Cowan named to Oakland Community Health Network board of directors

Plunkett Cooney partner Dennis G. Cowan was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN). His three-year term is through March 31, 2024.

OCHN leads a provider service network that assists approximately 23,000 Oakland County children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and substance use disorders at more than 300 service sites across the county. It also manages a $350 million budget funded in part by the Michigan Department of Health Human Services, general fund, grants and Oakland County.

“I am very grateful the Oakland County Board of Commissioners selected me for this important role with such an outstanding organization,” said Cowan, a Co-leader of the firm’s Governmental Affairs and Business Planning & Transactions practice groups. “OCHN is dedicated to serving those who are among the most in need of help and assistance in our community, and I am pleased to be part of this network.”

Cowan has the distinction of having previously served as President & CEO of Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest full-service law firms. Currently, he focuses his legal practice on obtaining governmental licensing and real estate development approvals for clients at the local, county and state levels. He has particular experience advocating on behalf of clients seeking zoning, site plan and other land use approvals. Cowan also represents clients before state administrative boards, as well as with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

Additional areas of his expertise include banking law, business law and transactions and corporate law.

A 1984 magna cum laude graduate of the Detroit College of Law, now known as the Michigan State University College of Law, Cowan has been involved in some of the state’s largest and most significant business deals, including a bid to build a Detroit casino, securing approvals for multi-million-dollar developments in suburban communities, and assisting with the financing package that helped make the city of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain” bankruptcy possible in 2014.

Cowan, who received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts/Boston in 1978, is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association; the Real Property Law, Corporation and Business Law, and Public Corporations Law sections of the State Bar of Michigan; and the State and Local Government Section of the American Bar Association.

During his more than 30 years of practice, Cowan served 14 years as a member of the Royal Oak City Commission. After six years as a City Commissioner, he was elected and served four consecutive two-year terms as Royal Oak Mayor. As a result of his extensive experience as a public official, Cowan offers a unique perspective to advising clients on legal issues related to all levels of government.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in seven Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms.

For more information about Dennis Cowan joining the OCHN board of directors, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or via email at jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

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May 14 | This Week in Government: Chamber Proposes Return to Work Plan; State to Get $1B More Fed Funding Than Expected

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

  1. Detroit Regional Chamber Suggests $400M ‘Return to Work’ Plan
  2. State to Get Almost $1B More Than Expected From Feds
  3. House Moves Supplemental With Frontliner Pay Tied to Ad Board Limits
  4. Bill Would Provide Income Tax Credit for COVID-Impacted Businesses
  5. $445M COVID Supplemental, Child Tax Credit Bills Clear Senate

Detroit Regional Chamber Suggests $400M ‘Return to Work’ Plan

Grants to train and hire employees along with incentives for those getting vaccinated are the key policies the Detroit Regional Chamber proposed to Republican appropriations leaders in a plan released Monday.

The Chamber floated three grant programs that would expire when the funds run out or by Labor Day, calling it the “100K by Labor Day Back to Work Plan,” in a letter to Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell).

It would include:

  • $2,000 return-to-work grants for each returning or new employee, spending $200 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
  • $1,000 in training grants for each returning or new employee for employers to use for training or an additional signing bonus, spending $100 million in federal funds.
  • $100 vaccine incentive grant for employers to support the costs associated with incentivization or compensating time off for employees receiving a coronavirus vaccine, spending $100 million in federal funds.

A House supplemental proposal (HB 4421) would allocate $1,000 in return-to-work grants, spending $400 million.

The Detroit Chamber also expressed support for efforts to dedicate $150 million in federal funds to the Unemployment Compensation Fund.

“Many elements of Michigan’s economy have struggled over the past year, but signs for a strong rebound are evident. Ensuring job creators have the talented people needed to meet consumer demand and accelerate Michigan’s economic recovery is a goal we share,” Detroit Regional Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah said in a letter. “Building on your strong proposal, the chamber believes a bipartisan solution to accelerate employment growth, economic growth, support vaccine efforts, and replenish our UIA Fund is possible. The Chamber looks forward to working with you to take this positive step for Michigan’s businesses and their employees.”


