Wednesday, January 21, 1998
Governor John Engler today released a report compiling activity in the state's Renaissance Zone one year after the creation of the unique tax-free zones."In just the first year, from Grand Rapids to Gratiot, from Detroit to the Western U.P., we've taken these Renaissance Zones from places where nobody wanted to invest to some of our state's most valuable resources. As a result, some 4,000 jobs are coming to areas that need it most," Engler said.Engler noted that Renaissance Zones are unique to Michigan. The zones were designed to spur investment in areas of the state that had struggled to attract jobs. By eliminating virtually all state and local taxes for all businesses and residents located in the zones, Renaissance Zones create a powerful monetary incentive for investment.All eleven of the state's Renaissance Zones have received commitments for at least one new investment. Grand Rapids leads all zones with 25 projects announced to date. The largest project in terms of jobs so far is occurring in the Warren Renaissance Zone, at the site of the former tank plant, where 1,700 jobs are expected. All together, the 54 projects announced in 1997 are expected to create between 3,616 and 4,095 jobs. Investment in the projects total $322,099,500. The zones are located in six urban areas (Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Saginaw), three rural areas (Gratiot/Montcalm Counties, Gogebic/Ontonagon/Houghton Counties, and Manistee County) and two former military installations (Oscoda, home of the former Wurtsmith A.F.B, and Warren, home of the former Warren Tank Plant)."For years, well-intentioned people in government have been trying to help economically distressed areas recover, but almost nothing has worked," said Doug Rothwell, CEO and department director of the Michigan Jobs Commission. "Now, 54 companies have told us the answer, and backed it up with over a quarter billion dollars in new investment. Not only do Renaissance Zones work, but 54 projects in the first year indicates they work quickly and can jump start growth in a community."