Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Help State Attract Investment, Create Thousands of Jobs

DETROIT — A legislative package she says will support small businesses and fully fund a “historic” economic development toolkit to “make Michigan a national leader in business attraction” was signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late last month.  

The governor signed House Bill 4603 to create a $1 billion economic development fund to ensure the state can compete for billions of dollars in investment and attract tens of thousands of jobs to bolster our economy. 

The governor signed Senate Bill 771 to create a $500 million fund to make our economy more adaptable to the rapid pace of technological change, supporting small businesses, and creating or retaining good-paying jobs. 

Additionally, the governor signed Senate Bill 769 to create a financing mechanism for both programs and Senate Bill 85 to provide full funding to start delivering for Michiganders right away. SB 85 will also provide direct assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This transformative economic development package will build on Michigan’s growing economic momentum. 

The package will “put Michiganders first and continue building on our economic momentum,” according to Whitmer.

“(The) bills will back small businesses and empower Michigan to grow and attract billions in investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said. “Because both parties in the legislature came together, our state will be able to win huge, transformational projects and compete effectively for every dollar and every job for decades to come.

“The critical economic development fund we have set up will pay massive dividends as we continue staying focused on growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families,” she added. “We also delivered resources directly to new and existing small businesses today, building on work we have been doing since March 2020 to ensure they can thrive. Our work over the last few months proves that when we come to the table in good faith and put Michiganders first, we are capable of extraordinary progress. I will continue working with anyone to deliver meaningful change on the kitchen-table priorities that make a difference in people’s lives.”  

At the bill signing, Whitmer was joined by House Speaker Jason Wentworth and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, who were instrumental in the passage of these bills. 

“Michigan is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. But our business climate is still holding us back from what we can be. Small businesses are struggling to fully reopen, large employers are picking other states for long-term investments, and far too many local workers are still on the sidelines. We need to step in and provide a shot in the arm that will lead to new opportunities for everyone. That is exactly what these bills do,” Wentworth said. “With this plan, we are giving small businesses a way to create new jobs in every corner of the state. We are helping large employers keep more opportunities here at home where they belong. And we are providing certainty, stability and opportunity to people worried about making ends meet when they sit down to pay their monthly bills. Those are the kind of results hard-working families need to see from their state government.”

Shirkey said the legislation doesn’t just “demonstrate Michigan is ‘in the game.’”

“We are establishing our seat at the table, side by side with investors who recognize the value of Michigan and its unique assets,” Shirkey said. “Purposeful budgeted actions will now replace the uncertainty of mortgaged futures. This first significant step must be accompanied by a disciplined commitment to improving and leading in every category, and, most importantly, friendly to moms and dads and families.” 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin Messer called it “an important beginning.”

“We appreciate the incredible diligence, hard work and collaborative approach to position Michigan for large-scale investments that accelerate growth in high-paying jobs, retain large customers for our small businesses and remain at the center of technological change for decades to come,” Messer said. 

John Walsh, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturing Association, said the state “must out-compete” other states to attract and retain manufacturing investment.

“I’m pleased to say that this package puts Michigan in the game for transformational investments as the auto industry and the component supply chain quickly evolves from the internal combustion engine to electric and autonomous vehicles,” Walsh said.  “We commend Legislature and the Whitmer Administration for working together and coordinating closely with the manufacturing industry to allow us to engage in the interstate battle for current and future jobs and investments.”