State to Get Almost $1B More Than Expected From Feds

Michigan is set to receive $6.54 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, the U.S. Department of Treasury said Monday, about $885 million more than originally thought.

The federal agency on Monday announced its interim rule on how states and local governments can spend the funding.

Cities are set to receive $1.82 billion, more than the $1.78 billion originally cited. Counties will receive $1.94 billion and non-entitlement units – or townships – are set to receive $644 million, less than the $686 million originally estimated.

Townships will receive the funding through state appropriations. Other local governments will receive funding directly.

Local governments should expect to receive funds in two steps, with half provided beginning in May 2021 and the balance delivered 12 months later. States that have experienced a net increase in the unemployment rate of more than two percentage points from February 2020 to the latest available data as of the date of certification will receive their full allocation of funds in a single payment; other states will receive funds in two equal tranches.

The crux of the money’s purpose is to meet pandemic response needs and rebuild a “stronger, more equitable economy as the country recovers,” Treasury said.

Funding can be used to support public health expenditures and address negative impacts caused by the public health emergency, which includes economic harm to workers, households, small businesses, and the public sector.

Governments can also replace lost public sector revenue by using funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic.

Additionally, funding can be used to provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Health care needs exacerbated by the pandemic, including substance abuse and mental health treatment, services, hotlines, and crisis intervention, can also be addressed with the funding.

States can also support small business and help speed up the recovery in tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors. They can also work to replenish unemployment trust funds up to pre-pandemic levels.

Funding can also be used to serve the hardest-hit communities and families, which can include investments in housing, addressing educational disparities, and promoting healthy childhood environments.

States cannot use the funding to directly, or indirectly, offset a reduction in net tax revenue due to a policy change implemented after March 3, 2021, and cannot use the funding to make a deposit to a pension fund.

The federal government is also prohibiting the funding from being used for debt service, legal settlements or judgments, and deposits into rainy day funds. Further, general infrastructure spending is not allowed outside of water, sewer, and broadband investments.

A House proposal does include funding for a Flint water crisis settlement and debt service, but uses General Fund for those payments.


House Moves Supplemental With Frontliner Pay Tied to Ad Board Limits

Premium pay for frontline workers during the pandemic would be contingent on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing a bill limiting the State Administrative Board’s transfer powers under a supplemental spending plan passed Thursday in the House.

HB 4420 passed 65-42. HB 4082, which limits the Administrative Board to transferring $200,000, passed 58-49. The move comes after Gov. Whitmer used the board to transfer roughly $600 million of the state budget to other things after negotiations broke down between her office and the GOP-led Legislature.

Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) and Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) joined the Republicans in voting yes on the bill.

The supplemental includes $68.6 million in premium pay for frontline workers in the Department of Corrections, $2.4 million in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and $11.9 million in the Department of State Police.

HB 4669, which would create the Transportation Bond Repayment Sinking Fund, also passed 58-49 with Cambensy and Whitsett voting yes.

Under the bill, the Department of Treasury could deposit money and other assets into the fund and the Department of Transportation would be required to deposit funds whenever it issued new bonds.

Specifically, MDOT would have to make dollar-for-dollar deposits up to $234.6 million each fiscal year until an amount equal to the amount of the new bonds was deposited. HB 4420 includes $626 million for the fund.

Amendments made to HB 4420 on Thursday include funding for police officer support (see separate story), $160 million for hospitals, and $220 million for child behavioral health.

Ms. Whitsett saw an amendment adopted to the bill providing $4.8 million to expand access to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which serves elderly residents in their homes. Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) also saw an amendment adopted to the bill that would provide $5 million for air quality monitoring and increased monitors in Detroit.

Otherwise, Democrats tried to amend the bill and failed. An amendment from Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) sought to fund programs like Michigan Reconnect, and Rep. Richard Steenland (D-Roseville) sought to reimburse local clerks for extra costs incurred during the 2020 election, along with several more from caucus members.

House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) blasted Republicans and called the tie bars cruel.

