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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Continue Strong Economic Development, Support Small Businesses Across the State


July 11, 2023 



Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Continue Strong Economic Development, Support Small Businesses Across the State


LANSING, Mich.– Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to continue powering economic development and supporting small businesses across the state. The bills will deliver on the governor's Make it in Michigan plan to improve places by allowing businesses to invest in improvements in their communities, such as aesthetic improvements, snow removal, and more. 


“We are working together to make Michigan the best place to do business,” said Governor Whitmer. “With today’s legislation, we’re continuing our work to grow Michigan’s economy by making it easier for businesses to continue investing in the communities around them. We’ve delivered a bipartisan budget to help anyone make it in Michigan, ensuring we compete for more advanced manufacturing projects, invest in people, and revitalize communities to make them more attractive places to live and work. Together we will keep building on Michigan’s economic momentum.” 


“Here in Michigan, we’re proud to support risk-takers, groundbreakers and innovators in bringing their business to life. Whether it’s by supporting small businesses through our Match on Main program or preparing our communities for development through Michigan Main Street and the Redevelopment Ready Communities program, we’re committed to helping transform a dream business into a thriving success,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “We appreciate the support and leadership of Governor Whitmer and the state legislature to ensure businesses of all shapes and sizes have the tools and flexibility they need to continue making it in Michigan.”


Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 164 and House Bill 4454. The legislation would modify the law for Business Improvement Zones (“BIZ”) to allow for some zones to be created using weighted voting by assessed or taxable value. A BIZ allows a group of property owners to establish a geographic area that can collect funds from its members and use those funds to invest in the zone. Such groups have been utilized in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids so far, but could be applied throughout the state. BIZs have been used to increase the amount of snow removal in a certain area, make aesthetic improvements and make other investments.  


Senate Bill 164 and House Bill 4454, sponsored by state Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township) andstate Representative Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) aim to support small businesses across the state by increasing democratization in community development.


"Business Improvement Zones are about improving our communities, supporting local businesses, and strengthening our whole state,” said state Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp.). “I’m proud to have spearheaded this important legislation, and with the Governor's signature today, we are giving local small business owners a powerful tool to make our neighborhoods and communities cleaner, safer, and more vibrant. We’ve seen BIZ work in Ann Arbor in my district as well as in Detroit and Grand Rapids, and I am glad that we can extend this opportunity to all communities across Michigan."


“The BIZ Act has enabled the Downtown Detroit business community to fund services to keep Downtown clean, safe, and inviting while advancing the economy and fostering community amongst business and property owners,” said state Representative Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit). “Enacting this legislation will ensure a fair voting process and equitable distribution of costs and benefits among property owners in these zones. I’d like to thank Governor Whitmer for her support and swift action in signing the bills.”


“We applaud Governor Whitmer for her unwavering leadership and commitment to economic development in Michigan. The signing of this legislation is a significant step towards supporting small businesses and driving growth in our communities,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK President and CEO. “We also extend our gratitude to Senator Sue Shink for her dedicated leadership in championing this important legislation. With these measures in place, we are making Michigan an even more attractive place to do business, fostering development, and propelling our state's economy forward.”


Whitmer Administration’s Work to Support Small Businesses and Grow Michigan’s Economy

Governor Whitmer is committed to supporting small businesses as Michigan continues growing its economy. During her first week in office, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive to increase state procurement and contracts with small and geographically disadvantaged businesses. Governor Whitmer has also signed a bipartisan tax cut, reduced the tax burden, and increased tax flexibility for small businesses. In 2021, Michigan had the fastest start to small business job growth in 23 years and more than 137,000 new small business applications submitted in 2022. 


Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer signed a bipartisan supplemental budget to invest $75 million to support small business smart zones, business accelerators, and entrepreneurial activities and announced the new Small Business Support Hubs program to bring comprehensive resources to small businesses across the state.