Rehmann Announces 19 Promotions in Southeast Michigan

TROY, Mich., January 14, 2021 – Rehmann, a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm, has announced it is celebrating the promotion of 19 associates throughout Southeast Michigan. Among them, four associates have been promoted to Principal positions.

The promotions include:
• Danielle Ambrozy – Detroit – Principal – Ambrozy is responsible for providing accounting and tax services to small to large health care practices. She specializes in implementing cloud-based accounting solutions and providing consulting services, including benchmarking, internal controls, and bookkeeping services
• Michelle Hodges Michelle Hodges – Detroit – Principal – Joining Rehmann in 2005, Hodges coordinates, performs and supervises accounting solutions, consulting, and assurance engagements. She serves clients in a variety of industries, with a focus on not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities
• Tony Licavoli – Troy – Principal – Licavoli joined Rehmann in 2015 and supervises tax engagements for clients in a multitude of industries. He sits on the firm’s tax reform subcommittee, helping to develop content and tools to assist advisors and educate clients on the technical aspects of new tax legislation
• Purvi Shah – Farmington Hills – Principal – Joining Rehmann in 2009, Shah is responsible for corporate and individual tax preparation and financial statements, with an emphasis in the health care industry. She also provides business management and consulting services to physicians
• Michael Cannon – Troy – Assurance Senior
• Carley Chrencik – Troy – Assurance Supervisor
• Gena Crichton – Troy – Senior Level MarCom Specialist
• Chris D’Agostino – Troy – Assurance Senior
• Melissa Furest – Troy – MarCom Manager
• Cody Goldsworthy – Detroit – Assurance In-Charge
• Josh Katkin – Detroit – Assurance Senior
• Norbert Klein – Farmington Hills – IT Senior Support Technician
• Anita Lee – Troy – Professional Support Senior
• Tangela Lucas – Detroit – Professional Support Manager
• Kayla McCarthy – Troy – Assurance Supervisor
• Sam Muehlenbeck – Detroit – Assurance Senior
• Shelby Oakes – Troy – Assurance Senior
• LaDeana Roach – Troy – Professional Support Senior
• Jonathan Sheena – Detroit – Advisory & Tax Senior

Rehmann and its associates deliver forward-thinking results to clients through the firm’s progressive service model, designed to provide satisfaction and confidence. It has grown to become one of the largest financial services and advisory firms in the country, with nearly 900 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann’s associates are committed to working collaboratively to cultivate ideas, service and experience.

About Rehmann
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm that provides accounting and assurance, comprehensive technology, accounting and human resource solutions, specialized consulting and wealth management services. For more than 75 years, Rehmann has provided forward-thinking solutions, making it our duty to anticipate our clients’ daily and future needs.
Rehmann has nearly 900 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at rehmann.com.

Contact: Holly Shier
248.458.7923
holly.shier@rehmann.com

Jan. 15 | This Week in Government: Open Carry Ban Adopted at State Capitol, Indoor Dining Ban Extended

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. Restaurants, Bars to See Curfew Once Reopened
  2. Open Carry Gun Ban Adopted for Inside State Capitol
  3. UIA Begins Issuing $300 Supplemental Unemployment Benefits
  4. Wentworth Officially Speaker, Says It’s Time to Regain People’s Trust
  5. House GOP Seeks Supermajority for Lame Duck Bills

Restaurants, Bars to See Curfew Once Reopened

The “three-week pause” for restaurants and bars in Michigan on dine-in service will instead grow to nearly 11 under an updated order issued Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, and while Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she now hopes to allow dine-in service to resume Feb. 1, she announced there would be a curfew in place.

DHHS initially closed dine-in service Nov. 18 for three weeks. Then it was extended another 12 days. Then it extended the closure through Jan. 15. Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer confirmed publicly what Gongwer News Service and other media outlets reported Tuesday, that the closure would run through the remainder of January.

However, this time she couched it in terms of a planned reopening on Feb. 1.

“If numbers continue to head in the right direction, our hope is that we will be able to resume indoor dining with strong safety measures in place on Feb. 1,” she said. “We’re working on a path to allow indoor dining at restaurants with safety measures, such as mask requirements, capacity limits, and a curfew starting on Feb. 1.”

DHHS did announce one reopening in another sector. Indoor group fitness and exercise studios, as well as non-contact sports indoors, can resume, provided masks are worn and distance is kept.

The news angered Republicans who called for Ms. Whitmer to let restaurants reopen dine-in service Jan. 16. And restaurant industry leaders were unhappy to say the least.

Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, said DHHS had identified falling case numbers, hospitalizations, and the percentage of people testing positive as the metrics to determine when restaurants could reopen dine-in service. All have fallen dramatically since Nov. 18, he said.

“The Governor’s continuation of this pause without a plan – now expanding to 75 days – is without parallel in the nation in terms of its unwillingness or inability to provide leadership to a decimated industry and its workforce,” he said in a statement. “There are more than 100,000 unemployed hospitality workers and thousands of small operators on the edge of bankruptcy all waiting for hope and direction, and once again it did not come. This is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability. Michigan’s restaurants have been closed for more days than any other state since the onset of the pandemic and Michigan stands alone as the only remaining statewide closure of dining rooms without a discernible, data-driven path to reopen and fully reintegrate in the economy.”

Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said bars and restaurants were looking forward to reopening dine-in service Jan. 16 and have been long ready to reopen.

“We hope this is done right. If requirements are too restrictive, many businesses may choose to remain closed because it just won’t be worth it for them,” Ellis said in a statement. “At the end of the day, an additional two-week closure means more businesses will close their doors forever, communities will lose their gathering places and workers will find themselves desperately seeking employment in an economy that’s in shambles.”

Gov. Whitmer was asked about the anger among restaurant owners and employees at the ever-extending closure.

“The restaurant industry across the country, around the globe frankly, is struggling because we know that places where people are mixing households, taking off their masks and dining inside is inherently where we see spread. Study after study after study has shown that,” she said.

Gov. Whitmer noted restaurants can offer takeout and outdoor dining. She reiterated the state has provided assistance.

“We have done a number of things to help them try to get through this tough time. The fact of the matter is as we are looking at the numbers; we see an uptick in positivity and tests,” she said of a recent uptick in cases, though the number of new cases is still far below the November peak. “I know that people are frustrated, and it’s been a difficult thing.”

DHHS Director Robert Gordon said now is not the time for the state to lower its guard.

Asked why restaurant owners and employees should believe February 1 is when the state will let them reopen, Gov. Whitmer said the state will have to watch the coronavirus data and also noted the state is watching for the new variant of the virus.

“When this appears in Michigan, it is going to be a very concerning moment,” she said. “In the next two weeks, we’re going to continue to watch the numbers. We’re going to continue to work with the industry. It’s important that we get this right. We want to ensure that consumers, customers, workforce alike, knows that when the reengagement happens, that they’re going to be safe. That’s crucial. Consumer confidence is a very important part of our economic resurgence.”


Open Carry Gun Ban Adopted for Inside State Capitol

After months of discussion, the Michigan State Capitol Commission on Monday approved a ban on the open carry of guns inside the Capitol, a move praised in some quarters as a good start and derided in others as a half-measure that does not do enough to keep lawmakers and the public safe.

Questions about the safety of allowing firearms in the Capitol have percolated for years.

The most recent push to ban guns at the Capitol began last year following a rally in which armed individuals entered the Capitol, some of whom loomed over the Senate in that chamber’s gallery with rifles slung over their shoulders. Some of those men were later charged with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A ban on open carry was approved during a special meeting Monday afternoon by a 6-0 vote and is effective immediately. The ban does not cover the concealed carry of firearms, nor does it prevent guns outside on the Capitol grounds. Those who enter the Capitol with a concealed pistol will need to have a valid concealed pistol license.

Commissioner William Kandler, who worked with Commission Vice Chair John Truscott for months on reviewing the issue of guns inside the Capitol, called the move a responsible step to improve safety. Prior to the vote, Kandler said an open carry ban was as far as the commission could go due to not having a budget for extra security measures without legislative approval.

“We determined that the really extreme limit of our real authority to actually implement something was to implement a ban on open carry,” Kandler said. “We have no authority to…implement the infrastructure to go beyond that at this point, we have no budget to do it, we have no, we’re not experts in security. So, this proposal would just ban open carry in the Capitol building. We didn’t come to this conclusion lightly, but we think this is the best and most honest policy for us to implement now.”

Commissioners were expected to meet later this month, but instead chose to meet Monday in the aftermath of last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists who were the first to briefly occupy the nation’s seat of power for the first time in more than 200 years.

Safety concerns have been raised by Democrats since an April 2020 protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus response that featured some armed individuals entering the Capitol and standing in the Senate gallery. At least one of the armed individuals photographed in the gallery that day was among those arrested in connection to an alleged October plot to kidnap and possibly kill Gov. Whitmer.

Monday’s vote comes two days before the Legislature convenes to begin the 2021-22 legislative session. Lawmakers have expressed safety concerns following last week’s events in Washington, D.C., which began as a rally by supporters of President Donald Trump who have refused to accept his loss in the November 2020 presidential election.

Michigan, prior to Monday’s vote, was one of only a few states that allowed both concealed carry and open carry of firearms within its Capitol building. By contrast, Capitol rules prevent the open or concealed carry of signs inside the building due to concerns over the potential to cause damage.

In spring 2020, Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a ruling that the commission could ban guns inside the building. An outside legal opinion was obtained that reached the same conclusion.

Last week, a crowd of pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing Vice President Mike Pence and members of leadership to be whisked away to safety and the remaining members of Congress to seek shelter in secured locations. The crowd was cleared hours later, and a joint session of Congress that was meant to certify the Nov. 3, 2020, election of President-elect Joe Biden was eventually completed.

Last week’s events at the U.S. Capitol, along with a bomb threat called in to the Michigan Capitol the morning after, shone a renewed spotlight on an issue that the commission has been grappling with for about a year.