“We must focus our efforts on defeating this pandemic so schools and businesses can have the freedom to safely and fully reopen,” she said. “Our friends and neighbors right now were in their hour of need, and yet we’ve waited five months in this chamber, and we’re using that desperation to leverage a political agenda. These federal dollars, make no mistake, they have so many strings attached to them, I’m surprised I haven’t tripped over one on the way to this podium. The waters are rising, the tie bars in this funding force Michiganders to buy a lifeboat, because we’re willing in this chamber to trade away authority to play a political game.”

House Majority Floor Leader Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) called the moves by Gov. Whitmer in 2019 to line-item veto and re-appropriate dollars for certain programs through the State Administrative Board cruel. He called his bill to limit the transfer powers a compromise.

“As we look at any civics course schoolbook, the legislative process is outlined fairly simply. Bills pass the House and Senate, are sent to the governor for signature or veto,” he said. “In Michigan, we may need to place an asterisk noting that in addition to that process, with appropriations, even those things which are passed by both chambers and signed by the Governor are subject to wholesale elimination and reappropriation by an administrative board, which in part consists of the Governor’s own appointees. That’s absurd.”

Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit), the minority vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said he was encouraged by several items in the supplemental, adding that he is also concerned not all options were exhausted on the strings tied to pay for frontline workers.

“We still have a long way to go. And it’s no secret, we do not agree on budget prescriptions. But as the old saying goes, if two people always agree, one of them is redundant. However, I’m hopeful that after today we will escalate our budget dialogue, differences and all, to come to those solutions that best benefit our residents, families, and communities in the state of Michigan.”

Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy said the Governor has said she is willing to work with anyone who wants to work with her to get things done.

“But we will not let Republicans distract from the fact that they are passing budgets to cut funding for schools, skills training, health care, and clean drinking water while Michigan’s economy is recovering from the worst public health crisis in 100 years,” Leddy said in a statement. “These cuts will hurt Michigan kids, frontline workers, seniors, and working families. It’s time for Republicans in the Legislature to align their priorities with the needs of Michigan’s citizens and start working with the Governor to pass a budget that jumpstarts our economy, invests in our future, and gets us back to normal more quickly.”

The bill also includes $550 million for the Unemployment Insurance Stabilization Fund to be transferred to the state’s trust fund if it falls below $235 million, funding for studies on learning loss and coronavirus orders, and the overall plan includes funding for the Flint water crisis settlement, debt service, and the rainy day fund, though it does use General Fund for those items.

The U.S. Department of Treasury has limited the use of federal recovery funds for settlements, debt service, and rainy day funds.

State Budget Office Director Dave Massaron said in a statement the state needs to be sure it is following federal guidelines.

“The recent guidelines just announced are very specific in that there are differences in how we can spend ARP funds compared to how we could spend CARES Act funds,” he said. “For example, when it comes to supplanting funding for payroll, public safety and public health payroll in FY20 and FY21 was done under a provision of the CRF guidance that allowed states to presume that their public safety and public health staff were substantially dedicated to COVID-19. That blanket presumption is now gone.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) told Crain’s Detroit Business he still wants to use the federal funding to free up General Fund for legal settlements, reserve funds, and debt service.

In a statement Thursday, he said the budget proposals passed this week would “deliver results for the people of Michigan.”

“This is a significant time in our state’s history, and this budget plan helps chart the best path forward,” he said. “It provides resources where they are needed most, and that starts with our kids who have missed far too much instruction in the past two school years. It provides more tools for families and communities to stay healthy and address the financial challenges posed by this pandemic. It’s fiscally responsible and prepares for the day this wildly unsustainable wave of federal COVID assistance eventually ends.


Bill Would Provide Income Tax Credit for COVID-Impacted Businesses

Business owners that experienced temporary closures and income loss during the coronavirus pandemic would be eligible for an income tax credit to provide relief for losses incurred during periods of closure over the last year through a bill before a Senate committee Wednesday.

Before the Senate Finance Committee for testimony only was SB 393, which drew support from Republicans on the panel and a business owner that testified.

