Governor Whitmer signs legislation enabling Michigan to attract billions in investment, create jobs

Bipartisan bills will support small businesses and invest in a $1 billion economic development fund
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).(WLUC/State of Michigan)
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 2:04 PM EST
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DETROIT, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) package Monday to support small businesses and fully fund a historic economic development toolkit to make Michigan a national leader in business attraction.

The governor signed House Bill 4603 to create a $1 billion economic development fund to ensure the state can compete for billions of dollars in investment and attract tens of thousands of jobs to bolster the economy. The governor signed Senate Bill 771 to create a $500 million fund to make our economy more adaptable to the rapid pace of technological change, supporting small businesses, and creating or retaining good-paying jobs. Additionally, the governor signed Senate Bill 769 to create a financing mechanism for both programs and Senate Bill 85 to provide full funding to start delivering for Michiganders right away. SB 85 will also provide direct assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This transformative economic development package will build on Michigan’s growing economic momentum.

“Today, I signed a package of bills that will put Michiganders first and continue building on our economic momentum,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Thanks to the effective collaboration between legislative leadership, my administration, and community and business leaders, I signed bills that will back small businesses and empower Michigan to grow and attract billions in investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. Because both parties in the legislature came together, our state will be able win huge, transformational projects and compete effectively for every dollar and every job for decades to come. The critical economic development fund we have set up will pay massive dividends as we continue staying focused on growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families. We also delivered resources directly to new and existing small businesses today, building on work we have been doing since March 2020 to ensure they can thrive. Our work over the last few months proves that when we come to the table in good faith and put Michiganders first, we are capable of extraordinary progress. I will continue working with anyone to deliver meaningful change on the kitchen-table priorities that make a difference in people’s lives.”

At the bill signing, Governor Whitmer was joined by House Speaker Jason Wentworth and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, who were instrumental in the passage of these bills, said the Executive Office of the Governor in a press release.

“Michigan is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. But our business climate is still holding us back from what we can be. Small businesses are struggling to fully reopen, large employers are picking other states for long-term investments, and far too many local workers are still on the sidelines. We need to step in and provide a shot in the arm that will lead to new opportunities for everyone. That is exactly what these bills do,” said House Speaker Jason Wentworth. “With this plan, we are giving small businesses a way to create new jobs in every corner of the state. We are helping large employers keep more opportunities here at home where they belong. And we are providing certainty, stability and opportunity to people worried about making ends meet when they sit down to pay their monthly bills. Those are the kind of results hard-working families need to see from their state government.”

“With the actions we are affirming today, we are not just demonstrating Michigan is ‘in the game,’ we are establishing our seat at the table, side by side with investors who recognize the value of Michigan and its unique assets,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. “Purposeful budgeted actions will now replace the uncertainty of mortgaged futures. This first significant step must be accompanied by a disciplined commitment to improving and leading in every category, and, most importantly, friendly to moms and dads and families.”

“Make no mistake: this is an important beginning,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We appreciate the incredible diligence, hard work and collaborative approach to position Michigan for large-scale investments that accelerate growth in high-paying jobs, retain large customers for our small businesses and remain at the center of technological change for decades to come.”

“This bipartisan legislation sets a new and transparent foundation for economic development that helps boost our state’s competitiveness and is open to job providers of all sizes and industries,” said Jim Holcomb, incoming president & CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “It’s also a shining example of the smart public policy that can be achieved when both parties and the Governor and Legislature work together.”

Michigan’s Economic Momentum

Michigan added 145,000 jobs in 2021, including 67,000 in the last three months, rounding out seven straight months of job growth and economic momentum. Today’s legislation will empower Michigan to create tens of thousands more jobs.

Economic Development

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has several transformational projects in its pipeline that would invest billions of dollars into Michigan, create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Michiganders, and continue the state’s strong economic growth. These programs will support business retention and attraction efforts across regions through improved site readiness efforts and create a new “home court” advantage for automotive, electric vehicle, and advanced manufacturing growth in the state.

Small Business Support

Through COVID-19, the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration set up 23 economic relief programs delivering over $240 million to small businesses in all 83 Michigan counties. These grants supported over 25,000 companies, retained over 200,000 jobs with nearly 75% of the support going to restaurants, bars, retailers, and other service industry small businesses.

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