SBAM Backs Governors Plan

February 7, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — It is the Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) turn to voice its opinion on Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State address Wednesday, and it is encouraging.

SBAM said it was encouraged by the governor’s plans for establishing a council of economic advisers that includes small business representation.

“The governor may be demonstrating her awareness that in the past two decades it was the small business sector, not big business, that generated nearly all of the economy’s net new jobs,” said Robert Fowler, SBAM’s CEO-elect.

“Two million Michigan workers, over half of the state’s private non-farm workforce, are employed at small businesses, so it is certainly welcome and appropriate that she seek advice from the small business community.”

Fowler added that SBAM hopes that the state’s budget problems don’t distract the governor from addressing the No. 1 one problem facing small business owners — the soaring cost of health insurance. A key component of solving that problem is Michigan adopting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) “rate bands” model.

“Rating reform is needed now to help moderate the huge premium increases and introduce much needed competition in the small group health insurance market,” said Fowler.

He encourages the governor and legislature to make the tough spending decisions needed to balance the state budget.

“They have the solid support of the small business community,” Fowler said, citing a SBAM Barometer Survey that found 81 percent of small business owners want the state to cut spending versus only 9 percent who favor tax and fee increases.

Seventy-six percent of Michigan small business owners surveyed believe the Single Business Tax rate reduction and elimination should continue as scheduled.

In addition, 59 percent said no when asked if scheduled personal income tax reductions should be delayed to help balance the state budget.           

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