All Signs Point to A Comeback -- Others Are Taking Notice

By Mike Brownfield | January 28, 2013


January 28, 2013
By Mike Brownfield

Michigan's reinvention has helped make it the comeback state of the nation, and others are starting to take notice. The Detroit News reports on how Governor Rick Snyder's reforms have put Michigan back on the map for economic competitiveness: 

Last week, Business Leaders for Michigan discussed its 2012 Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Plan, which confirms the progress the state has made in reinventing itself as an economic contender. The report focuses on key metrics that make a "top 10" state, and thanks to the fiscal focus of Coach -- er, Gov. -- Rick Snyder and the Legislature the last two years, Michigan is improving.

In particular, the state has got its arms around unfunded liabilities that have been among the nation's highest. Snyder's Relentless Positive Action has reduced the cost of pension and other benefits and plugged chronic budget deficits.

In economics as in basketball, however, the best defense is a good offense. In addition to defending the state treasury, Michigan is now better positioned to attract business and entrepreneurs thanks to reforms in the state's business tax, personal property tax, income tax and game-changing legislation making Michigan a right-to-work state.

Job creators, too, are speaking out about Michigan's brighter future. In a special op-ed to The Detroit News, Rob Fowler, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, explains how Michigan's entrepreneurial environment has grown more fertile over the past two years.

We applaud Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders for the most pro-growth reforms by a governor and Legislature in the past 50 years. We appreciate their embracing of SBAM's concept of "economic gardening" -- an economic development philosophy focused on cultivating and nourishing our own homegrown business operations. Economic gardening depends not just on business-friendly rules and regulations, but on a whole range of cultural and educational attributes as well.

States that have successfully improved their economies don't depend on any one "magic bullet." Instead, they support education, infrastructure improvement, protection of natural resources and they foster a culture of risk-taking and innovation.

Our future lies in building on the accomplishments of the past two years and strengthening our entrepreneurial foundation.

Michigan's comeback can be measured in lots of ways, but jobs are a great place to start. During Michigan's "Lost Decade" of 2000 to 2010, the state lost 750,000 jobs. But since August 2009, it has gained 177,700 private payroll jobs. And as for unemployment, Michigan went from a high of 14.2% in August 2009 to 8.9% today.

More and better jobs depend on increased economic activity, and Michigan is seeing gains there, as well. Michigan's auto production rose to 2.26 million in 2012 -- its highest level since 2007. Meanwhile, the state's agriculture industry had a $92 billion impact on Michigan's economy in 2012 -- nearly achieving a 5-year goal of $100 billion three years early. Likewise, home sales and values are up, Michigan's GDP is 6th-best in the USA, and income growth is 9th-best in America.

Those are great signs of a comeback, but as Governor Snyder says, "What we've done is not good enough, but let's keep moving forward."

Learn more about Governor Snyder's plans in his State of the State address.