Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Michigan Wins Silver Shovel Award for Economic Development

Seems the Republican talking points about Michigan's ability to attract businesses to the state are dead wrong. Area Development Online tracks business expansion and facility planning throughout the entire country - and they certainly seem to think that Michigan is on the right track, awarding us a Silver Shovel in the big state category (population above 10 million) for the projects that are creating new jobs and bringing investment to the state...

This year’s Gold and Silver Shovel Awards are presented by Area Development magazine to the states that were able to fine “the winning formula” over the past year — some using innovative approaches, but all putting in the kind of effort necessary to achieve success when it’s never been more important to do so.

We share the category award with Texas and Florida, proving that we can and do compete very well with the so-called "low cost" southern states. The specifics:

While no state has endured harder times in recent years than Michigan, positive news on the development front may offer some hope that the state’s economy may be turning a corner. Long dependent on the auto industry for jobs and its tax base, Michigan’s list of top projects is refreshingly diversified, which reflects on the state’s recent emphasis on new industry categories, particularly alternative energy.

And even though some of the state’s top projects have an automotive focus — including a $43 million venture undertaken by General Motors — the revived facility in Wayne County’s Brownstown Township is not for making cars, but rather auto battery packs. The first advanced lithium-ion battery for a mass-marketed electric vehicle will be manufactured at a previously idled facility, creating 130 jobs. Up the road in Livonia, A123 Systems will open a $55.7 million facility producing the same kind of product and creating 844 jobs.

Peppered throughout Michigan are projects with a modern bent, including a $37 million expansion in Holland of a wind energy composites facility by Energetx Composites, and a $41.2 million expansion by Draths Corp. of its bio-materials plant in Okemos. Dow Corning also gets into the alternative energy game, constructing a $158 million facility in Thomas Township for the manufacture of solar energy-related products.

Add this to our Governor's Cup rankings of the past few years from Site Selection magazine - and it really starts to add up. The economic development plan we are following right now is paying off, and it obviously is very competitive with the rest of the country.

What was all that Republican blather about high taxes and regulation driving away businesses? Turns out that isn't true at all.

What a surprise.