Ask any business leader what they value most in a location and they’ll tell you a healthy business climate is key. And they’re right. Thriving communities, a talented workforce, favorable tax and regulatory environments and strong infrastructure do matter-a lot.
But there’s more to the story. If the business climate is cyclical or prone to change, it becomes very difficult for a business to make any lasting headway. Therefore, smart business leaders will add a caveat to their answer, telling you they want a consistently healthy business climate.
Businesses typically make investments that take years to recoup. Economic, political or structural volatility prevents companies from delivering predictable results for shareholders and investors. While MI has made great progress the past five years rebuilding our economy, there are warning signs that we’re forgetting this first axiom of business success.
Consider this: we’ve cut support for business development just as the economy is recovering. Policymakers are talking about slashing or even eliminating the state’s economic development programs. There is also talk about trying to double the corporate income tax. While no state is perfect, these recent developments bring back memories of MI’s habit of changing economic policies with every election cycle. The best performing states, our competitors, realize they need to consistently improve their business costs and maintain strong economic development programs. They are, in a word, consistent.
MI has recovered from being the worst performing state in the U.S., and is now nearly back to the national average on most metrics. Five years of consistent policy and accomplishments have helped make this happen. We now have a shot at becoming a Top Ten state. Let’s build on the foundation that we’ve worked so hard to put in place and say no to policies that will erode it.