The bill would amend the Income Tax Act to allow for, during the 2020 and 2021 tax years, a qualified taxpayer that experienced the closure of his or her business to receive a tax credit against the income taxes equal to the business’s total property tax collected that calendar year. The credit would also be available for a portion of a business’ rent if it leases property subject to property taxes or against a taxpayer’s liability as a member of a flow-through entity if the business owner is a member of a flow-through entity.

The bill would be retroactive to tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lum) said his bill would be for qualified business owners that were closed for at least six weeks during the pandemic and lost at least 25% of sales.

“They made bank-breaking investments to keep their employees and customers safe, and many were still forced to close their doors during the pandemic and some unfortunately for good,” Daley said. “This bill creates another source of relief to help some businesses who were hit by the governor’s shutdown orders stay afloat and hopefully keep their doors open.”

Aaron Keel, director of legislative affairs for the Department of Treasury, said the agency had no position on the bill. Some concerns by the department, he said, include the possible cost to the state both in revenue and in administration of the proposal.

Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) expressed frustration over business owners being forced to close while state employees did not miss a paycheck. He also said the Governor also vetoed multiple attempts by the Legislature to provide relief to business owners.

“I’m just having a real trouble with how Treasury and the administration can go ahead and stand by and say ‘nope, it’s fine, we’re not going to provide any relief to these folks that we’ve forced to close down no fault of their own’,” Nesbitt said.

Keel said the department is not saying no, but that the issue needs to be part of a broader budget conversation.

This prompted Nesbitt to argue that putting relief in the tax code is the best method and would provide fairness to all business owners. He said business relief programs have had scattered results at best, noting many business owners in his district have not been able to obtain any funding through state programs for grants or relief.

Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), committee chair, said some form of equitable relief is critical.

“What we’re proposing here is objective,” Runestad said, noting the business owner would provide proof of qualifying for relief.

Daley agreed, saying business owners have gone through significant hardships to stay afloat.

“We’re a year late already on this thing,” he said. “These guys need this relief, and they need it quick.”

PPE TAX EXEMPTION: Also before the committee for testimony only were HB 4224 and HB 4225, which would exempt businesses from sales and use tax when purchasing personal protective equipment and other coronavirus-related items to prevent infection.

The bills would only allow businesses to obtain the exemption if the products, either PPE or other personal property if it the purchases were related to COVID-19. Businesses would also be required to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place. The proposed exemptions would be retroactive to March 10, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.


$445M COVID Supplemental, Child Tax Credit Bills Clear Senate

Supplemental appropriations providing significant federal coronavirus relief funding for emergency rental assistance passed the Senate unanimously Thursday while separate legislation to provide a child tax credit drew a more divided vote and competing takes on the proposal’s impact.

The supplemental, SB 37, contained $445.7 million gross spending, with $424.7 million being federal pandemic relief and the remaining $21 million General Fund.

The lion’s share of the federal funding, $378.3 million, would go to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for emergency rental assistance. Another $46.4 million federal funding was for Federal Emergency Management Agency projects recommended to the state by the Department of State Police.

A December 2020 COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress is the source of the federal funding.

For the $21 million General Fund, the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget would be used for the purchase of Venture Michigan Fund vouchers.

The supplemental was passed 35-0 without debate.

Also passing was SB 378, which would amend the Income Tax Act to allow for a $500 income tax credit for four tax years with the tax year beginning Jan. 1, 2022, and ending Dec. 31, 2025.

Senators voted 25-10 on SB 378.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), said Michigan families have likely endured one of the toughest years in state history during the pandemic and noted that many families will likely feel its impacts for a long time.

Runestad then spoke about what he said was a declining birth rate in the state, noting his understanding is one reason for a lower birth rate is economics.

“To have a child is very, very expensive,” Runestad said. “Today with so many of these families trying to return back to the workplace, they’re really struggling with child care.”

He said the cost for child care is extremely high, costing several thousand dollars per year.

“We are trying to help these families by giving them back $500 of their taxes to be able to offset these family’s costs and hopefully be able to allow families to have children again,” Runestad said.

Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) said the devil was in the details of the bill, pointing to the Senate Fiscal Agency’s analysis of an estimated $725 million reduction of income tax revenue for the General Fund and School Aid Fund per year. The estimated split would be a reduction to $690.5 million to the General Fund and $34.5 million to the School Aid Fund per year.

She said that money would be taken from schools for the same children are educated, which makes no sense.

Geiss also pointed to the fact there once was a $600 per child tax credit for dependent children under age 19, but that was eliminated by the Legislature in 2011. She said some current members of the Senate were among those who voted for the elimination of the credit at that time.

The fact the proposal only provides the credit for four years struck her as odd as well, she said.

“It’s almost as if families and the care and nurturing of dependent children only lasts for four years, which is laughable because it’s 18 at minimum,” Geiss said. “It seems to be an arbitrary number not grounded in reason.”


Related:

Chamber Advocates for Passage of PPE Tax Exemptions for Michigan Business

Letter: Chamber Proposes $400M Plan To Incentivize Workers To Reenter The Workforce Amid Increasing Demand

Let’s Detroit Virtual Career Expo to Provide Opportunities to Job Seekers in Detroit

Let’s Detroit, Detroit Regional Chamber support regional networking event, May 24

DETROIT (May 13) – With Michigan hitting the first “Vacc to Normal” milestone of 55%, the demand for workers in the state is high. In an effort to help connect employers to eager Michiganders looking for opportunities in Detroit, Let’s Detroit announces a virtual career expo on May 24th. The expo follows a successful career event in November 2020, where Let’s Detroit partnered with state and regional partners to highlight career opportunities in the region.

The Let’s Detroit virtual career expo will help jobseekers connect with top employers in the Detroit region. The event takes places May 24, from 4-6 p.m., and will use the Brazen platform. The event is free, but registration is required.

“This virtual event provides a new platform to help individuals interested in relocating to the Detroit region and local job seekers by connecting them directly to major employers who are looking for talent,” said Greg Handle, vice president of Education and Talent at the Detroit Regional Chamber, who oversees the Let’s Detroit initiative.

Participants can look forward to connecting with organizations including Bosch, Citizens, Consumers Energy, Cooper Standard, Ford Motor Company, Kelly Services, Kroger, Magna, Meritor, ITC, and Rocket Mortgage. Featured industries and sectors include finance, accounting, IT, supply chain, health care, communications, marketing, and STEM fields. Those interested in participating and viewing the complete list of employers can register for free here.

About Let’s Detroit

Let’s Detroit was created by the Detroit Regional Chamber to encourage young talent to find and advance their careers in the state. Using a website, texting communication, and social media engagement, the program aims to achieve three main objectives: improve the narrative around Detroit and Southeast Michigan, increase graduates in Southeast Michigan, and cultivate an innovative, engaged, and culture-focused business community to drive economic prosperity. Let’s Detroit was launched to help achieve the Chamber’s goal of increasing postsecondary education attainment in the region to 60% by 2030.

Michigan Set to Lose Congressional Seat

5/12/2021

Michigan Chronicle 

By Megan Kirk

Mandated by the Constitution, every ten years the United States Census Bureau conducts a national count of people, coast to coast, to gauge population growth, race and age, household incomes and other demographics. The results are used to help allocate federal funding for hospitals, schools, roads and many other infrastructures to ensure the full function of these locales. This term’s census count was met with a unique challenge causing a change in the execution of it.

If the pandemic was not enough, the Census Bureau stopped the necessary count roughly one month earlier than predicted. Halting door-to-door efforts, online responses, phone and mail-in forms, the census completed counting in September of 2020.

In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer formed the 2020 United States Census Complete Count Committee. Consisting of business and community leaders to represent the people, the committee worked to overcome various barriers and collaborate to obtain an accurate population count for the state. With over 10 million residents, the state will lose a congressional seat shrinking from 14 to 13 members in the House of Representatives. While this may not seem like a drastic shift, losing a seat would mean a slightly smaller voice in the House and less voting power.

