Bouchard Visits SBAM: Talks about Job Creation

This past Wednesday, Oakland County Sheriff and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard held a press conference at SBAM’s Lansing headquarters.  Bouchard presented his plans to make Michigan more competitive and to create jobs.

The press conference also featured SBAM board member David Rhoa.  Rhoa spoke of his frustrations with Michigan’s business environment when their company was looking to expand, calling it “…at the very least, difficult and at its very worst, openly hostile to business growth and expansion.”  See the video of Rhoa's presentation.

Bouchard’s plan aims to improve the regulatory environment that Michigan businesses must adhere to, change the economic development strategy of the state by helping existing businesses grow and prosper, and to assist start-ups.  Specifics include:
  • Freeze all pending (new) regulatory rules until a review of existing regulations has been completed
  • Require a detailed cost-benefit analysis of regulatory legislation so the public knows its true fiscal and economic impact should it become law
  • Mandate that environmental and regulatory standards be based on sound science and reasoning
  • Streamline and expedite the permitting process, setting clear requirements and timelines that businesses can depend on in their planning
  • Transform the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) into a state agency subject to state policies and transparency rules
  • Consolidate 300 pages of economic development laws in the state into a single, coherent Michigan Economic Development Code
  • Shift resources and funds from helping favored businesses and industries to helping create an environment for many businesses to flourish
  • Assemble a team of “economic development account executives” that will help businesses cut through red tape and successfully navigate government requirements
  • Grow jobs quicker by focusing government efforts and incentives on top job creators:  startup businesses and Michigan companies that are expanding

Unionization of Business Owners?

This week bills have been introduced in the State Senate that would make clear that day care and home health care providers cannot be forced to join a union.

The bills stem from an issue that has been getting a great deal of state and national media coverage in recent weeks.

In December of 2008, approximately 40,000 in-home day care owners were notified by mail that they were now members of a newly formed union. 

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Human Services (DHS) began withholding union dues from the subsidy checks that these day care providers receive from the state.  The state provides the subsidy checks to assist low-income parents with the costs of child care.  It is estimated that the amount of money being withheld is $3.7 million.

A class action suit was filed on behalf of the day care providers against the DHS in 2009.  In December of 2009 the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case.  The dismissal is being appealed.

SBAM has been closely following this issue since the court dismissal late last year.  The bills introduced in the Senate would make it so that day care and home health care providers (home health care providers have been unionized in other states) could not be forced to join a union.  The bills would also dissolve the union that was formed to represent these business owners.

One of the bill sponsors State Senator Nancy Cassis correctly points out that, “Child day care providers and home health care workers are private employers, not public employees.  Labeling them as state employees because they receive state aid is outrageous.”

For more details and background on this story click here

We will keep you posted on the progress of these bills.

SBAM Members and Staff in D.C. Next Week

As Congress and the White House prepare for President Obama’s bipartisan health care reform summit next Thursday, SBAM will be on the ground in Washington meeting with members of the Michigan delegation.

The election of Republican Senator Scott Brown last month left the future of the current health care bills in limbo.  Brown’s election means that the Democrats no longer have the ability to defeat a filibuster.  Likewise, voter disapproval of the plan has led the Obama administration and legislative leaders to reconsider their strategy.

Earlier this month, President Obama announced the formation of a health care reform summit to be held on February 25th.

Michigan Congressman Dave Camp has been named as a participant in the summit.  SBAM staff has scheduled meetings with Rep. Camp’s office and other members of the Michigan Congressional delegation to re-iterate the views of SBAM and Michigan’s small businesses as it relates to health care reform and the escalating costs of providing healthcare.

We’ll keep you posted.

Consideration Being Given to Withhold State Employee Raise

As part of state employee contracts, unionized employees are scheduled to receive a 3 percent raise later this year.  However, there is a provision in law that allows the legislature to reject the pay hike.

The House and Senate have until mid-April to pass by a two-thirds majority in each chamber a resolution which would cancel or lower the scheduled increase.

The move would save about $33.7 million.  The scheduled 3 percent increase for non-union employees was already rescinded as part of the Gov. Granholm’s budget proposal.

The resolution has not yet been introduced.  If the state feels that non-union employees should forgo a scheduled increase, then the same should be true for union employees.

Election 2010: SBAM to Sponsor “Great Debates” Series

SBAM and 18 other groups will be sponsoring a series of debates this election season.  Term limits will leave open seats for the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and the Secretary of State.  Dozens of seats in the legislature are also up for grabs.

The state’s struggling economy and the role that small business will play in Michigan’s recovery are important issues that need to be a part of the electoral discussion this summer and fall.  SBAM believes that is important that the public be aware of the views of the candidates running for office. 

The “Great Debate” series will include three, one-hour gubernatorial debates-- one for each primary and one for the general election.  Also planned are 50 half-hour debates and forums and the legislative level.

The debates will be carried by public television and over the internet.

In other election news, last week we reported that former Treasurer Bob Bowman had filed paperwork to run for governor in the Democratic primary.  It turns out that he filed paperwork because he had begun to spend money as part of his decision making process.  This week, Bowman removed his name from consideration.

(Audio) Small Business Champion Podcast: Gov’s Tax Plan Long on Tax Hikes, Short on Real Reforms

Learn how you can fight the Granholm administration’s proposed sales tax on services. SBAM’s Michael Rogers talks with Vice President Government Relations David Palsrok about the tax hikes and less-than-robust spending cuts in the Governor’s plan.


Click here to listen.


What do you think of the proposed tax hike? Comment below or join the conversation in our Forum.