Michigan House, Senate Pass ‘Good Jobs for Michigan’ Legislation

Today, Michigan legislators passed the “Good Jobs for Michigan” bill package, Senate Bills 242-244. This is one of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s legislative priorities as the government relations team has continuously urged legislators to adopt all three bills. A leading regional economic development organization, the Chamber leveraged its influential public policy voice as a key advocate for the legislation’s passage.

“The Chamber is thankful for the leadership of Governor Snyder and the Legislature to create this policy that will allow Michigan to compete with every state in the nation for job growth,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.


MORE: Read the Chamber’s testimony to the House Policy Committee in support of House Bills 242-244.


Under the legislation, business expansions or new locations that create a minimum of 500 new jobs and pay wages at 100 percent or more of the regional average wage would be eligible to capture up to 50 percent of the personal income tax withholdings of the new employees for up to five years. In addition, business expansions or new locations that create a minimum of 250 new jobs and pay wages at 125 percent or more of the regional average wage would be eligible to capture up to 100  percent of the personal income tax withholdings of the new employees for up to 10 years. There is a cap of 15 projects per year with a rolling cap of $250 million for all projects.

“The passage of this legislation creates a vital tool as the Chamber travels the nation and globe to attract companies to grow in our region,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

This is the Chamber’s second major economic development victory in the state this year, following the MIThrive package that will incentivize transformational brownfield developments in cities across the state.

Great Lakes Metro Chambers Advocate for Infrastructure Funding, Trade and Immigration Policy Reform

The Chamber, along with members of the GreatGLMCC trip to DC Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, met with members of Congress and their staff during a two-day legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C. last week to discuss key issues important to the business future of the Great Lakes/Midwest region.

More than 50 meetings were held with key members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, House Ways and Means Committee member; U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Small Business Committee; U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, House Transportation Committee chairman; and U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

Coalition members expressed their support for infrastructure legislation and funding for infrastructure projects for the Great Lakes region. Discussion also focused on H-1B visa reform to encourage more high-skilled immigrant workers, and building a strong trade relationship with Canada as necessary to the economic growth of the region. In addition, Coalition members emphasized the importance of comprehensive energy policy.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) joined the fly-in participants and discussed his role as chairman of the US-Canada Interparliamentary Group as well as the general atmosphere in Congress since the presidential election. His comments to the group echoed the message from several lawmakers — infrastructure, immigration reform, and trade are priorities, but when and how they will be addressed remains uncertain.

For more information on the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, visit http://greatlakesmetrochambers.com.

Chamber Continues to Urge Lawmakers to Reform Michigan’s Energy Law, Looks to the New Year

As the 2015-2016 legislative session comes to a close, the Detroit Regional Chamber continues to advocate for strong, pro-business policies in Lansing. With only one week tentatively left, the Chamber is urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive reform of Michigan’s Energy Law (Senate Bills 437-438), which would set new procedures for building new plants, ensuring adequate infrastructure, require alternative electric suppliers to provide greater guarantees for their power supply, increase the percentage of electricity that must be generated from renewable sources from 10 to 15 percent, and establish new net metering regulations for customers who generate their own power.

In addition, the Chamber continues to monitor legislation that would assist Detroit’s collection of city income taxes (Senate Bill 1127) to ensure that taxpayers are adequately protected, and House Bill 5578 that would alter the assessments of large retail properties.

In a recent victory for Michigan’s automotive industry last week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation expanding the regulation of autonomous vehicles, maintaining Michigan’s role as the leader of the mobility revolution.

Looking towards 2017, the Chamber will be re-introducing other reforms that have made substantial progress but were not able to reach final passage in 2016, including comprehensive reform of the Michigan Tax Tribunal (House Bill 5765) and equitable treatment of taxpayers with the Department of Treasury (House Bill 4461).

The Chamber will also continue to educate lawmakers on innovative tax incentive proposals that spur economic development in the region, including an expansion of tax increment financing (TIF) to encourage large, transformational projects (Senate Bills 1061-1065).

Michigan becomes first state in nation to develop comprehensive regulations for autonomous vehicle research, development, use

In a move that will position the state to become the epicenter for driverless vehicle technology, Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation into law making Michigan the first state in the nation to establish comprehensive regulations for the testing, use and eventual sale of autonomous vehicle technology.

“Michigan is the global center for automotive technology and development, having transformed the way the world moves for more than 100 years,” Snyder said. “By establishing guidelines and standards for self-driving vehicles, we’re continuing that tradition of excellence in a way that protects the public’s safety while at the same time allows the mobility industry to grow without overly burdensome regulations.”

The new law, signed by Snyder at 11 a.m. at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, more clearly defines the circumstances of how self-driving vehicles can be legally used on public roadways. The new law also allows:
• Testing of vehicles without steering wheels, pedals or needed human control;
• Automotive and technology companies to operate self-driving vehicle ride-sharing services; and
• Self-driving vehicles to be sold for public use once the technology has been tested and certified.

In addition, the new law will establish the Michigan Council on Future Mobility, an arm of the Michigan Department of Transportation that will recommend policies to set industry standards. It also will regulate connected vehicle networks and how traffic data, such as vehicle crashes, will be collected and shared.

“This legislation keeps Michigan at the forefront of a renaissance in automotive technology,” said Kirk T. Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The law helps government further support the industry while not getting in the way.”

The forward-thinking legislation is the result of public and private collaborative efforts to ensure any new policy would not impact the autonomous vehicle industry’s ability to evolve safely and in an atmosphere that encourages increased research and investment. The partners who helped inform the final legislation include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), U.S., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp. and Google Inc., as well as ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.

Michigan is a national leader in connected and automated vehicle projects, surpassing states like California, Florida and Nevada that have yet to establish more comprehensive laws regarding self-driving vehicle technology and their use on public roads. Among these projects is the state-of-the-art American Center for Mobility; the first phase of which is in development

Located at the 335-acre historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, the Center will serve as a research, testing and self-certification facility for self-driving and connected vehicle technologies that are being developed by private industry, academia and government. It is the second purpose-built facility in the state, the first being Mcity, a smaller proving ground that mimics real-world situations and is located in Ann Arbor on the University of Michigan’s campus.

“Our leadership in the automotive industry is recognized globally and these new regulations are another example of how Michigan is forward-thinking when it comes to innovation in the mobility sector,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “By creating a more in-depth framework for how self-driving vehicle technology can be researched, tested and used, we’re building a structured plan that takes into account the needs of private industry looking to invest in research and the development of this technology.”

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 88,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.