“I too am pleased that we’re at this point today in making a first step toward dealing with gun issues as they affect our Capitol,” Commissioner Joan Bauer said prior to the vote.

Commissioner Kerry Chartkoff said the issue has been tough to weigh, adding she has received thousands of emails from the public, many outlining a desire to go further and enact a total firearm ban.

“I think it’s been one of the most difficult ones to ever confront either the Capitol Commission or its predecessor, the Capitol Committee,” Chartkoff said.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) last week though a spokesperson voiced support for a ban on the open carry of guns in the building.

House Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell), however, in a statement said the commission does not have the authority to enact policy inside the building.

“The speaker is grateful for the work of the Capitol Commission, but it does not have the authority to set policy in the Capitol,” the statement said. “The speaker will be looking at options for handling that moving forward. In the meantime, the Michigan State Police will be enforcing the new ruling. In order to ensure there is no confusion in the Capitol, Speaker Wentworth asks everyone to respect the Michigan State Police and the rules they enforce.”

Gov. Whitmer in a statement said the vote was a first step but she also called for a full ban.

“The Capitol Commission’s action to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is a good start, but more action is needed. On a normal day, hundreds of people walk through the Capitol, including groups of fourth-graders, teachers, and parents on school field trips to learn about state government,”  Gov. Whitmer said. “That’s why we must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe. I am hopeful that the Capitol Commission will recognize the need for further action, and I stand ready to assist in implementing this policy to keep Michiganders safe.”

Nessel in a statement echoed Gov. Whitmer’s words.

“Firearms – whether explicitly visible or concealed by clothing – possess the same capability to inflict injury and harm on others and only banning open carry does little to meaningfully improve the safety and security of our Capitol,” Nessel said. “I urge the commission and our Legislature to take the proper action and pass the necessary reforms that truly take into account the safety of those visiting and working in our Capitol. Today’s actions are simply not enough to do that.”

Democratic lawmakers were not impressed with the vote.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) in a statement said that the commission’s move fell short.

“Let me make this clear: The Capitol Commission’s proposal to ban open carry from the people’s building does not ban bullets,” Polehanki said. “Most mass shootings are carried out with handguns and dying by bullets discharged from shorter barrels is not a compromise, nor a solution. No one is safe until a complete ban on all firearms from the State Capitol is enacted and anything less is an abdication of the Commission’s responsibility.”

Polehanki last week said she went to a military surplus store to purchase safety gear to store at her Senate desk, including a helmet and gas mask. She already owns a bulletproof vest due to the April 2020 rally.

Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) expressed similar thoughts in an email to commissioners.

“Simply banning open carry is a half measure that could still lead to mayhem and bloodshed as people with intent to cause harm would still be permitted to have weapons on their person,” Geiss wrote. “After the horrific events that we saw occur on Jan. 6 at our nation’s Capitol, vigilance and prudence with respect to this decision and vote is of the utmost importance. After the April 30, 2020, rally at our Capitol…we know that improving the safety and the quality thereof is necessary as there are those who present a clear and present danger.”

Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) on Twitter Monday said banning only open carry was not a viable option.

“The Capitol Commission’s decision today to prohibit the open carrying of firearms in the Michigan State Capitol fails to address the safety concerns that remain and does nothing to further protect the thousands of visitors and hundreds of staff who work in the building.” Hertel wrote. “Michigan is one of only nine states that allows firearms in their state Capitol. Of those nine states, Michigan is one of only three that also have no security measures in place, such as metal detectors or security screenings upon entering the building. We are the outlier here.”

House Democrats were in agreement with their Senate counterparts following the vote.

“There must be a full prohibition on carrying any firearms into the Michigan Capitol, however, I am grateful for this first step the Capitol Commission took today, given that the @ABC is reporting that there will be armed protests at statehouses between now and the inauguration.” Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) tweeted Monday.

Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Detroit) on Twitter questioned what he considered a lack of urgency by the commission given recent events. He pointed to reports of an FBI bulletin warning of armed protests being planned at all 50 statehouses and the U.S. Capitol in the days ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

“There (are) plans to literally have ARMED demonstrations across state capitols next week. Does blood have to be spilled on the lawns of Lansing for change to happen?” Aiyash said.


UIA Begins Issuing $300 Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

Weekly Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments for $300 have begun hitting the bank accounts of Michiganders, the Unemployment Insurance Agency said in a statement Monday – however those who have filed for claims after Dec. 26 will not see these funds due to issues with technical updates.

Roughly 365,000 residents on state unemployment insurance or extended benefit programs will receive the $300 payment. The money is payable from Dec. 27, 2020, through March 13, 2021, for all eligible unemployment recipients who receive at least $1 for the week.

For those who filed in the weeks after Dec. 26, however, the UIA said it will not be able to complete certifications and payments will not be issued until technical updates to the unemployment insurance system are completed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

As of Monday, the UIA said its staff has been working nights and weekends to see through the updates and that the updates: “will only be a disruption and claimants will be made whole once the extensions are fully implemented.”

