Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) developed the 2012 Michigan Turnaround Plan to make Michigan a “Top Ten” state for job, economic and personal income growth. Our members live here, work here and raise their families here. They want to help create a good quality of life for Michigan residents and a vibrant, sustainable economy.
The Michigan Turnaround Plan reflects our optimism for Michigan’s future, based on progress made by our state’s elected leaders during the past year and the opportunities this headway provides for building a more vibrant state. Michigan’s turnaround has clearly begun, as evidenced by lower unemployment, higher economic growth and rising income levels. We believe these results have been made possible by following the kinds of recommendations advocated for in the Plan.
While we continue to place a strong emphasis on improving the fiscal and business climate of Michigan, BLM believes such a solid foundation has been laid by Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature that we can accelerate the pace of growth faster than originally projected. BLM originally forecast it would take close to a decade for Michigan to become competitive again. We now think Michigan can not only be competitive but also be a Top Ten state within that same time period.
To move Michigan to Top Ten status will require several actions:
- Prioritizing the investment of state revenue growth in higher education and transportation infrastructure. These investments yield the greatest returns to grow the economy. Specifically, to ensure we have the talent needed to fill future job openings, we recommend additional funding for universities based on how well they perform compared to their national peers. Likewise, we need to invest more in the bridges, airports and highways that connect Michigan to the global economy.
- Supporting the growth of Michigan’s cities and metro regions, as they disproportionately drive the state’s economy. Instead of investing in individual companies, we recommend that the state invest in services that benefit the growth of all Michigan businesses, as well as regional efforts that leverage unique economic assets and a few select urban redevelopment projects.
- Aligning policy, resources and efforts behind six existing Michigan assets that have the potential to grow a “New Michigan” economy by adding as many as 500,000 new jobs and $18,000 in per capita income over ten years – providing a clear path to Top Ten status.
These assets, and the opportunities they provide are:
- Leverage Michigan’s status of having more engineers per capita than anywhere in the nation by growing and branding Michigan as a Global Engineering Village that meets the global demand for engineering solutions.
- Capitalize on Michigan’s ideal strategic location, supply chain expertise and the growing shipment of goods to become an alternative to Chicago as a Gateway to the Midwest.
- Support the growth of our universities as a Higher Education Marketplace that meets the increasing need for talent by boosting in- and out-of-state college enrollments and increases university-based research and development.
- Develop a sustainable Natural Resources Economy that meets the world’s growing demand for food, water, leisure tourism and energy.
- Build on Michigan’s automotive heritage to become the Global Center of Mobility that meets the world’s rising need for personal transportation.
- Leverage our health and medical expertise to become a Life Sciences Hub that meets the needs of an older population and demands for higher quality of life.
The New Michigan strategy recognizes that while fiscal, budget, tax and business climate reforms are critical, they are insufficient for Michigan to become a Top Ten state in today’s economy. The most economically successful regions of the nation and world have leveraged their unique assets to become growth leaders. We can do the same.
BLM believes that focusing on the six existing strengths identified in the Plan, rather than picking business sectors to attract to the state, is the best path to growth. These six assets were identified after researching a wealth of data, case studies and turnaround models from similar economies around the globe. Each promises tremendous opportunities for success. Together, they have the potential to make our state a vital economic powerhouse.
Michigan cannot become a Top Ten state without the support of all Michiganders. We invite you to be part of this work. Each of us can have a role in Michigan’s turnaround by sharing the Plan with friends and family, asking your community to align its work with the Plan and encouraging our state leaders to do the same. If we focus our efforts, there’s no stopping Michigan from becoming the comeback story of the decade.