Business Leaders for Michigan is the state's business roundtable, composed of C-level executives of the state's largest job providers and universities. Jointly they represent one quarter of the state's economy and nearly one half of the state's university population.
The Upper Peninsula is represented on the BLM board by Brian Larche, President and CEO of Engineered Machine Products Inc. in Escanaba.
At inception, the BLM set out to make Michigan a "top 10" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. Its "Turnaround Plan" outlines a six-step plan for making that happen.
Below is the six-step plan with an example of what has been done so far:
Responsibly Manage Finances
Improved revenue and expenditure forecasts
Effectively and Efficiently Provide Public Services
Aligned public employee health care premiums with the private sector
Create a Competitive Business Climate
Improved Michigan's corporate tax climate by replacing the MBT with a flat corporate income tax
Strategically Invest for Future Growth
Increased funding for higher education based on performance
Accelerate the Growth of Cities and Metros
Support work that helps grow Michigan metros
Leverage Assets to Grow the New Michigan
Identified Michigan's six most promising existing assets to accelerate growth
Each year BLM produces a benchmarking report on the progress of the turnaround plan. While not top ten in all areas yet, you can certainly see a course reversal from when this plan was created in 2010. Here are some key findings from the 2013 report:
Michigan continues to recover faster than most states, but we also have more ground to make up. The state has exceled in growth in employment, per capita GDP and per capita personal income since 2009. Per capita GDP and per capita income levels remain below pre-recessionary levels.
Our corporate tax climate has risen from the second-worst to the seventh-best in the country. The overall tax climate is now 12th best but the state still ranks in the bottom 10 for total cost of doing business and business incentives are less competitive than other states.
We are a top 10 state for research and development. University R&D is among the top 10 in the nation and Michigan ranks 13th in patents awarded. Venture capital investment increased by more than 60 percent, improving the ranking from 33rd to 19th.
To view the entire report and the turnaround plan, visit our website (www.marquette.org) and click on this story under latest news.
Editor's note: Amy Clickner is CEO?of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.