“Each Michigander will have a slightly diminished voice in the national conversation as the state will be represented by one fewer person in Washington. Broadly speaking, Michigan did well at getting folks counted and increasing participation, so that will ensure the state continues to receive the appropriate allocations for any funding distributed based on population,” says Eric Guthrie, State Demographer for Michigan.

Set at 435 members in the House of Representatives, each state’s representation is based on its population size. Although the state’s population grew slightly since the 2010 census count by roughly two percent, Michigan’s lost seat will likely be a gain for a state in the country’s south or west as seats are reapportioned.

“That means we have one less member that communicates to the nation on behalf of Michigan and the Great Lakes,” says Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Since the 1980 census, Michigan has steadily lost seats and representation in the House. As Michigan continues its descending trend, residents could potentially pay the price. However, a shot at redemption will not come for another ten years when the Census Bureau conducts its next count.

“When the Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission redraws the district boundaries, they will draw one less district.  This is the same process Michigan has experienced for at least the last four censuses.,” says Guthrie. “The only way to gain a seat is through the same process the state lost the seat.  If the population change is sufficient within the context of the national population distribution after the next census, a seat could be gained.”

This decade’s census was met with an unpredictable challenge in dealing with a national health crisis. With the introduction of COVID-19, a sharp pivot in approach was forced and many organizations and entities had to shift their focus to ensure the safety of workers and the general public. The coronavirus helped to stifle response rates despite efforts to rally more support and participation in the 10-year assessment.

“Efforts were disrupted because just when we were getting ready to launch the census, it was deterred by the pandemic,” says Baruah.

The next ten years will be telling for Michigan as the population either grows or declines. With a growing economy, there is a chance of potential growth in major markets across the state such as automotive and technology. In addition to growing markets to attract relocation to Michigan, the state must put efforts towards keeping its talents local.

“These seats are based on the state and national population distributions, so anything that retains population or encourages positive net migration would have been a benefit.  There is no single action or policy that would have changed this outcome,” says Guthrie.

View original article here

‘100K By Labor Day’ Plan Pushes Incentives To Fill Labor Shortage

5/12/2021

62 CBS Detroit

(CBS DETROIT) – As Governor Gretchen Whitmer gives employers the green light to welcome workers back, the Detroit Regional Chamber is working to get more people employed.

“Unemployment benefits have become so rich that people are hesitant to come back into the workplace either remote or in office,” said Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah.

Baruah says the labor shortage is taking a toll on employers and their ability to keep up with product and service demands.

The chamber is now crafting an initiative to help people return to the workforce.

“Right now, you know you have the unemployment benefits but those are going to run out relatively soon. Right now the labor market is really rich. You know if you want a job and you’ve got some talent you can get a job without any problem,” said Baruah.

The 100K By Labor Day “back to work plan” is a $400 million proposal submitted to Michigan legislators to encourage workers to re-enter the job market.

Some of the incentives include a $2,000 return to work grant for new employees, a $1,000 training grant for employers for each new hire and a COVID vaccine incentive for employers to support vaccine costs.

“But our legislative proposal is really about getting people who are currently receiving unemployment benefits to take one of the many, many, many jobs that are available either in a physical workplace or even remotely because all kinds of employers are kind of short on staffing, in fact people call it the SOS challenge, you know we’re short on staff,” said Baruah.

The proposed incentives are set to expire on Labor Day or until funds run out.

View original article here

Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce announces ‘100K by Labor Day Back to Work Plan’

5/11/2021

WXYZ Detroit 

By WXYZ Web Team

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce recently submitted a new plan to legislative leaders aimed at getting Michiganders back to work in the coming months.

President and CEO of the regional chamber, Sandy Baruah, spoke on Tuesday’s 7 Upfront segment about the plan and how both Michiganders and businesses would benefit from the proposal.

The 100K by Labor Day Back to Work Plan outlines a $400 million return-to-work proposal, which encourages workers to re-enter the workforce.