An estimated completion date was not immediately offered.

“The UIA team worked tirelessly to ensure that Michigan was one of the first states to implement the PUC program,” UIA Acting Director Liza Estlund Olson said in a statement Monday. “And now that we’ve received additional USDOL guidance we remain committed to implementing the remaining federal PUA and PEUC programs as quickly possible to get money out the door. These workers should rest assured that they will not miss out on any benefits and will receive every dollar they are entitled to once the programs are fully implemented.”

Claimants do not need to take any additional action to receive the weekly benefit as it comes following an extension of the initial payment program through the federal COVID-19 relief package passed in December.

Eleven additional weeks of benefits for those who have exhausted regular state unemployment benefits are provided through PEUC, while PUA provides unemployment benefits to those not typically eligible for unemployment, including self-employed and gig workers.


Wentworth Officially Speaker, Says It’s Time to Regain People’s Trust

House members on Wednesday put aside stark differences on the coronavirus response and deep disagreements on how some Republicans responded to the 2020 election to unanimously elect Rep. Jason Wentworth as the new speaker.

Despite the opening day of 2021-22 looking different due to the coronavirus, the day was light in the House with Republican leadership passing over a resolution to declare Jan. 16 “dine-in day,” even though the governor was announcing an extension of the closure of indoor dining at the same time.

The day also saw Clerk Gary Randall reelected to the post for the last time, as he plans to retire from the chamber this year.

Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) gave a thoughtful seconding speech to nominate Wentworth as speaker even though the two are at a disagreement on seating members who have questioned the election results without substantiated proof.

Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton) gave the first speech nominating her colleague as speaker.

Wentworth, in his first speech as the leader of the House, said the body must work to regain the trust of people in this state. He said the best way to do that, is to involve people in creating solutions to the challenges they face.

“I do believe it is our job to use our perspective to keep other elected officials and bureaucrats accountable as they make decisions on COVID and other issues. It is our job to be advocates to officials who do not have the same connection with our local communities,” Wentworth said. “It is our job to fight passionately and act as tireless advocates for them. We haven’t had enough of that state government this past year, and it shows in far too many ways. But this is not a simple partisan point. I don’t believe for a moment that this goes one way. We will hold this administration accountable to the people we represent and make sure their concerns are heard and made a priority. But I also expect the Democrats in this chamber to hold me and the members of my caucus accountable to that same standard.”

Wentworth said if the House wants to improve the handling of the pandemic and deliver solutions being demanded by residents, members must leave their comfort zones and look for new perspectives.

“For this administration, one way to do that is listen to the people so that numbers and politics don’t crowd out real world impacts we’re having on constitutional rights and citizens’ abilities to make ends meet and provide for their families,” he said. “For Republicans in this chamber, one way to do that as look outside of one’s own perspective to deliver common sense solutions across old political lines.”

Wentworth said residents expect lawmakers to put aside their differences and get things done, “and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

“We’re going to do the people’s work and we’re going to deliver the results where they matter the most. At a time where much is unpredictable, only genuine teamwork will allow us to overcome any obstacles and make the most of the next two years,” he said. “And for as many challenges that we have in front of us, we have just as many resources, dedicated servants, and proud citizens. We have every reason and opportunity to succeed. And I’m honored to be doing that work with you here in this House.”

Bollin, in her nominating speech, said in Michigan and across the country people are frustrated because they feel government is the problem, “not the conduit for solutions.”

“Because they don’t trust their elected officials or the process, and because they don’t trust each other,” Bollin said. “Such times call for a leader, who is strong and undaunted by opposition or challenge. Someone who is confident, calm, considerate, and commanding. One who is deliberate and determined, principled, and practical. Someone who knows that they are here to serve the public, not to be served. Today in Michigan, we need someone who accepts this role and understands their obligation to fulfill it with integrity, a conscience, and a respect for this institution. A person who is humble yet fearless. One who is hopeful, and one who offers hope to others.

“We need someone who understands their role as leader of one of the three co-equal branches of government. One who works well with others, and not at the expense of those we represent,” she said. “We need a leader who understands how important it is to create a culture that allows the entire company to move forward, not just a selected platoon. As a former military police officer, husband, and father, Jason Wentworth is that leader.”

Lasinski said as the new session begins, the House must move forward with bipartisan legislation, bipartisan debates, and a commitment to approach “the people’s business” with integrity.

“Perhaps more than anything else, Michiganders need hope. Over the past year, frontline workers, our health professionals, doctors, nurses, first responders, educators, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, and so many others have stepped up and put their own lives at risk to serve the people of our state. These amazing individuals represent all that is best in us, as Michiganders, and as a people,” she said. “We must emulate their selfless example to show the people of this state that their elected officials also care about what they care about most. I have no doubt that my colleague from the 97th District cares just as deeply about faithfully representing the families of this state, and upholding our oath to the state of Michigan, and the United States, as I do.”

Lasinski said after a year of division and polarization, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to show the country what can be accomplished in a bipartisan way.

