Friday, May 02, 2008

Indiana Manufacturer Moves to Michigan

The supreme irony of life.

Just recently, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels came to Michigan, touting how wonderful it was for business down there, talking about the billboards they were running to pitch some woo at Michigan businesses to "come on down!", and the comedy team of DeRoche & Bishop and all their fans made googly eyes at the red-state governor and dreamed of how wonderful life would be if we just could be like Indiana.

Daniels said he did not come to prescribe solutions for Michigan. But “maybe there is something in the approaches that we have taken, that you can learn from, or re-learn,” he said.

DeRoche, in introducing Daniels, said he hopes “we can gain from your knowledge and successes … as we’re trying to improve our economy in Michigan.” Bishop described himself as “a huge fan” of Daniels and said he has sought to borrow some of Daniels’ ideas.

Swoon went the Republicans. One thing they tried not to mention - Mitch raised taxes to make up for property tax caps, and for the first time in a long time, it's cheaper to buy big ticket items in Michigan than it is Indiana. Are we putting up billboards saying "come shop in Michigan"? We should.

One reform came last month, when Daniels signed legislation to cut and cap property taxes. The state took over some costs that were on local property-tax rolls and is paying for the costs by raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, redirecting some sales-tax revenue and capping gaming revenue. Like Michigan, Indiana has also passed measures to encourage in-state business investment.

And if Indiana's business climate is so great, why would - and get this - a refrigerator manufacturer move to Greenville?

By next spring, a new plant expected to be built in or near Greenville will start cranking out upscale modular and under-counter refrigerator and freezer units under the Northland-Marvel brand, a subsidiary of Aga Foodservice Group PLC based in Solihull, England.

The move will consolidate production from Northland Industries, now at 701 Ranney Drive, with the Marvel Industries products made in Richmond, Ind. On Thursday, 130 employees at the Marvel plant learned their site would close. Northland employs 110.

Bob Hansen, business retention manager of Richmond-based Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County, Ind., said Northland is building a 172,000-square-foot headquarters and factory in Greenville, after considering both sites for the consolidation.

In Michigan, state and local officials would not confirm the new plant site, although Greenville and Montcalm County both offer broad incentives to lure jobs.

Turns out Mitch is in a battle to save his own job in Indiana - recent polls have him neck and neck with whichever Democratic challenger they end up choosing, they don't care, just pick one.

Michigan Republicans got tired of putting the curse on their own local candidates - so now they go out-of-state and find new losers to promote.

And we will make refrigerators in Greenville once again.