The incentives of the plan include:

• $2,000 return-to-work grant per returning/new employee: One-time grant, receivable upon 60 days of employment. (ARP funds: $200 million)

• $1,000 training grant to employers per returning/new employee: For employer use to provide training or an additional signing bonus, contingent upon eligible employee(s) remaining on the job for 60 days. (ARP funds: $100 million)

• $100 vaccine incentive for employers: Support employers covering costs associated with vaccine incentivization or compensating paid time off for employees getting vaccinated. Capping the program at $100 million could encourage one million Michiganders to get vaccinated. (ARP funds: $100 million)

All proposed incentives would expire on Labor Day 2021 or when funds are depleted, whichever comes first, a release from the Chamber states.

View original article here

Sandy Baruah Makes Appearances on The Guy Gordon Show and The Paul W. Smith Show

Sandy Baruah ~ The Guy Gordon Show

May 11, 2021 ~ Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, tells Guy Gordon why they are suggesting return-to-work grants.

Sandy Baruah ~ The Paul W. Smith Show

May 12, 2021 ~ The CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber talks to Paul about his proposal to get Michigan residents back to work.

Pentastar Aviation Receives Top Ranking of FBOs by Professional Pilot Magazine

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN / May 12, 2021 / AVIATION NEWS – Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation services, announces they have been named a top 5 Best US and Best Independent FBO (Fixed-Base Operator) in the 2021 Professional Pilot Magazine PRASE Survey.

The PRASE Survey, heralded as the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders, is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of the services they receive. Each year Professional Pilot magazine polls executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified subscribers to recognize industry-leading service providers.

“Professional Pilot magazine is one of the most respected publications in the aviation industry, and we are so proud that their readers continue to recognize us year after year,” said Greg Schmidt, President & CEO, Pentastar Aviation. “Even during the unprecedented times we faced in the past year, our team continued to deliver on our commitment to provide world-class customer service, and we could not be more proud of this recognition.”

ABOUT PENTASTAR AVIATION
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, has been servicing regional and global travelers for over 56 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). Pentastar provides private jet charter, award-winning FBO services, aircraft management, Fivestar Gourmet®, advisory, customer interiors and maintenance services, Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S. FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Our team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to our customers.

Contact: Pentastar Aviation: Tracy Neil, Director of Marketing, 248-666-8200,
tneil@pentastaraviation.com, pentastaraviation.com, facebook.com/PentastarAviation, linkedin.com/company/Pentastar-Aviation, twitter.com/PentastarAv, instagram.com/Pentastarav

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Pentastar Aviation Receives Top Ranking of FBOs by Professional Pilot Magazine

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN / May 12, 2021 / AVIATION NEWS – Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation services, announces they have been named a top 5 Best US and Best Independent FBO (Fixed-Base Operator) in the 2021 Professional Pilot Magazine PRASE Survey.

The PRASE Survey, heralded as the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders, is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of the services they receive. Each year Professional Pilot magazine polls executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified subscribers to recognize industry-leading service providers.

“Professional Pilot magazine is one of the most respected publications in the aviation industry, and we are so proud that their readers continue to recognize us year after year,” said Greg Schmidt, President & CEO, Pentastar Aviation. “Even during the unprecedented times we faced in the past year, our team continued to deliver on our commitment to provide world-class customer service, and we could not be more proud of this recognition.”

ABOUT PENTASTAR AVIATION
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, has been servicing regional and global travelers for over 56 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). Pentastar provides private jet charter, award-winning FBO services, aircraft management, Fivestar Gourmet®, advisory, customer interiors and maintenance services, Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S. FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Our team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to our customers.

Contact: Pentastar Aviation: Tracy Neil, Director of Marketing, 248-666-8200,
tneil@pentastaraviation.com, pentastaraviation.com, facebook.com/PentastarAviation, linkedin.com/company/Pentastar-Aviation, twitter.com/PentastarAv, instagram.com/Pentastarav

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MassMutual Great Lakes and First Independence Bank Announce Strategic Alliance Expanding Insurance and Investment Access

MassMutual Great Lakes (MMGL), a Southfield-based firm offering a wide range of financial products and services, is pleased to announce a strategic alliance with Detroit-based First Independence Bank (FIB), the only African American-owned bank headquartered in Michigan and the 7th largest in the country.

