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E-M:/ Gov's office: "Manufacturers need level playing field"

From: gov_office@MICHIGAN.GOV [mailto:gov_office@MICHIGAN.GOV]
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 5:03 PM
Subject: Manufacturers need level playing field


Granholm Says Manufacturers Need State, Federal Policies that Create a Level Playing Field

Outlines Changes Needed in Lansing, Washington


LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today continued her call for changes at the state and federal level to help the manufacturing sector, including changes in laws and policies that will provide a competitive and level playing field at home and abroad.


Speaking before a manufacturing symposium sponsored by DaimlerChrysler in the nation’s capital, Granholm said that while the world’s economy is changing, manufacturing will continue to be critical to Michigan and the nation.  Manufacturers are among this nation’s largest employers.  We can’t afford policies that force them to move American jobs overseas. 


America can compete with any country in the world – but only when all parties play fairly, and right now, we don’t have a level playing field,” Granholm said.  “In Michigan, we have a bold, comprehensive plan to help our manufacturers and level the playing field, but our manufacturers need better policies on the national level as well.”


Granholm’s bold plan for reshaping Michigan’s 21st century economy includes:


•  restructuring business taxes in Michigan to encourage job providers to keep jobs here.  The Michigan Jobs & Investment Act provides a tax cut for 77 percent of business taxpayers, new tax credits for manufacturers and R&D companies, and a 40 percent rate cut for small businesses. 


•  creating thousands of new jobs right now by accelerating $800 million in university and road upgrade projects and by creating new tools to upgrade schools, downtowns, and nursing homes.


•  training out-of-work citizens to step into fields that need workers right now.  The MI Opportunity partnership is a worker training initiative that will match, train and place as many as 30,000 unemployed citizens in high-demand job vacancies this year. 


•  making college accessible to all.  Granholm’s proposed new Merit Scholarship award guarantees every Michigan student the opportunity to attend college, with every child who graduates high school and completes two years of college, community college or apprenticeship training guaranteed a $4,000 scholarship.


•  creating tens of thousands of jobs for tomorrow by investing $2 billion to create good-paying jobs that can never be outsourced, that will keep our kids in Michigan, and that can diversify our economy…all without raising taxes.  The Jobs for Michigan Fund will invest $2 billion in bond proceeds over the next ten years in life sciences, advanced auto manufacturing, and alternative energies.  Investment decisions will be made by business experts – not bureaucrats – and the fund will be regularly audited.


The Governor said that in addition to her five-point plan to reshape Michigan’s economy, manufacturers need stronger policies on the national level. 


“No matter how hard we try to make our states friendly to business and investment, it is very difficult to compete with countries where workers are paid a few dollars a day, and that do not have adequate environmental standards.  We need a federal government that’s enforcing the policies that can level our playing field,” Granholm said. 


Specifically, the Governor called for:


•  stronger enforcement of current trade laws.  The Bush Administration must fight for American workers by more aggressively identifying cases of unfair labor/trade practices and take them to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for dispute resolution.  She noted only 12 cases have been taken to the WTO for dispute resolution since 2001 as compared with 40 cases brought against the U.S. in the same time period. 


•  a uniquely American solution to address skyrocketing health care costs.


•  a permanent solution to the problems businesses face regarding pension contributions.  The pension bill passed by Congress last year replaced the antiquated 30-year Treasury bond rate used to calculate employer contributions to pension plans with a corporate blend rate.


Granholm was one of five governors participating in the manufacturing symposium.  Also speaking were Alabama Governor Bob Riley, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.


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