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Historic Economic Development Package Passed with MichAuto and Chamber Advocacy

December 15, 2021
In a late-night session on Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Michigan House overwhelmingly passed bipartisan economic development legislation, to create significant new economic development tools for the state a day after the bill passed the House. This package of bills called the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, was introduced in response to Ford Motor Company’s recent battery plant announcement and the need for Michigan to better compete for future opportunities.

Legislators appropriated more than $1.88 billion on Tuesday toward grants and tax breaks that aid small and large businesses in Michigan, and provide incentives to companies looking to invest in the state. Much of that spending will come from the $5.7 billion in discretionary federal stimulus funds lawmakers still have at their disposal.

“Big bipartisan wins for Michigan are increasingly rare, especially ones that have a transformative impact on our economy. Michigan created and owned the automotive industry since its inception, but leadership today does not ensure leadership into the future — especially in light of other states gunning for our assets,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber. “The Chamber and MichAuto, along with partners across the state, are proud to have worked with the Legislature and Governor’s office to pass the biggest bipartisan deal in Michigan since the 2019 bill signing at the Mackinac Policy Conference, which will allow our state to compete and win the jobs of the future.”

Over the past month MichAuto and the Chamber have been leading advocacy efforts pushing for a more robust economic development toolkit, working in coordination with the Governor’s administration and Republican leadership to move beyond Ford’s decision and position the state to win future transformational projects and retain its global automotive leadership.

What Is In The Legislation

  • HB5602/ SB769 creates the vehicle by which funding for the site readiness program and critical industry investment fund will be authorized to the Michigan Strategic Fund for transformational projects.
  • HB 5603/ SB 770 creates a strategic site readiness program to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for the purpose of creating investment-ready sites to attract and promote investment in this state.
  • HB 5604/ SB771 creates a critical industry investment fund that will allow Michigan to make game-changing investments to businesses that will be critical to closing deals and de-risking project economics in creating and preserving qualified jobs in the state and generating significant capital investment.

“Winning new investment and ensuring Michigan remains the leader in electric and autonomous vehicle technology is critical to our state’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MichAuto and vice president of Automotive & Mobility Initiatives for the Chamber.  “This legislation will help Michigan compete and win its share of transformational projects. The Legislature should be applauded for its bipartisan work on these bills – given the unprecedented investment being made in the automotive industry, it could not have come at a more critical time.”

Critical Advocacy Efforts Continue
The passage in the House and Senate demonstrates that Republicans and Democrats can still find common ground to tackle substantial issues. The bipartisan consensus reflects the importance of these bills for the state of Michigan, the future of its signature automotive industry, and the state’s business climate – something voters overwhelmingly support according to a statewide poll released this week by the Chamber, Business Leaders for Michigan, and Michigan Manufacturers Association

The Chamber and MichAuto were able to deploy the full advocacy team in Lansing and the Detroit Region to connect with legislators and push for the passage of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund bills. MichAuto’s expertise provided legislators with information on why these incentives were critical to secure the state’s continued leadership in the global automotive industry. Finally, MichAuto and the Chamber were instrumental throughout negotiations by utilizing the strength of our bipartisan relationships to secure passage.

The legislative package’s next stop is Governor Whitmer’s desk.