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3 Conversations Businesses Need to Know About From this Week

The Detroit Regional Chamber is having the essential conversations with government officials and entities behind the scenes to help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis and ensure the health of businesses in the Detroit region coming out of the crisis. The Chamber’s Government Relations team is dedicated to advising the state on how to best accommodate the needs of businesses and communities through this difficult time.

1. Sales Tax Exemptions

The Chamber has been looking into the idea of excluding personal protective equipment (PPE) from sales tax. This would allow businesses opening back up some financial relief when they have to purchase these items. It would also allow Michiganders another reason to buy PPE.

Because of recommendations coming from the local, state, and federal governments, businesses will likely be required to provide PPE to their employees before they begin their shift. Even if there isn’t a requirement for PPE, promoting the purchase of PPE through a tax incentive has the potential to increase the amount of PPE being utilized and preventing further spread of COVID-19.

The Chamber will continue this discussion with both Legislative officials and businesses in the Detroit region to gauge interest. The Chamber’s Tax Policy Committee will also discuss this topic to determine its potential benefits to businesses preparing to reopen in the coming weeks and months who will need strategies to keep their employees safe and healthy.

2. Work Share and Restarting Operations

This week, the Chamber’s Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO, and Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations, received a briefing from the Whitmer administration on the rollout of the Work Share program and an update on the strategy to restart the state.

The Work Share program was launched following the first round of federal aid from the CARES Act in March. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) are encouraging businesses to explore this program as an alternative to layoffs or furloughing employees.

The program allows employers to keep their employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Learn more about the program and how to apply.

Conversations are ongoing regarding the reopening of Michigan’s economy and the Chamber is pleased that pragmatic and safe measures are being taken to do so. This week, the governor announced the reopening of the construction sector – a primarily low-risk sector – will open on May 7. A phased approach as recommended by the Chamber and the Michigan Economic Recovery Council will evaluate the workplace environment, geographical region, and the detected prevalence of COVID-19 when assessing what businesses should reopen next.

3. A Plan for Recovery

The Chamber is working with leaders from the Michigan Legislature that represent Southeast Michigan on a cohesive plan for recovery. Led by Rep. Joe Tate, the bipartisan group will work together on the best ways to get the Detroit region back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the Chamber’s impact to explore how the Chamber is working for your business in this difficult time.