MI Voters Believe Economic Development Incentives Are Essential to Boost Jobs, Competitiveness

December 7, 2021
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  • Michigan voters say state not competitive
  • Support for investments at nearly 85%, crosses party lines

DETROIT— Michigan voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support investments to boost job growth and economic development, according to a new statewide survey released today by Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

The majority of voters say Michigan is not competitive for economic development and only 25% think Michigan is a top state when it comes to expanding businesses.

“States around the country have been working for decades to strengthen their economic competitiveness and create tools to win jobs,” said Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “With the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, shifts in the auto industry to electric vehicles and changes to the way we work, Michigan will need to act quickly to improve our economic development. While the best time to invest was 10-20 years ago, the next-best time to invest in our future prosperity is today.”

Approximately 85% of voters assert that Michigan should offer similar incentives as other states to win projects with 83% supporting direct financial incentives tied to job creation and 72% supporting the state purchasing and preparing the sites necessary to compete for economic development projects. Voters equally rate economic development as a high priority across party lines, with 88%, agreeing that it’s important for Michigan to be a top state for attracting and expanding businesses. Other top findings include:

  • About 83% of Michigan voters support direct financial incentives tied to job creation
  • About 72% of respondents support using American Rescue Plan dollars to purchase and prepare sites so that Michigan can compete for economic development projects that would bring thousands of new jobs to the state.
  • 84% of voters agree that landing big economic development projects is good for small businesses.
  • Michigan voters are concerned the automobile industry will go to other states. They are split whether the sector will continue to grow in Michigan. More than 86% of voters say it is important that Michigan design and build the cars of the future.  And by a 2-1 margin, Michigan voters believe the state is well positioned to compete for the electric vehicle industry.
  • 82% of those surveyed support creating a one-stop location in state government to coordinate worker education and training needs for new economic development projects.

“If Michigan is not competitive with other states in attracting and retaining good jobs, we risk losing not just job opportunities today, but well into the future – and voters clearly understand this and overwhelmingly support policies to keep our state competitive,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber.  “The bipartisan consensus around the importance of economic development policy should serve as a rallying point for Michigan to take the necessary steps to ensure we are competitive with the rest of the country.”

“The technological transformation to electric vehicles will happen quickly, and as the leading automotive state, Michigan must take steps to ensure the future of the automotive industry remains in Michigan,” said John Walsh, President & CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “Future investment in Michigan protects both smaller and larger companies throughout the supply chain, so we encourage policymakers to act to protect Michigan’s manufacturing future economy.”

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted the Michigan statewide survey of registered voters.   The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on November 14-19, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence.

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About Business Leaders for Michigan:

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a “Top Ten” state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. Our members drive nearly forty percent of the state’s economy, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly half of all Michigan public university students. Find out more at www.businessleadersformichigan.com.