“As elected officials our words and actions matter,” she said. “What we do in this chamber and how we interact with each other, reverberates far beyond these walls. We have the solemn responsibility of setting an example for how people with different ideas can still come together to get things done. And I believe we can, and I believe we will. I know my good colleague from the 97th District to be a man of integrity and honor, who has demonstrated through his military service and his dedication to the United States.”


House GOP Seeks Supermajority for Lame Duck Bills

A joint resolution requiring a two-thirds majority to pass any bills during the legislative period after an election during an even-numbered year – known as lame duck – is one of the first priorities of Speaker Jason Wentworth as he takes the reins of the House Republican Caucus and the chamber.

Wentworth (R-Farwell), who was officially chosen as speaker by the House on Wednesday, and Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield) announced government reform bills during a press conference ahead of the opening day of session.

Hornberger’s HB 4001 would prohibit members from voting on legislation that could personally benefit them or their families. The current version of the bill is likely to see changes as it works through the process, Hornberger said.

Wentworth plans to offer a joint resolution requiring a two-thirds majority to pass any bills during the lame-duck period of even-numbered years.

“I’m offering legislation to address transparency and accountability by changing the lame duck process. As legislators we have a 24-month window to create policy for people in the state,” Wentworth said. “The last month of session can be productive. But members also feel pressured to get things done and there’s not a lot of time to do that. There are a number of reasons lame duck sessions aren’t viewed very favorably. People think that members who aren’t returning aren’t necessarily accountable to voters for those last votes. And they think the Legislature waits for the lame duck to vote on controversial issues. And there’s a time crunch. Lame duck is full of many votes. And that means there’s not a lot of time to review legislation make necessary changes.”

Wentworth said changing the process would create more transparency and help ensure legislation has strong bipartisan support. It also will lead to more trust of election officials, he said.

Hornberger noted similar policies to her bill have been implemented elsewhere. She said it’s simple: no elected official should be able to vote on legislation that could benefit themselves or a relative.

“Over the years, it’s become apparent through various studies that Michigan residents do not trust their government,” she said. “That’s a huge problem. As a legislator, it’s my job to listen to the concerns of the people and implement changes to respond to their needs. This plan accomplishes that, and I’m hopeful it’s just a first step to help restore faith in our state government.”

Wentworth said other similar bills will be introduced in the coming weeks and they will move as a package.

Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians, said in a statement that it is time to clean up Michigan’s government and restore the public’s trust in elected officials.

“Lame duck and conflicts of interest reforms are a good first step,” she said. “We support these reforms and hope the legislative leadership will also prioritize others, such as making the governor’s office and Legislature subject to open records laws and requiring financial disclosure by legislators. We look forward to working with any member of the Legislature who is committed to making our government truly responsive and accountable.

US Chamber of Commerce: State of American Business

“The State of American Business is resilient,” Tom Donohue said optimistically as he kicked off the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 State of American Business virtual event. During the address, Donohue unveiled the U.S. Chamber’s 2021 Policy Priorities while outlining the path for a widespread economic recovery through a bold agenda of infrastructure investments, workforce reskilling, immigration reforms, and reinvigorating America’s global competitiveness.

The event was structured as a “Rally for Recovery” and featured multiple panels that focused on the business community’s role in strengthening democratic institutions, forging bipartisan solutions, and innovation.

Donohue did not shy away from some of the most significant challenges that the country faced while also highlighting some of the most significant success stories. “Our nation has seen it in the determination of small businesses who have kept their doors open and kept their employees on payrolls against all odds…we’ve seen it in the tireless dedication of the essential workers who have kept daily life running for all of us…and we’ve seen it in the precedent-shattering global innovation leading to the development of safe and effective vaccines, faster than anyone dreamed.”

An Uneven Recovery and 10 Million Jobs Lost

“Some industries, businesses, and segments of the workforce have thrived,” he said, noting the surging stock market, housing prices, and some companies and industries thriving amid the pandemic. “But it’s a very different story for those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Entire industries have been decimated because people aren’t traveling, gathering, shopping, or going out like they used to.”

With 10 million American jobs lost in the last year, and small business disproportionately impacted – particularly minority- and women-owned businesses, many of which have closed – Donohue urged policymakers to focus on a broad-based economic recovery.

“We won’t restore the jobs, growth, and prosperity that were lost in 2020 until we eradicate the pandemic and get our economy firing on all cylinders,” Donohue said. “And for that to happen, our elected officials must pull all the right policy levers—and push back against misguided proposals—in 2021.”

Donohue stressed that the Chamber will work with the incoming Congress and Biden administration to ensure industries, businesses, and workers make it through the end of the pandemic economic crisis. He added that if Congress sufficiently supports the economy with additional relief, economic growth could return to pre-pandemic levels by the third quarter of this year.

“This must include all the support necessary to get the vaccines widely distributed and administered—only then can we truly move past the pandemic,” he said.

