Regional economic development leaders tell House lawmakers: Continued commitment to Michigan’s economic development strategy still needed

 Testimony shows statewide support for tiered approach to job creation 

LANSING, Mich. (January 26, 2021) – A broad coalition of regional economic development professionals from across the state today testified in support of House Bills 5425-5426, which establish the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program to win new jobs and investments for communities across the state. The bipartisan effort to establish a sustainable incentive program addresses one of the main concerns identified by industry leaders who have chosen other states over Michigan recently: the lack of a competitive, consistent economic development structure that includes incentives for establishing new, well-paying jobs.

As heard by the House Committee on Tourism and Commerce today, the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program would provide financial support for the creation of certified new jobs through income tax capture withholding from those jobs. If a company does not create the number of jobs specified, they would receive no funding. The bill creates three tiers for withholdings depending on the community’s population, as well as the number of jobs created, and the average wage offered for newly-created positions. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency says this approach would likely result in a net positive fiscal impact to the state.

“The bills approved at the end of last year are a great start, but we’re far from the finish line,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, President and CEO of Detroit Regional Partnership. “Other states still hold significant advantages over us in terms of competitive resources, the largest one being our lack of a competitive, consistent incentive structure that can put us near the top of the pack for the jobs of the future.”

Jennifer Owens, CEO of Lakeshore Advantage, said: “It’s a new year, and a new chapter in Michigan’s jobs story. We get to choose our next headline. Will our leaders show their commitment to truly revamping our approach to economic development and earning new jobs for this state? If we stop now, we will continue to suffer the headlines that show Ohio, Indiana and our southern competitors growing while we fall further behind. We need this program in place to keep Michigan in the running for new jobs and future growth.”

“Our strategic reserves are shored up to help cement investments that were already in the development pipeline and begin site preparation for future projects,” said James McBryde, President and CEO of Middle Michigan Development Corporation. “And yet, one smart bill package will not get us to a sound competitive position. To get back on the national radar and attract the kind of investment we need to grow our industry base, the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program must be approved.”

Members of the coalition who added a card of support in today’s committee hearing, in addition to the quoted organizations above, include:

  • Saginaw County Chamber
  • Bay County Chamber
  • Michigan Works! Association
  • Traverse City Connect
  • Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance

Winning Michigan Jobs is a group of regional and state leaders formed to provide a comprehensive, consistent, competitive economic development strategy. More information and a complete list of coalition members is available at