Spinal Column: Michigan: The future is bright

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

When I ran for the Michigan Senate in 2010, the state was at the tail end of what I and others refer to as the “Lost Decade”: a time when Michigan was hemorrhaging both jobs and residents. Four years later, many are rightly calling Michigan the “Comeback State.”

Today there are about 143,000 more Michigan residents with jobs than in 2010; unemployment continues on its downward trajectory; and the state’s growth in both gross domestic product and personal income are some of the highest in the nation.

I am thankful that, as the chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee, I was able to play a significant role in these developments and others critical to our state’s future.

One of these other initiatives was the reform of the state’s personal property tax law. This reform will reduce the tax burden on our job providers and keep our local schools and communities whole. It will eliminate a tax that punishes employers for expanding and investing in their business and creating jobs.

Although the Legislature passed this plan earlier this year, it was subject to a vote of the people on the August 2014 statewide primary ballot. I am thankful that last Tuesday, Michigan residents voted to make this reform state law.

Lawmakers continue to take our fiscal responsibility seriously. For the fourth straight year, the Michigan Senate and House delivered—and the governor signed—a balanced budget ahead of schedule.

The budget makes important investments in our roads, our communities and our future.

Attracting well-paying jobs remains our top priority. The budget builds upon past reforms so that young people will not be forced to leave Michigan to find work.

The budget holds government accountable for every tax dollar spent, and it takes a responsible long-term approach to budgeting that pays down billions in debt so the mistakes of the past will never be repeated.

Michigan has moved well beyond the bleak years of the Lost Decade. We are putting policies in place that make us attractive to job providers and give our residents reasons to stay. And we are being fiscally wise. Michigan’s future is bright.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He serves the citizens of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.