Major Economic Development Legislation Approved by State Legislature

In last week’s Weekly Update, we hinted that major economic development legislation was moving quickly through the state Legislature. Indeed, the legislation did move quickly, and as of this past Tuesday evening, was approved by both the House and Senate and sent to Governor Whitmer’s desk for her expected signature.

The package of bills represents a bipartisan effort to better position Michigan for economic development projects and jobs.

Passage of the legislation was applauded by Winning Michigan Jobs, a broad coalition of job creators, economic development professionals and industry leaders from across the state. The MBA signed onto the Winning Michigan Jobs coalition in early December. The allocation of funding addresses two of the main solutions offered by the Winning Michigan Jobs coalition: developing sites and incentivizing wisely.

Major features of the bills, collectively termed the Make it in Michigan plan, include:

  • Establishment of the Strategic Outreach & Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund, which is essentially the overarching fund for the two funds named below. Each project’s funding will need to be approved by the Legislature.
  • Establishment of the Strategic Site Readiness Fund, to be used for land acquisition, site preparation, infrastructure, demolition/rehab of a site, environmental remediation, etc.; an array of activities that would create investment-ready sites.
  • Establishment of the Critical Industry Fund,  intended to shore up businesses critical to closing deals and creating and preserving qualified jobs in the state.

A separate appropriations supplemental package was also approved, providing $1 billion in initial funding for the Strategic Site Readiness Fund and Critical Industry Fund. Some dollars appropriated in this bill will also provide relief for businesses in industries especially hard-hit by the pandemic, and to account for an increase in the Personal Property Tax (PPT) exemption for small businesses.

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