The alliance will enhance FIB’s ability to provide comprehensive financial services to its retail and commercial clients in Detroit and nationwide, many of whom have been historically underrepresented when it comes to accessing these services.

“At MassMutual Great Lakes, we believe every individual, small business owner and corporation deserves the right to financial services and strategies designed to create stability,” said Manuel Amezcua, president and CEO of MassMutual Great Lakes. “Our commitment is to develop meaningful relationships that reshape the financial well-being and success of a diverse group of individuals and institutions in the communities we serve.”

MassMutual Great Lakes helps protect the needs of individuals, families and businesses through insurance, wealth accumulation and investment planning, business, retirement and estate planning, trust services and more. MMGL Wealth Management Advisor, Maurice Miller, Jr. CFP®, ChFC®, and Detroit resident, will serve as an onsite advisor at the 7 Mile branch location. Starting in May, he will be available virtually 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays and by appointment on Saturdays.

To kick off this partnership, an initial series of virtual financial wellness sessions is being offered throughout the month of May. These complimentary sessions are open to FIB employees, clients and the broader community. Topics include: Understanding Life Insurance; Envisioning Retirement; and Setting Financial Goals. Interested participants can register directly here.

“We are thrilled about our new partnership with MassMutual Great Lakes. Together, we will help move the financial literacy, stability and mobility of our Detroit community and beyond,” said Kenneth Kelly, chairman & CEO of First Independence Bank. “This ongoing partnership, where MassMutual Great Lakes holds equal measure of commitment and lends its resources to serve FIB customers and our surrounding community, will add value to all involved.”

“The investment and advisory products that will be made available through this alliance will complement our current product offerings to our retail and business banking customers,” added Dimitrius Hutcherson, executive vice president, CAO, CTO, First Independence Bank.

First Independence Bank opened its doors nearly 51 years ago in May of 1970. While many things have changed, there is still a significant racial wealth gap in the U.S. According to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the 2019 median wealth of Black households in the U.S. was $24,100, compared to $189,100 for white households.

“For more than five decades, First Independence Bank has played an important role in addressing economic inequality and helping to create economic stability,” said Gina Coleman, MMGL Chief Sales Officer. “We are excited to form this alliance with FIB to increase financial education opportunities and access to financial products and services while enhancing the level of convenience offered to the bank’s clients and the surrounding community.”

About MassMutual Great Lakes

At MassMutual Great Lakes, we believe every individual, small business owner and corporation deserves the right to a comprehensive financial services and strategies designed to create stability. Our commitment is to develop meaningful relationships that reshape the financial wellbeing and success, for both individuals and institutions, in the communities we serve. Visit us at greatlakes.massmutual.com.

Local firms are sales offices of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies.

Securities offered through registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS), Member SIPC® (www.SIPC.org), or a broker-dealer that has a selling agreement with MML Distributors, LLC (MMLD), Member SIPC®, or MML Strategic Distributors, LLC (MSD). MMLIS, MMLD, and MSD are subsidiaries of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001, all members of FINRA (www.FINRA.org).

Strategic Alliances are not exclusive relationships. You are free to choose your own professional for these needs. Strategic Alliance firms are not affiliated with MML Investor Services, LLC. And are solely responsible for their own products and services provided.

Investments and/or insurance products offered

ARE NOT insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
ARE NOT bank deposits or other obligations of or guaranteed by the bank
ARE subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of principal amount invested

About First Independence Bank

First Independence Bank is the 7th largest African-American-controlled commercial bank in the United States. It offers a variety of high-quality banking services from managing accounts to personal loans, mortgages, consumer education and investments. First Independence bank has three locations and offers banking solutions online and digitally through its mobile app. Established in 1970, the bank continues to be a responsible leader, efficiently serving the financial needs of its community, its businesses, and its customers nationwide. First Independence Bank is a member of FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. For more information visit firstindependence.com.

First Independence Bank is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC.