Granholm Unveils Jobs for Michigan Fund; Will Grow Jobs, Diversify State Economy

Contact: Heidi Hansen 517-335-6397

Granholm Unveils Jobs for Michigan Fund

May 4, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today unveiled the Jobs for Michigan Fund, a $2 billion bond proposal that will create thousands of 21st century jobs, as a key part of her comprehensive plan to restart and reshape Michigan’s economy.

“Michigan’s economy is changing,” Granholm said, “and, we’re locked in fierce competition for jobs and economic growth with 49 other states and countries around the globe.  To win that global competition and to ensure that Michigan remains a great place to live, work, and grow a business, we must embrace this opportunity to reshape our economy.”

Granholm’s Jobs for Michigan Fund supports a bold plan to grow jobs and diversify the state’s economy by investing in four competitive-edge technologies:  life sciences, alternative energies, advanced automotive manufacturing, and homeland security and defense.  These sectors represent the areas in which Michigan can be the strongest competitor.

This week, Granholm is asking the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment before voters in November to create the Jobs for Michigan Fund.  If approved, the state will use $2 billion in bond proceeds over the next decade to create thousands of jobs for people in all walks of life.  The fund will not raise taxes.  The fund will be independently audited and will rely on experts, not government, to direct investments in the most likely areas of success.

The fund will be used to diversify and grow the state’s economy by focusing the state’s resources in four areas:

  • Investment in diversification and business development:  Accelerating the pace of commercialization and giving start-up companies a foothold in the market place.

  • Talent attraction:  Bringing and keeping the best research and scientific minds to work on our university campuses and to assist our start-up companies with business plans and development.

  • Leveraging federal grants:  Giving Michigan research institutions and technology companies the matching funds they need to bring more federal research dollars and technology innovation funds to Michigan.

  • Research:  Increasing the amount of research, development and innovation taking place in our universities, companies, and nonprofit research institutions. 

The Governor pointed to the state’s experience with the Life Sciences Corridor and Technology Tri-Corridor initiatives as proof that investment in diversification can have a positive impact.  Since 2000, those two initiatives have contributed nearly $200 million for research and commercialization opportunities in the targeted sectors, particularly in the life sciences, making Michigan one of the fastest-growing states in the nation for new life sciences company formation.

Granholm said the Jobs for Michigan Fund can ensure that the state that produces the most technologically advanced product most people will ever purchase – the 21st century motor vehicle – is also the state that produces clean technologies and alternative energies such as fuel cells to make the nation independent of foreign oil.  By investing in our state’s future, Granholm believes Michigan will stop the brain drain that occurs when young people leave the state for good paying jobs in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Boston. 

“High stakes and global competition make this a time for action,” Granholm noted.  “Other states are already passing initiatives that use bonds to retool their economies and attract new businesses and jobs.  It is time to build upon our strengths and invest in our future by establishing the Jobs for Michigan Fund now.”

In addition to the Jobs for Tomorrow Fund, Granholm’s plan to restart and reshape Michigan’s 21st century economy includes the:

  • Michigan Jobs and Investment Act, the first significant restructuring of the Single Business Tax in 30 years that will cut taxes for three out of four businesses in Michigan;

  • Jobs Today, a three-year plan to rebuild Michigan’s infrastructure and create tens of thousands of jobs;

  • MiOpportunity Partnership to train unemployed workers for the unfilled positions in our state, including 30,000 this year; and,

  • New Merit Scholarship to ensure that every child in Michigan has the opportunity to attend college by guaranteeing $4,000 scholarships to students who complete two years of college or the equivalent training or certification program.

The constitutional amendment to place the Jobs for Michigan Fund before the voters, along with the enabling legislation, is being sponsored by State Senator Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods), State Senator Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek), State Representative Andy Meisner (D-Ferndale), and State Representative Steve Tobocman (D-Detroit).

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