Rules Change Takes Away Michigans Cup
LANSING — Michigan topped California, Illinois, New York and 46 other states for the highest number of new and expanded business facilities last year, but still lost the Governor’s Cup — and a French judge wasn’t even involved in the decision.
Site Selection magazine, which had awarded Michigan the highly treasured trophy recognizing economic development the past four years, gave the 2001 version of its award to Illinois — despite the fact that Michigan had 1,419 new and expanded facilities last year, while the Illini had only 1,290.
But no one in Lansing is asking for a recount.
“Unfortunately, at the eleventh hour of the contest Site Selection magazine changed the rules by switching to a new system for awarding the actual Governor’s Cup,” said Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO and President Doug Rothwell. “If the magazine kept with the traditional judging, the Cup would be in Michigan today. ”
Rothwell said Site Selection added nine criteria with which to judge the competition less than a month before the contest was to end. Instead of picking a winner based on a single mark — highest number of projects — judges had to suddenly consider 10 criteria, and each one counted for 10 percent of the final tally.
The percentage of growth a state had in expanded facilities was one; another was for a state’s growth for three years — two criteria that would likely favor a less developed state than Michigan.
“The new system is clearly designed to recognize states that are finally seeing some signs of new investments, rather than Michigan, which has seen almost 9,000 new investments or expansions over the past five years,” said Rothwell. “Our state was penalized for its past track record of success.”
Michigan tied for fourth under the new scoring system. But the state was in the top five for 10 of the criteria used, and came out number one in two criteria: total actual number of new and expanded facilities in 2001, and total new and expanded facilities per one million population.
In the metro rankings, Detroit was rated second with 678 new and expanded facilities, while the Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland region finished seventh with 223 new and expanded facilities last year.
The top three states in the Governor’s Cup race were, in order: Illinois, Kentucky and New York. Michigan tied for fourth with Virginia.