LANSING, Mich., April 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) has released its 2008 public policy agenda outlining policies and reforms that the association believes can strengthen Michigan's manufacturing community and, in turn, move the state out of its economic doldrums.
The 2008 Michigan Manufacturing Agenda calls for substantial government reforms, specifically addressing critical changes that must be made to spending policies in the areas of corrections, public health care and government organization.
After delivering a 60-percent Personal Property Tax credit for manufacturers and replacing the ill-conceived services tax with a surcharge to the new Michigan Business Tax (MBT), which MMA helped to craft and put in place, the association believes it is time for the Legislature to come to the table with government reforms and structural changes to reduce the load on job providers.
"Our mission is clear: better government at a lower cost," said John "Mac" MacIlory, MMA president and CEO. "We cannot just cut our way out of our state's fiscal problems and neither can we just tax our way out."
"After our members responsibly took a leadership role to kill the business-to-business services tax by advocating the MBT surcharge, it is time for the Legislature to do their part and reduce the burden Michigan's companies have carried for long enough," MacIlroy added.
To help spark economic investments in Michigan, MMA's agenda also calls on lawmakers to further reduce the Personal Property Tax, to more fairly distribute business taxes and to avoid placing special fees and taxes on manufacturers.
The association believes protecting businesses from the skyrocketing costs of health care benefits is also necessary to restore Michigan's economic prominence.
"Michigan's job providers deserve flexibility in providing access to health care at the best possible price," MacIlroy said. "Manufacturers have a reputation of providing outstanding benefits to their employees. To maintain that status, MMA will continue to oppose all new health care mandates, work to maintain employers' rights to utilize mail-order prescription services and other cost-saving measures, support consumer-driven health care systems and legislation and encourage wellness programs. Further, we will fight the shifting of costs from the uninsured to the insured."
Ensuring a fair litigation climate remains a top priority for MMA members this year as well. Protections for manufacturers from lawsuits after products have been approved by the federal government, backing Michigan's current tort and liability laws, promoting the creation of health courts and supporting a federal solution to the asbestos litigation crisis are among the chief concerns included in the manufacturing agenda.
Streamlining the regulatory process to speed decision-making and protecting against burdensome regulations are areas that have also been identified by MMA that need attention. The effort to implement a state-based ergonomic standard has to be stopped, MMA members believe, as increased regulation in this area would cripple Michigan businesses of all sizes.
The MMA is also calling for policymakers to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on all current and proposed regulations, implement cost-saving measures in the regulatory permitting process, fully support brownfield redevelopment projects and back recycling programs that don't increase costs on manufacturers.
MMA recognizes an employment market that fosters business growth and a productive labor force that can support that development is vital to putting Michigan back on track. To address these areas, the association is recommending that any new unemployment benefit costs on businesses be avoided, no new state-based regulatory systems be implemented that are more stringent that federal requirements, that employer rights during union organizing efforts and in developing compensation packages are protected and that workers' compensation reforms are maintained. In addition, retraining workers, fostering choice and competition in the education system and promoting manufacturing careers are also part of the association's advocacy plan for 2008.
"To grow our state's economy, we are not only going to need a productive workforce and a conducive business climate, we are going to need reliable and affordable energy into the future," said Chuck Hadden, MMA vice president of government affairs noting another chief priority for MMA members. "MMA will continue working with the Legislature to address our state's long-term energy needs.
Expanding Michigan's tool and die and mining and forestry industries is also important to the health of Michigan's economy, as is protecting Michigan-made products from counterfeiting and ensuring our border crossings are secure without hindering trade.
Note: See the MMA Web site, at http://www.mma-net.org/press/press.asp, to download the 2008 MMA Michigan Manufacturing Agenda.
CONTACT: Chuck Hadden 517-487-8550
Jean Eggemeyer 517-487-8543
Web site: http://www.mma-net.org/