Business and Legislative Forum Features Patterson, Bing, Lively MBT Discussion

The attentive crowd of business people from across Michigan who attended the Business and Legislative Forum, presented by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) in early October, were treated to remarks by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Detroit mayoral primary candidate and businessman Dave Bing and a lively discussion of Michigan Business Tax.

MBPA board chairman Lou Vescio with Dave Bing and L. Brooks Patterson. Photo by Marcus Patton

Patterson, who has been Oakland County Executive since 1992, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the MBPA for his distinguished service in representing his constituents in Oakland County and throughout Michigan, including his ongoing work in attracting and supporting business development.

Keynote speaker Dave Bing of The Bing Group addressed the group, talking about how his business has been able to survive in the automotive industry as it has undergone transformation. From the beginning, Bing said, his success has come from working with the right people. “As a leader you set the tone, but you need people to execute the plan.”

He continued: “I love competition and I know that our company has to change to survive.”

As he starts his anticipated “third career” as Detroit’s mayor, Bing said, “I have a vision for the City of Detroit. The key for me is to surround myself with talent, people who have integrity. I will be very business friendly. I am not negative to big business, but the heartbeat is small business.” He also underscored cooperating with the communities surrounding Detroit, enhancing public safety, addressing city budget issues and working toward a sound school system, as keys to Detroit’s success.

The Forum also presented a roundtable discussion on the Michigan Business Tax, moderated by Fox 2 News Anchor Murray Feldman. Panelists discussed the MBT’s effect on the Michigan economy and offered strategies for coping with the new tax. Panelists included State Representative Steve Bieda; Roger Buckholtz, Michigan Fair Tax director; Chris Holman, Michigan Economic Development Corporation Small Business Section; Scott Schrager, Michigan Department of Treasury; and tax attorney Wayne Roberts from Dykema.

Several members of the audience asked pointed questions about the MBT, many of them saying they have experienced significant tax increases as a result of the new business tax.

“These topics are what every small business owner should be educated about since they are affecting their livelihood and methods of conducting business statewide,” said Lou Vescio, MBPA board chairman.

This event was sponsored by DTE Energy, Dykema and Davenport University.