Manufacturers Outline Key Issues

January 30, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — The Michigan Manufacturer’s Association (MMA) is calling on state policymakers to continue to improve the business climate for Michigan manufacturers.

MMA’s 2003-2004 legislative and regulatory agenda unveiled five key issues important to its nearly 3,000 member companies, among them reducing health care costs, maintaining tort reforms and improving Michigan’s schools.

The priorities were developed with the input of the organization’s member advisory committees, including hundreds of job providers across Michigan.

“We’re ready to start working with policymakers to help Michigan out of its economic downturn,” said John “Mac” MacIlroy, MMA president and CEO. “A strong manufacturing sector means a strong Michigan.”

Reducing health care costs is at the top of the association’s agenda. Ninety-five percent of Michigan manufacturers provide health care to employees, but rising costs are jeopardizing manufacturers’ ability to invest in their companies.

As a first step toward finding solutions, MMA will convene a summit of major health care purchasers to look for ways to reduce costs. The association also calls on legislators to remove mandates and provide employer incentives to provide health care coverage.

“Michigan must remain competitive to ensure growth and create more high-paying manufacturing jobs,” said MacIlroy. “We urge legislators and Gov. Granholm to pursue these priorities.”

The agenda cautions legislators to keep the Single Business Tax compromise that includes a slow decrease in the tax rate — with pauses when the state budget requires it — until Michigan is competitive with other states. MMA also believes that Proposal A is working and should not be changed.

A sound, science-based approach to environmental regulations will ensure that manufacturers have the ability to grow the state’s economy, according to MMA. The association also believes that Michigan’s environment will continue to improve if permitting efficiency improves and the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources remain separate.

MMA believes Michigan’s tort reforms of the 1990s have had a positive effect on the state’s competitiveness nationally and around the world by allowing serious product liability cases to move forward, while discouraging frivolous suits. The association advocates maintaining the reforms.

The association favors removing the cap on development of charter schools and maintaining the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and other means to measure schools’ effectiveness. MMA believes it is crucial that Michigan’s educational system improve so that students graduate with the skills they need.

MMA’s legislative and regulatory agenda is available on the association’s web site, www.mma.net.org     

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