Archived Story

Jobs the focus of new House Republican report

Published 10:53am Friday, February 12, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

The House Republican Strategic Task Force on Jobs released a 33-page report this week that highlighted what they believe the state needs to do in order to “level the playing field” in Michigan and create a more competitive arena for businesses.

“The Michigan Jobs Plan outlines what it will take to get Michigan families back to work,” Rep. John Proos, chairman of the Jobs Task Force, said upon release of the report. “We need to encourage what our great state is known for – innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Over and over again, we heard that government doesn’t create jobs, but heard plenty of cases where government gets in the way of job creation.”

The task force, which collected data by speaking to business owners, workers, professionals, scholars and others throughout the state broke down their report into three primary objectives: “Reinvigorating, Reinvesting and Reforming” the state’s businesses and practices.

Proos, R-St. Joseph, told the Star on Thursday the plan would help the state “get out of the business of choosing the next big industry” and instead “level the playing field” providing more opportunities to the state’s current businesses and workers, promoting entrepreneurship and easing taxes put upon business owners.

In their release of the report, the task force said, “first the state must lower the tax burden on businesses to free up capital that can be invested in jobs. Second, obsolete and onerous regulations must be eliminated so that job providers can focus on greater profitability and productivity. Third, state economic development incentives and programs must be reevaluated to ensure that taxpayer money is being wisely spent on programs that deliver real and tangible benefits to the state’s economy.”
Proos said he commends Gov. Granholm for “seeking to make incentives available to technologies that may very well hold future jobs for our state,” but he feels a focus must be put on those businesses still struggling to keep the doors open and participate in the growth of the state’s economy.

“The small businesses account for over half of the jobs in the state of Michigan,” Proos said, clarifying that small businesses are characterized as having 50 or fewer employees. “They continue to be the backbone of the economy.”

The task force, made up of state Reps. Jase Bolger of Marshall, Kim Meltzer of Macomb Township, Bill Rogers of Brighton and Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City, as well as Proos, spent more than a year collecting data and research for the report.

Proos said in addition to speaking to members of the state’s workforce, the group also talked to competitors.

“We didn’t just talk to small and large businesses in Michigan,” he said. “We talked to our competitors too and one economic developer said it best, he said, ‘John we’ve got your old playbook and we’re eating your lunch with it.’”

Proos said Granholm had already taken note of some of the initiatives in the report.

The idea with those initiatives, he said, is to create a more competitive state of business for Michigan.
“If it is a more competitive place to do business and Michigan government is out of your hair allowing you to do what you do best then it’s going to improve for everybody,” he said. “”What we need is more taxpayers not taxes.”

At least 14 bills have already been introduced in the house and the senate. The full report is available at www.gophouse.com.

What do you think about Michigan’s current job situation or lack thereof? We want to hear from you. Contact the Star at 687-7703 or e-mail us at jessica.sieff@leaderpub.com.

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