A Long-Overdue Infrastructure Package

“Our lawmakers should enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package that focuses on urgent needs like roads and bridges, modernizes our critical networks, and upgrades and expands technology like broadband,” Donohue said, noting that such a package is the “one way to raise productivity, create jobs, and drive up incomes in a hurry.”

“Even in a 50-50 Senate and a House divided by five votes, this can be done—and it might build some goodwill for bipartisan progress on other priorities,” he said.

Reskilling the American Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow

Donohue stated that a broad-based and speedy economic recovery hinges on reskilling workers and fostering inclusive growth.

“Our lawmakers should fund rapid training programs to connect the unemployed with jobs in new sectors,” he said, stressing the need for employer-led initiatives to lead the way to align industry needs and in-demand skills. “Some of the best-paying sectors—such as health care or financial and professional services—have more job openings than available workers. If we do this right and do it quickly, we will improve the living standard for millions of Americans and get our economy growing even faster.”

Addressing Racial Inequality and Reforming Immigration Policies

In addition to job reskilling, Donohue stressed that policymakers need to tackle race-based systemic inequality in education, entrepreneurship, and the criminal justice system–as outlined in the Chamber’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative–and immigration reforms to ensure the American workforce is highly skilled.

“Allowing the world’s most talented and industrious people to contribute to our economy drives growth, which in turn creates more jobs for Americans,” he said. “We fought vigorously and successfully against actions by the Trump administration to severely limit legal immigration, and we will work cooperatively with the Biden administration to reform our immigration system to meet the needs of our modern economy.”

Excessive Regulations and Anti-Competitive Taxes

“As a new government prepares to take the reins, we must prevent a return to excessive regulation or anti-competitive taxes,” Donohue warned, citing the positive effects of regulatory relief and pro-business policies on the economy before the pandemic. “Now is exactly the wrong time to further test the resiliency of businesses by hiking taxes or heaping on new regulations that do more harm than good.”

If such actions are taken, Donohue said, the Chamber would “use every tool at our disposal—including in the courts—to protect our recovery, our competitiveness, and our economic future from the regulatory overreach.”

America’s Long-Term Strength and Competitiveness Requires Global Engagement and Leadership

Finally, Donohue stressed the necessity for America to “reengage with the world through a bold trade agenda” to drive growth and prosperity. He said, “in recent years our resilience has been tested through trade wars and tariffs.”

Specifically, Donohue called for the end of the many tariffs enacted in recent years, paid for by American consumers, that have hurt farmers and manufacturers, and to reaffirm American leadership in multilateral organizations like the WTO and WHO.

After Donohue spoke there were three panels and closing remarks by U.S. Chamber Foundation President Suzanne Clark:

DISCUSSION: FORGING SOLUTIONS AND LEADING THE RECOVERY

  • Nela Richardson, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, ADP
  • The Honorable John Katko(R), New York Congressman
  • The Honorable Abigail Spanberger(D), Virginia Congresswoman
  • Moderated by: Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

DISCUSSION: STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY AND THE ROLE OF BUSINESS

  • Marlene Colucci, Executive Director, The Business Council
  • Andrew Wilson, Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise
  • Moderated by: Gregori Lebedev, Chairman, Center for International Private Enterprise

DISCUSSION: INNOVATING AND ADAPTING FOR THE FUTURE

  • Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber
  • Penny Pennington, Managing Partner, Edward Jones Investments
  • Mike Roman, Chairman and CEO, 3M
  • Opening remarks and moderation by: Suzanne P. Clark, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Detroit Regional Chamber members can access resources from the U.S. Chamber including:

Butzel Long attorneys discuss key provisions of PPP Round 2 during Michigan Manufacturers Association free webinar on January 19, 2021

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long attorneys will discuss key provisions of a new round of Payment Protection Program (PPP) funding that was signed into law in late 2020 during a free webinar presented by the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) from 12-1 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which included several provisions related to the PPP first established under the CARES Act and the amendatory Flexibility Act. Among the numerous provisions of this comprehensive bill was the creation of the “COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020,” which made several changes to the PPP structure and the “Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act,” which established a much-needed second round of PPP funding.

During the hour long webinar, Butzel Long attorneys will explore the interplay with prior law and regulations related to PPP loans.

Featured presenters include:

• Justin G. Klimko – Butzel Long President and CEO – He has extensive experience in securities regulation, corporate financing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate matters, fields in which he has practiced since 1980.

• Bernard J. Fuhs – Butzel Long Vice President – He has a nationally recognized expert on non-complete and trade secret matters, having litigated and/or counseled clients on such matters in all 50 states.

• Brett J. Miller – He is the Chair of Butzel Long’s Employment Practices Liability Insurance Sub-Practice, focusing on employment and labor law as well as fair housing litigation.

• Thomas A. Kabel – He is a Butzel Long shareholder practicing in the area of commercial real estate and real estate-related finance.

Registration is required. Please visit: https://mimfg.growthzoneapp.com/ap/Events/Register/nplxgwyp

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as an alliance office in Beijing. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long

LaBar joins Plunkett Cooney’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group

Attorney Joshua LaBar recently joined the Insurance Coverage Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest full-service law firms.

