverage as a tax, Chief Justice John Roberts, who rendered the majority opinion, ruled that the individual mandate falls within Congress’ authority to levy taxes.
  • The Court also ruled that the federal government cannot require states to participate in the expansion of Medicaid by taking away funds from the existing Medicaid program. Many states are resisting the Medicaid expansion, a central objective of the legislation. Michigan is not among them.  Up to a half million citizens in Michigan will be eligible for Medicaid, in addition to the 1.9 million currently covered, and 90 percent of that newly expanded coverage will be paid by the federal government.


What It Means

The high court’s decision upholds the ACA as the law of the land. With the exception of the Medicaid opinion, the ruling upholds all of what has been done to date and what will be done through 2019 to implement the law. Significant parts of the implementation have already occurred, such as eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions, preventing medical underwriting, limiting insurers’ administrative costs, covering young people up to age 26, and offering subsidies to individuals and small employers to opt for insurance. Most of the remaining key provisions of the ACA will continue to unfold through 2014 – and most of those by January 1, 2014 – when employers of 50 or more will be required to offer credible coverage or pay penalties, and when individuals will also be required to carry coverage.

In Michigan, steps to create a Health Insurance Exchange for smaller businesses and individuals were put aside by the House of Representatives until the high court rendered its decision. Now, the state must move quickly to create its own exchange, or be covered by an exchange to be created by the federal government.  Within the exchange, the designation of what benefits are essential in an insurance product will be a key decision that will affect the cost of the products approved for listing on the exchange. The federal government has issued guidelines, but a lot of interpretation has been left to the states.  For their part, businesses will have to decide 1) whether to offer coverage to employees and 2) whether to use products in the exchange. In part, those decisions may reflect their interest in going beyond exchange benchmarks to compete for talent and to develop a more healthy, more productive team to improve their competitive position.

What the Future Holds

The court’s decision will not end the controversy surrounding ACA, where polls show a divided nation.  Nor will it resolve the nation’s health care ills. Cost and quality issues will persist, combined with an increasingly older population with growing chronic care needs. But it does provide a public policy road map for the next seven years, and it will certainly be tweaked from time to time by Congress. Over the next several months, Republicans will continue to challenge the law on the campaign trail. The November election will be the next major referendum, and the composition of the Executive Branch and Congress will determine the future of the ACA.  As things stand today, there are not sufficient votes in Congress to overturn the ACA. Whatever the outcome, expect the transformation of health care to continue and to accelerate – through private sector initiatives as well as public – simply because the size and costs of health care are far too big for anyone to ignore.

Where the Chamber Stands

The Detroit Regional Chamber has not taken a position on the Affordable Care Act. The Chamber, along with most of the business community, opposed the creation of a “public option” during the early discussion of the legislation. Once this provision was dropped, the Chamber assumed a neutral position. The Chamber has members that are strongly supportive of, strongly opposed to, and uncertain of, the ACA.

The Chamber is concerned about the rising cost of health care and its impact on the ability of businesses (especially small businesses) to thrive, grow the economy and create needed jobs.  The status quo is not acceptable as high costs and the uncertainty around health care legislation is contributing to a sluggish economic recovery. The Chamber respects the process the ACA went through.  It was legislation passed by Congress, signed by the President, challenged in court, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has settled that challenge. Now our attention must turn to how this law gets implemented.

The Chamber supports Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to create a health care exchange in Michigan, as required by the recently upheld law, that will use market forces to allow greater access and lower health insurance costs to businesses and individuals.

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Announces Endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in Primary Election

DETROIT, June 28, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in the August primary in Michigan.

“Debbie Stabenow has been part of one of the nation’s most well-respected congressional delegations for years and Michigan is better for it,” said Terence A. Thomas Sr., Chairman of the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC. “She has been pivotal in efforts to leverage our state’s assets to create jobs, attract talent and investment. The Chamber has been proud to partner with her on events and initiatives that move Michigan forward.”

