DEARBORN (WWJ) – Much has been done but there’s still more to do. That’s the consensus of a group of prominent Michigan executives who say the state’s improving financial picture, tax policy and regulatory environment are creating the right conditions for growth after a decade of turmoil.
The group, including Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford Jr., gathered in Dearborn Tuesday to discuss the progress being made on its Michigan Turnaround Plan launched in 2009.
Ford said it’s time to put the Michigan’s strengths in the areas of engineering, mobility and higher education to work.
“There are things Michigan is already really good at. We don’t have to dream about them,” said Ford. “These opportunities are right here, right now — we just need to take advantage of them.”
Also present for the meeting was Meritor CEO Chip McClure who said should focus also on transportation.
“The question isn’t, ‘Why should Michigan be the next gateway to the midwest?’ Instead, it’s, ‘Why wouldn’t it be?'” he said.
The goal of the 2012 Michigan Turnaround is to create over half a million new jobs in the state and make Michigan a top ten state for job economic and personal income growth over the next ten years.
Public forums will be held around the state.
The original five-step plan outlined steps to cut state employee compensation, taxes and regulation, which the group said would lead to more income growth. The plan continues to press for productivity gains and cut the costs of the state work force, and to slash the cost of the state prison system, which is far above the regional average. The group is now also backing the effort to eliminate the state personal property tax on business,and seeks greater state support for higher education.
The group says its sixth step uses data gathered by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to identify existing Michigan assets and competitive strengths, and to identify corresponding “growth opportunities” that build on those assets that have the highest potential to grow good paying jobs quickly and change Michigan’s economy in meaningful and lasting ways.
The effort includes the following:
* Grow and brand Michigan’s manufacturing, production and talent capacity to develop an unrivaled reputation as the world’s “Global Engineering Village”
* Capitalize on Michigan’s ideal strategic location and available resources to become the premier “Gateway to the Midwest”
* Invest in a “Higher Education Marketplace” that boosts Michigan’s talent base
* Invest in and leverage Michigan’s natural resources in sustainable ways to grow a “Natural Resources Economy”
* Renew our commitment to and build on Michigan’s automotive heritage to become the “Global Center of Mobility”
* Develop Michigan’s “Life Sciences Hub” based on the state’s robust health, medical and bio-pharmaceutical capabilities.
More about the organization overall at www.michiganturnaroundplan.com.