A former judicial law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman of the Michigan Supreme Court and to Judge Thomas C. Cameron of the Michigan Court of Appeals, LaBar represents leading property and casualty insurance companies in coverage litigation. His practice involves a variety of litigated issues, including environmental contamination, product liability and construction defect claims, among others.

An associate in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, LaBar graduated, summa cum laude, from Michigan State University College of Law in 2016. While there, he served as Articles Editor of the Michigan State Law Review and received several academic accolades, including jurisprudence awards. LaBar received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2012.

Plunkett Cooney has long been recognized as having one of the nation’s premier Insurance Coverage Practice Groups. This group’s insurance consulting and litigation practice involves coverage disputes and regulatory proceedings in a range of matters, including, but not limited to, claims of bad faith, toxic torts, personal and advertising injury, construction liability, reformation and rescission, professional liability and first-party property coverage.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business 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 Joshua LaBar joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

Plunkett Cooney promotes four to shareholders of the firm

Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, recently named four associate attorneys as its newest shareholders.

Ryan M. Bates, Roderick Fracassi, Matthew L. Hendricksen and Nicole Ruggirello were recently approved by the firm’s Board of Directors as the firm’s newest shareholders. The promotion from associate or senior attorney is based on the recommendations of the firm’s Shareholder Evaluation Committee, and the change in status was effective on Jan. 1.

Bates is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office who focuses his practice on insurance-related claims involving no-fault law and motor vehicle negligence, including theft and property damage. A former in-house attorney for an international insurance company, Bates has extensive experience handling cases and pre-litigation investigations involving an array of insurance matters, including subrogation, fraud and third-party actions. These claims range from potentially high-exposure litigation involving complex and catastrophic injuries to comparatively low-exposure theft.

Recognized as a Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Insurance Law, Bates received his law degree from The Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2005.

Fracassi is a member of the firm’s Transportation Law Practice Group. He focuses his practice primarily on servicing the transactional, regulatory and litigation needs of clients in the trucking and logistics industries. With over 17 years of experience in the transportation industry, he has extensive experience defending litigation involving catastrophic injuries and fatalities, and advising clients regarding sales, licensing, vendor services and procurement contracts. Clients also rely upon Fracassi for counsel and representation in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, real estate, intellectual property, risk management and bankruptcy.

A member of the firm’s Detroit office, Fracassi graduated from the Michigan State University College of Law in 1994. He received his master’s degree from Wayne State University the same year.

Hendricksen is a member of the firm’s Chicago office who focuses his practice in the area of commercial litigation. He represents lenders, creditors and landlords in collection lawsuits, bankruptcy proceedings, fraudulent transfer claims, replevin actions, priority disputes and troubled loans.

A member of the Chicago and Illinois State bar associations, Hendricksen graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2008. He received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University in 2002.

Completing Plunkett Cooney’s lineup of new shareholders is Ruggirello, who is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office. Ruggirello practices primarily in the area of insurance coverage law, representing several major property and casualty insurance companies in coverage cases throughout the Midwest. Her coverage work includes handling a variety of issues, including environmental contamination, construction defect and high-exposure product liability claims.

Ruggirello is a former research attorney and law clerk to the Judge Michael J. Riordan of the Michigan Court of Appeals. She also worked as a judicial intern to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman and Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Admitted to practice in state courts in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, Ruggirello received both her law and undergraduate degrees, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame in 2011 and 2008, respectively.

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

For more information about Plunkett Cooney’s newest shareholders, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

Rehmann’s Steven Gibson Recognized Nationally Among NAPA’s Top 100 Young Retirement Plan Advisors

Rehmann’s Steven Gibson Recognized Nationally Among NAPA’s Top 100 Young
Retirement Plan Advisors

TROY, Mich., January 12, 2021 – The National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) has named Rehmann’s Steven Gibson among the Top 100 Young Retirement Plan Advisors, an honor recognizing leaders in the retirement plan advisor industry.

“Steven serves all his clients with integrity, creating strategies that help them meet or exceed their financial goals,” said Ryan Sullivan, Managing Director of Wealth Management at Rehmann. “In addition to tremendous client work, Steven lends his creative thinking to the work we do across Rehmann and in the local community. We see nothing but continued leadership and top-notch results on the horizon for Steven.”

Joining Rehmann as a Principal in 2020, Gibson’s service areas include investment analysis and portfolio design, fiduciary due diligence support, retirement plan consulting, plan participant education and communication, plan design and implementation.

Gibson began his financial services career in 2008 and has consulted on a variety of different plans for corporations, not-for-profits and government entities. He has extensive knowledge of financial planning and the many facets of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. Gibson is actively involved in professional organizations, including the Michigan Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (MAPERS), Alliance Benefits Council of Detroit, CFA Institute and CFA Society of Detroit.

