The comeback state: Michigan's reinvention
The success of the reinvention of Michigan can be found in two words: Comeback State.
That's what people call Michigan today, in the third year of our effort to bring a new, customer-friendly approach to government and to provide a favorable business climate that creates more and better jobs. We're also reshaping the state's culture to focus on achieving results by working together and using what I call "relentless positive action."
This reinvention is producing impressive results. Its economy is at a 10-year high and is the sixth-fastest-growing economy in the country. We've added 267,000 private sector jobs since our low point in 2009, when the unemployment rate hit 14.2 percent. The bulk of those jobs—182,000—have been created in the past two-and-a-half years. The result is that the state's unemployment rate has been cut by 40 percent, to 8.4 percent.
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Creating a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment is at the core of the reinvention of Michigan. We're using an approach that levels the playing field and promotes free market solutions, rather than having the government pick winners and losers.
Our emphasis is on economic development strategies designed to spark innovation and growth, that deliver advantages for all businesses regardless of industry, sector or size. This new approach is one of the reasons that Site Selection magazine rated Michigan No. 4 in the nation in 2012 for major new corporate facilities and expansions.
The venture capital industry (in which I once worked) has taken notice and is expanding in Michigan. The state now is home to 20 venture capital firms that manage $1.5 billion in capital, up from 15 firms with $1 billion in 2008. Nationally, Michigan ranked No. 15 for VC activity last year, a big jump from No. 25 in 2011. This new investment will result in more and better jobs, especially in cutting-edge industries. In fact, Michigan ranks No. 3 nationally for high-tech job growth.
The changes we've put in place make Michigan a more attractive place for businesses today and in the future.
A major part of that effort was replacing the Michigan Business Tax—the dumbest tax in the United States—with a simpler, fairer Corporate Income Tax. Thanks to that change, Michigan's job providers, especially small and midsize businesses, are enjoying a reduction in the state business tax of at least 80 percent.
This new tax structure also greatly improved our national corporate tax ranking. We shot up to No. 7 from No. 49. Plus, Michigan now ranks third among the 12 largest states.
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We're aggressively pursuing regulatory reform and have eliminated more than 1,000 unnecessary and burdensome regulations. We're intent on removing the regulatory hurdles that hold back businesses, while maintaining necessary regulatory protection and oversight.
Michigan still faces many challenges and opportunities, and I'm excited about the future that we can build by working together. While Michigan is known now as the Comeback State, we're committed to earning another two-word label: Global Leader.
—By Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Read more blogs from U.S. governors here.