©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Competitiveness Conference Outlines Blueprint for Future

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Jennifer Kopp
(517) 335-4590

Leaders Evaluate and Make Recommendations Based Upon Benchmarking Study

More than 200 leaders from across the state attended Michigan’s Competitiveness Conference last week in Lansing, to help create the Next Michigan, a blueprint for the state’s economic future.Participants evaluated a new benchmarking study, conducted by Stanford Research Institute International, and created prioritized action plans to further enhance Michigan’s competitive edge.

“This conference was an excellent opportunity for business leaders to discuss Michigan’s strengths and areas for improvement,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“The action items detailed at the conference outline vital steps to Michigan’s continued economic growth.“

The benchmarking study showed that Michigan ranks 2nd among Midwest/northern competitor states and 9th in the nation in terms of overall competitiveness.This includes seven basic factors: innovation, resources, human investment, globalization and vitality, business costs, quality of life, financial resources and infrastructure.

Conference attendees provided specific recommendations in five categories.The following are the top 10 ideas identified as action items according to the polling of conference attendees:

  • Human Investment:
    • Formulation of stronger partnerships between business and education (e.g. internships, exposure, mentoring and work-based training.)

  • Business Climate:
    • Look at the structure of the Single Business Tax (SBT) to ensure that it rewards investment by both existing Michigan companies as well as attracts new entrepreneurial companies to Michigan.
    • Analyze Michigan’s overall health care costs versus our competitor states and ensure that we have a competitive system for setting health care premiums.
    • Establish as a state objective that Michigan’s overall business tax burden (SBT and Personal Property Tax) not be higher than the national average or benchmark states.
    • Consider accelerating the SBT phase-out and the establishment of a research and development (R & D) tax credit and review ways to make the Personal Property Tax less burdensome.

  • Financial and Innovation Resources:
    • Develop R & D tax credit for corporations to spin off companies in Michigan.

  • Globalism and Business Vitality:
    • Develop R & D incentives to:
      • Stimulate emerging industries
      • Improve Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credit program
      • Encourage donating patents/technolog
      • Create more venture capital and angel investor funds
      • Align university and commercial efforts
    • Restructure the tax system to make it globally competitive.
  • Infrastructure:
    • Set best practices benchmarking with regard to physical infrastructure (mainly roads).
    • Make obtaining more federal funding for roads a priority.

The conference marked the beginning of many future discussions involving Michigan’s economic competitive edge.More recommendations will be obtained over the next few months through discussions with business, education and government leaders.The final Next Michigan report will be prepared in the fall and submitted to the next Governor as a suggested blueprint for action.

A copy of the study, “Benchmarks for the Next Michigan,” is available online in PDF file format.CLICK HERE

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.