More MBS CoverageTRAVERSE CITY, MI – The state of Michigan last year began developing an automotive strategy for the first time, and Management Briefing Seminar attendees will hear more about it Wednesday, Aug. 3, when Gov. Jennifer Granholm addresses the group.

She will speak to a hometown crowd. More than 75% of the attendees at the seminar are from Michigan.

"Canada, the southern states and the European Union all had automotive strategies, and we didn't," says David Hollister, director of the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Development.

David Hollister

Hollister today is preparing the way for Granholm with a discussion on Michigan's efforts to encourage new business models for manufacturing industries that will keep employment in the state.

The governor knows productivity increases employment, and the declining Big Three market share means an erosion of jobs, says Hollister, but she wants Michigan to remain at the leading edge of the industry.

He says Michigan will encourage research and development and prototyping, as well as making the state better for manufacturing industries. "We have to take action where we have influence," Hollister says.

Among the various activities where he says state government can help:

  • Lower taxes. Manufacturing companies are penalized by Michigan's tax structure based on capital investment, while service companies skate free. A new state law pushed by the governor would cut taxes to manufacturers by 38% and encourage R&D investment.
  • Michigan and the Midwest have been "donor states" for the national transportation budget, turning more money into Washington than comes back, while southern states have benefited. Michigan lobbied for last week's transportation bill that increased the proportion to the Midwest states.
  • Health-care costs are a direct burden on Michigan companies, and the state will help lower them indirectly by encouraging the health-care industry to use more information technology.
  • The Public Service Commission that regulates utilities is working to assure long-term reliability of energy supply.
  • Agencies such as the Michigan Economic Development Commission participate as sponsors for state events, including the Management Briefing Seminars.