Michigan’s business community continues to speak with one voice for structural reform – before time runs out on the state budget

On Sept. 25, SBAM and 15 other business organizations jointly sent a letter to Gov. Granholm and Michigan legislators, calling on them to “hold the line and pass the budget deal that was agreed to by leaders in the Legislature” and opposing any tax increase on job providers.

Download the letter by clicking here.

In addition to SBAM, the organizations signing the letter were the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Regional Chamber, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Regional Chamber, Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, Kalamazoo Regional Chamber, Michigan Association of Home Builders, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Michigan Association of Realtors, Michigan Restaurant Association, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Business Leaders for Michigan, Michigan Grocers Association, Michigan Retailers Association and the Michigan Bankers Association.


SBAM's member-magazine honored

(From left, SBAM Vice President Communications Michael Rogers and SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler.) Focus on Small Business, SBAM's member-only magazine, has been honored by the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) with a 2009 Gold Award for Excellence in Magazine Publishing. The award was presented Sept. 23 at the MSAE Diamond Awards Dinner at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

Focus on Small Business is mailed six times a year to full SBAM members. Click here to join or upgrade your membership to receive this award-winning magazine.



(Video) Gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard

In this brief video, Gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard explains why he believes small business owners are important to Michigan's economy. Note: Bouchard's visit did not constitute an SBAM endorsement but was an opportunity for SBAM to have further dialogue with gubernatorial contenders.

SBAM insiders update on state budget situation

By SBAM’s Vice President Government Relations David Palsrok
As you know, there has been a considerable amount of news coverage on the countdown to a shutdown. Here is a brief update on what we know at this time.
There appears to be a bi-partisan/bi-cameral agreement on next year’s fiscal budget. Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and House Speaker Andy Dillon have reached a target setting agreement that closes the $2.8 billion dollar deficit with spending cuts, federal stimulus and with no new taxes. The “targets” establish how much each department will have to spend in the coming fiscal year. The next step is for the respective sub-committee chairs to negotiate how that money will be spent within their individual budgets.
Unknown factors:
What will Gov. Granholm do? She could veto the agreement. This would put the state on the path to a government shutdown. Undoubtedly, this would be extremely risky politically because she would virtually own the shutdown.
What will the Senate Democrats do? They could withhold an Immediate Effect vote. This too would put the state on the path to a government shutdown. Again, very risky to them politically because they would then own the shutdown.
What will House Democrats who are opposed to the Dillon/Bishop agreement do? Many are in key positions on the House Appropriations committee and can refuse to hold the conference committees that are needed to move the deal through the process.
Finally, there are also rumblings that the deal could get us through the Oct. 1 deadline. Then after the deadline supplemental bills could be passed to reinstate some of the programs with revenues (new taxes) dedicated to funding them.
Although the news on budget progress is positive, there is still a long way to go in short period of time. You can be assured that SBAM is pushing for a balanced budget without new taxes and demanding that long term reforms must be a part of solution. Stay tuned!


Gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard/Lt. Gov. candidate Terri Lynn Land meet small business owners at SBAM

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard met with small business leaders at SBAM headquarters in Lansing, the same day that he announced his campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Bouchard was accompanied by his newly announced running mate, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

Bouchard and Land heard plenty of feedback from small business owners about the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Michigan, and their hopes that a new governor will make Michigan much more small business-friendly than it is now.


SBAM/ Business Community Call for Structural Reforms to State Budget

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, (there are just over two weeks left) numerous proposals for raising taxes (see related story) are circulating around Lansing.  There is also some talk of cuts and reforms.

SBAM as part of an unprecedented coalition of statewide business groups is calling on our state elected officials to stop raising our taxes and make the cuts and reforms that are needed to get the state budget on solid ground.

To see a list of the suggested reforms that the business community is proposing, click here.

The House and Senate may begin voting on budgets this week.  We urge you to contact them to present a united voice among the business community that we don’t need tax increases—we need reforms.  Please go here to contact your elected officials now.

Tax Proposals Galore

At this point it is unclear what form the state budget will take as we enter the state’s new fiscal year.  We at SBAM are calling for cuts and reforms to the budget.  But not everybody agrees. 

Governor Granholm’s plan calls for increased taxes on bottled water, cigarettes and entertainment tickets.

Rep. George Cushingberry, the House Appropriations Chair, has proposed increased taxes on cell phones, satellite TV, fast food and bottled water.

The “Better Michigan Future” group is calling for a graduated income tax and an expansion of the sales tax to services such as spas, tickets to entertainment and sporting events; and landscaping, among others.

In addition, these proposals call for closing some so-called “tax loopholes” that benefit the business community.  (See related story)

What is a “Tax Loophole”?

This is not the first time these “loopholes” have come up.  Throughout the governor’s tenure, she has proposed closing these “loopholes” but has had little success.  The “loopholes” in question are tax credits that have been allowed for various segments of the business community over the years.

These are not businesses taking advantage of omissions in the tax code that allow them to lower there tax liability, as the phrase “loophole” would normally suggest.  These are legitimate tax credits that the state legislature and governors past and present have enacted to encourage economic development.

There are many of them, and it is not our intent here to debate the merits of specific credits that may be on the chopping block.  We merely want to point out that when you hear that these “business loopholes” may be cut or tightened, the target is not some unsavory business owner cheating on his or her taxes.