In the Republican primary for the Senate seat, the Chamber’s PAC Board of Directors was, after much discussion, unable to select a consensus candidate between Clark Durant and Pete Hoekstra, two capable and qualified candidates for this important national post. The PAC Board of Directors plans to make endorsements in the general election following the primary election.

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Announces Endorsements for the Michigan House of Representatives

DETROIT, June 26, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee announced its endorsements for the Michigan House of Representatives for the August primary in Michigan. The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities.

“The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC selects a bipartisan pool of candidates from our region and across the state who are committed to promoting legislation that will improve Michigan’s business climate,” said the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams.  “I am confident that the candidates endorsed this year will serve their communities and the state exceptionally well and look forward to continuing the Chamber’s commitment to creating public policy that grows the economy and the region.”

After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made the endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey as well as input from PAC members and the Chamber’s government affairs team.  The Chamber’s top policy priorities include continued support of the New International Trade Crossing, repeal of the state’s personal property tax, implementation of a system of regional transit and increased investment in Michigan’s vital transportation system.

The endorsed candidates for the House are as follows:

District 1: Scott Benson (D-Detroit)
District 2: Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe)
District 3: Jimmy Womack (D-Detroit)
District 4: Adam Hollier (D-Detroit)
District 6: Maureen Stapleton (D-Detroit)
District 7: Thomas Stallworth III (D-Detroit)
District 8: David Nathan (D-Detroit)
District 10: Phil Cavanagh (D-Redford Township)
District 11: Cody Bailey (D-Garden City)
District 12: Dough Geiss (D-Taylor)
District 13: Andrew Kandrevas (D-Southgate)
District 14: Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park)
District 15: George Durany (D-Dearborn)
District 16: Robert Kosowski (D-Westland)
District 19: John Walsh (R-Livonia)
District 20: Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth)
District 21: Dian Slavens (D-Canton)
District 22: Harold Haugh (D-Roseville)
District 23: Pat Somerville (R-New Boston)
District 24: Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township)
District 26: Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak)
District 28: Jon Switalski (D-Warren)
District 29: Tim Greimel (D-Pontiac)
District 30: Jeff Farrington (R-Utica)
District 31: Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser)
District 33: Ken Goike (R-Ray)
District 34: Woodrow Stanley (D-Flint)
District 35: Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield)
District 38: Hugh Crawford (R-Novi)
District 42: Bill Rogers (R-Brighton)
District 43: Gail Haines (R-Waterford)
District 44: Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake)
District 46: Bradford Jacobsen (R-Oxford)
District 49: Jim Ananich (D-Flint)
District 50: Charles Smiley (D-Burton)
District 51: Joseph Graves (R-Argentine Township)
District 52: Mark Ouimet (R-Scio Township)
District 53: Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor)
District 54: David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti)
District 55: Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor)
District 56: Dale Zorn (R-Ida)
District 57: Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton)
District 59: Matt Lori (R-Constantine)
District 60: Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo)
District 61: Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage)
District 62: Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek)
District 63: Jase Bolger (R-Marshall)
District 64: Earl Poleski (R-Jackson)
District 66: Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton)
District 68: Andy Schor (D-Lansing)
District 69: Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
District 70: Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes)
District 71: Deb Shaughnessy (R-Charlotte)
District 73: Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford)
District 74: Rob VerHeulen (R-Westland)
District 75: Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids)
District 77: Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center)
District 79: Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville)
District 85: Ben Glarden (R-Owosso)
District 86: Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto)
District 87: Mike Callton (R-Nashville)
District 88: Amanda Van Essen (R-Jenison)
District 89: Amanda Price (R-Park Township)
District 90: Joe Haveman (R-Holland)
District 93: Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt)
District 98: Jim Stamas (R-Midland)
District 99: Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant)
District 101: Ray Franz (R-Onekama)
District 103: Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City)
District 104: Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City)
District 106: Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle)
District 107: Frank Foster (R-Petoskey)
District 108: Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan)
District 110: Matt Huuki  (R-Atlantic Mine)

