A newly unveiled economic strategy from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer includes plans to help Michigan score more big-name development projects, as well as thousands of new jobs.
MICHIGAN — A newly announced economic development strategy from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer aptly titled “Make it in Michigan” aims to entice more businesses to set up shop in Michigan, create new jobs, and ultimately make the state more appealing to young families.
Whitmer announced the initial “comprehensive economic strategy to keep winning projects” on Wednesday alongside Democratic lawmakers and business leaders on Mackinac Island. The idea, she said, is for the state to “keep its foot on the accelerator” by enticing more companies to expand operations in Michigan and hire more Michiganders.
“Every person, business, and community should be able to make it in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “To grow our economy and build a brighter future, we must continue competing for projects that bring manufacturing and supply chains home, invest in people so they can pursue their potential, and revitalize places to make them more attractive places to live, work, and invest.”
Over the last 18 months, more than $16 billion in new development projects and 16,000 new jobs—namely in advanced manufacturing—have been announced in Michigan. Last month, the state’s unemployment rate dropped below 4% for only the third time since 1970. Whitmer said the economic strategy announced this week will help build on that existing momentum.
Bringing the Supply Chain Home
The first portion of Whitmer’s new plan involves the expansion of Brownfield tax incentives, which would allow more developers to capture future property tax revenue to reimburse them for cleaning up blighted, abandoned or environmentally contaminated properties.
Additionally, Whitmer wants to bring in more federal funding through the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act into Michigan specifically to boost the semiconductor manufacturing and clean energy industries. A new “Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Tech Competitiveness Fund” will be created to assist in those efforts.
Whitmer and the state Legislature are also set to partner on several other initiatives designed to help Michigan win more projects and bring manufacturing supply chains into the state. They will reportedly include efforts (to be announced in the coming weeks) that spur more research and development in Michigan and lower costs for businesses so they can hire more employees.
“Economic development should be as positive for the public as it is for business,” Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said in a statement after the announcement. “With the right framework, we believe that these two things can go hand-in-hand.”
A Bold Message
The “Make it in Michigan” plan has a few other stated goals—most of them geared toward making Michigan a top state for talent with lower unemployment, higher labor force participation, more training and upskilling, and stronger talent retention. It’s also set to include (yet to be announced) investments in education and “revitalizing places in every region of the state.”
State lawmakers have since billed the plan as a way to make Michigan a place where more people—especially young entrepreneurs—want to live, work, and start families.
“While some states are focused on divisive policies that exclude people or restrict their fundamental freedoms and rights, Michigan is sending a bold message to the rest of the country: No matter who you are, you are welcome in Michigan,” said state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).
“Now we need an economic development strategy to match the moment and ensure every Michigander, here or soon-to-be here, has an opportunity to thrive.”
On Thursday, Whitmer also signed an executive order to create the “Growing Michigan Together Council,” a group of 28 people tasked with advising the governor on specific policies that will help grow Michigan’s population, which has lagged behind in growth compared to other states.
The Council, which will have its members appointed by the governor, will also look at ways to prepare Michigan’s workforce for in-demand jobs and emerging industries by proposing new initiatives to improve public schools, and finding ways to keep college costs more affordable.
“The best thing about Michigan are the people who call it home, and this council will ensure our state is able to attract talent and provide expanding opportunities for families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We have seen Michiganders find opportunity elsewhere because jobs and talent have been pushed out of the state. Since taking office, I’ve made it a priority to change that.”
Check back for more details about the “Make it in Michigan” plan as they become available.