Established in 2014, this year’s NAPA list was drawn from nearly 700 nominations provided by NAPA Broker-Dealer/RIA firm partners and vetted by a blue-ribbon panel of senior advisor industry experts. The selected winners are chosen based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data submitted by the nominees, as well as a broker-check review.

NAPA, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, was created by and for retirement plan advisors. Membership includes retirement industry professionals who support the interests of plan advisors.

About Rehmann
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm that provides accounting and assurance, comprehensive technology, accounting and human resource solutions, specialized consulting and wealth management services. For more than 75 years, Rehmann has provided forward-thinking solutions and made it a priority to anticipate our clients’ daily and future needs. Rehmann has nearly 900 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at rehmann.com. Contact Steven today at steven.gibson@rehmann.com.

Securities offered through Rehmann Financial Network, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Rehmann Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.

Erin M. Pawlowski Joins Dickinson Wright Detroit Office

DETROIT, Mich. – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Erin M. Pawlowski has joined the firm’s Detroit office as a Member.

Ms. Pawlowski is a corporate attorney with expertise spanning a broad array of complex transactions. She works with brands in a wide range of industries including the apparel, consumer products, software, and banking industries, among others. Ms. Pawlowski is passionate about providing excellent-client service, striving to find creative and nimble solutions for her clients and to deliver advice in a succinct and actionable manner. Ms. Pawlowski previously served as a litigator for a private law firm and as in-house counsel at Carhartt, Inc. where she worked on a broad range of legal matters involving corporate transactions and compliance, intellectual property, and litigation, giving her invaluable perspective when advising clients on transactional matters.

Ms. Pawlowski has been recognized as a leader in her field by Michigan Super Lawyers. Ms. Pawlowski received her B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. The firm has 19 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 12 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise, and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification and one of the only firms with ISO/IEC 27701:2019 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management procedures, security controls and privacy processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

 

Michigan Small Business Owners Advocate on Capitol Hill Calling for Long-Term Small Business Pandemic Relief

Nearly 100 small business owners from across Michigan participate in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices effort to advocate for policies that aid Main Street businesses 

DETROIT – (January 13, 2021) – Nearly 100 small business owners from across Michigan today joined 2,000 of their peers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in calling on Congress to pass additional federal pandemic relief to keep America’s Main Streets strong. The Virtual Hill Day is an initiative of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, which gives Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni from across the country a platform to advocate for policy changes that will help keep their businesses, employees and communities vibrant by offering them the tools, resources and training needed to make their voices heard.

While small business owners expressed appreciation for the pandemic relief passed last month, they shared that the aid was a short-term fix for a long-term problem. The recently passed bill would allow some small businesses to limp into spring while wondering how they’ll survive until a vaccine has been widely distributed.

“Small businesses across Michigan continue to struggle as the pandemic ravages Main Streets. For many small business owners, the pandemic upended our business models and forced us to making difficult decisions including reducing staff, shelving plans to grow, taking on debt to cover expenses and forgoing our own pay as we watch our revenue evaporate,” said Sanya Weston, owner of Your Premier Travel Service in Novi, Michigan. “Our message to Congress as we participate in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices Virtual Hill Day is that while we appreciate the assistance passed last month, the state of small business is still dire and, without additional assistance, the American people and American workers will suffer further economic devastation.”

As part of the virtual advocacy day, Michigan small business owners held video meetings with the offices of Michigan’s congressional delegation, including Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.

Small businesses play a crucial role in building and strengthening local and regional economies across our nation. America’s more than 30 million small businesses employ nearly half of the private sector workforce. In Michigan, there are more than 870,301 small businesses, which comprises 99.6% of the state’s businesses and employs 49.2% of Michigan employees. Policies that Michigan small business owners advocated for as they met with elected officials include:

  • Lowering health care costs for small businesses: These costs were already high before the pandemic, and small business owners continued to call for assistance allowing better coverage of both physical and mental health.
  • Protecting small businesses from potential COVID-related litigation: Already faced with financial challenges, the threat of frivolous lawsuits accusing small businesses of spreading COVID-19 would decimate Main Streets across America. A temporary liability shield would offer small businesses the assurance they need to invest in their business and employees.
  • Increasing access to affordable child care: 87% of small business owners surveyed indicated that affordable child care was critical to fostering a healthy and inclusive workforce.
  • Incentivizing large businesses to use more small businesses as vendors: According to a recent survey, less than half of small businesses generate revenue from contracts with corporations, with 88% reporting that difficulties identifying opportunities is a significant barrier to securing such work.
  • Simplifying government Request for Proposal (RFP) process for small businesses: While one in three small business owners surveyed indicated they have generated revenue from business through state, local and federal government contracts, over half surveyed indicated they wanted to learn more about the government RFP process.
  • Offsetting re-opening costs: To meet local and state requirements, and to protect their customers’ health and safety, small businesses have invested significantly in materials and supplies to reopen. 86% of small business owners say tax incentives to offset these costs incurred would help ease their financial pain.

To read the full Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices Small Business Agenda, please click here.

To learn more about Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses in Michigan, or to apply for the program, please visit https://www.10ksbapply.com/.