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO: Game-Changing Decision on NITC Will Pay Dividends For Generations

DETROIT, June 15, 2012 –Today, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah issued the following statement on the announcement to move forward with the New International Trade Crossing (NITC):

“This is a historic day. The NITC is an investment in Michigan’s future that will lead directly to tangible economic growth and provide a return on investment that will pay dividends for generations to come,” Baruah said. “After years of leading a wide coalition in support of the new crossing throughout multiple gubernatorial administrations, the Detroit Regional Chamber could not be more pleased with the Governor’s bold and decisive leadership on this issue and his decision to move the NITC forward. Since taking office, Governor Snyder has helped improve Michigan’s business climate at a remarkable pace – today’s announcement is a game-changing step that will significantly increase Detroit’s and Michigan’s ability to compete in the 21st century global market and benefit communities and businesses across the state.”

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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New Study From the Center for Automotive Research Shows NITC Will Provide Thousands of Jobs to Michigan’s Economy

DETROIT, June 14, 2012 – The Detroit Regional Chamber reaffirmed its support of the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) on Thursday, as the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) released a study highlighting the economic impact of the new crossing. According to the study, the construction of a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor will provide an estimated 12,000 jobs per year for each of the four years of the construction phase, and more than 8,000 permanent jobs in Southeast Michigan once the bridge is operational.

“This study reaffirms what we’ve said all along. When you look at the facts with the bridge and realize the far-reaching economic impact – the NITC is an absolute no-brainer,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations with the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Detroit and Michigan continue to claw our way back economically; not addressing crucial infrastructure needs such as a border crossing with our nation’s largest trading partner is unthinkable. As the global market continues to evolve, we must have the infrastructure for our state to attract commerce and investment; Michigan’s ability to keep pace with competitors from around the world depends on it.”

The study, “Analysis of the Economic Contribution of Constructing the New International Trade Crossing: A New Bridge Linking Detroit and Windsor,” indicates numerous opportunities will be generated from both the construction and operation of the NITC.

“Initially the construction of the bridge itself will serve as an economic stimulus, providing jobs and tax revenues. Once construction is completed and bridge operations have begun, the region’s additional freight shipping capability could attract private-sector investment, augmenting the gross regional product and creating more employment opportunities,” said Kim Hill, director of sustainability and economic development strategies at CAR and the study’s lead.

“Additionally, the bridge project will make Michigan eligible to receive federal matching funds that can be used on other highway infrastructure projects throughout the state, helping to improve Michigan’s highway system and supporting the state’s transportation employment. Clearly, a project of this scale, along with the federal matching funds, will have employment and economic effects that will impact many diverse industries throughout the state,” Hill said.

The study was initially released at the Detroit Regional Chamber with other NITC supporters on hand including the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 and Ford Motor Company.

“This new report proves that building a second international bridge would create much-needed Michigan jobs and help jumpstart our economy,” said John Hamilton, general vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324. “After all, the quality of local roads and bridges is one of the top factors businesses look at when choosing where to locate. We must attract new jobs and investments to Michigan — building the New International Trade Crossing would do just that.”

Ford’s supply chain manager for North America Bill Storves also spoke out in support of the NITC.

“In a globally competitive automotive sector, just in time delivery is the standard of operation.   Every day, I see how critical a new border crossing is for our business,” Storves said.  “This infrastructure improvement will help support automotive manufacturing, and as the CAR study clearly shows, benefit the entire state of Michigan.”
CAR has significant experience conducting economic impact analyses and has carried out the majority of national level automotive economic contribution studies completed in the United States since 1992. The report is the product of research performed by the Sustainability & Economic Development Strategies and the Transportation Systems Analysis groups at CAR. Financial support for this study was provided by the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit.  Additional support was provided by the Detroit Regional Chamber.  The complete study is available at www.cargroup.org.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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