Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MEDC brings thousands of jobs, millions of dollars to Michigan

... and Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga and the DeVos campaign seem to have a problem with that.

Let's start with the Grand Rapids area.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation worked with American Litho and PureFlex to expand within the state rather than move out of state.

Michigan beat out Pennsylvania for the American Litho project, which along with parent company Konica Minolta is bringing a new production line to Kentwood. The move means a more than $35 million investment. It will also create 327 jobs. Konica Minolta is also relocating its New York-based graphic arts division to Kentwood.

PureFlex is investing more than $7 million to lease and equip a new facility. That project is expected to create 225 direct jobs and 141 spinoff jobs.

Kalamazoo, Lansing, Owosso, Detroit, Flint and Berrien County are receiving brownfield credits from the now-eliminated SBT. Better get while the gettin's good, as my father used to say. Thousands of jobs are being created.

Greenleaf Holdings 3 LLC - A brownfield Single Business Tax (SBT) credit valued at $2.5 million will support the transformation of two blighted properties located at 130 and 140 West South Street in downtown Kalamazoo. The new development will consist of a four-floor office tower and four parking levels with 142 spaces. The developer will invest approximately $32 million in the project, which is expected to create 10 new jobs and retain approximately 56 jobs.

Woodard Station Lofts LLC - State and local tax capture valued at $2.5 million and a brownfield SBT credit valued at $1.1 million will help transform the former Woodard Furniture manufacturing building in Owosso into a mixed-use development with condos and retail/office space. The developer will invest $17.5 million in the project, which is expected to create 35 new jobs.

Central Brush Park LLC and 3100 Woodward LLC - State and local tax capture valued at $7.2 million and a brownfield SBT credit valued at $10 million will support the two related developments in downtown Detroit. In combination, they will create 347 housing units in addition to commercial and retail space. The developers will invest $112 million in the project, which is expected to create 75 jobs.

City of Flint - State and local tax capture valued at $304,070 and a brownfield SBT credit worth $436,208 will help transform the former Berridge Hotel in downtown Flint into a mixed-use development with 18 condos and commercial space. The $4.5 million cost of the project, expected to create 10 jobs, will be financed by the Genesee County Land Bank Authority.

City of Lansing - State and local tax capture valued at $919,500 and two brownfield SBT credits worth $667,000 and $360,000 will help Demmer Corporation expand its manufacturing and logistical operations at the former Motor Wheel plant in Lansing. The project, which will include upgrades at the company's 1600 N. Larch and 736 McKinley buildings, is expected to involve $12 million in private investment and create 300 new jobs.

Berrien County – State and local tax capture valued at $95,330,623 will be utilized to help advance the Harbor Shores redevelopment project in Berrien County. On October 18, 2005, state and local tax capture of $12.4 million was approved for the initial phases of the project. Since then, several project phases have been clarified and additional property has been added. The mixed-use development will include housing, hotels, a water park, golf course and retail/commercial opportunities. The project is expected to include more than $500 million in private investment and create 2,000 new jobs.

The totals announced- 8,572 jobs and $955 million invested.

Who could complain about these efforts to bring jobs, money and tourism to Michigan? Republicans who are single-mindedly trying to take out Jennifer Granholm, that's who! So myopic in the quest to regain the top spot in Lansing, they would question the things that promote our state and create jobs for people.

They would rather you be unemployed, I guess. Better for them that way. They need things to be bad here. That is why they have spent the better part of this year telling you how horrible we are.

They talk about the "slow dance of turning leaves" and promise free admission. Some use the voice of Michigan-native Tim Allen. All of them are funded by the state of Michigan and one state representative said he thinks they're inappropriate.

They are advertisements promoting Michigan and and they are dominating radio and televisions waves and billboards throughout Michigan and other states. State Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) said the timing of the ads is questionable, with the governor deep into the gubernatorial election.

"There just seems to be a whole bunch of them on the air right now and it raises the red flag," Huizenga said. "I think they are using these funds inappropriately to a degree."

The advertisements promote Michigan tourism, cities and the business environment. They are funded by the 21st Century Michigan Jobs Fund that won bipartisan support and raised advertising dollars for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Travel Michigan.

"Almost everybody acknowledges this is political," said John Truscott, DeVos for Governor spokesman. "They're spending millions of taxpayer dollars to bolster her (Gov. Jennifer Granholm's) image.

Yes, John, in your twisted little mind these ads benefit only Granholm. Pay no attention to the thousands of jobs created and millions of dollars being invested in Michigan that will bring prosperity to all. That doesn't count in GOP land, even though they complain incessantly about it. Funny how that works.

Perhaps we should just stick with running all those ads for Amway so we can benefit only Dick DeVos and the Republican machine.

They have a lovely temp job waiting there, just for you, Michigan.