MEDC CEO applauds SOAR legislation
The current director of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation said the bipartisan $ 1.5 billion Strategic Outreach and Attraction (SOAR) program would help secure transformative projects and long-term economic opportunities across the board. the state.
On December 20, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4603 to create a billion dollar economic development fund to ensure the state can compete for billions of dollars in investment and attract tens of thousands jobs to support the economy. The governor signed Senate Bill 771 to create a $ 500 million fund to make the state’s economy more adaptable to the rapid pace of technological change, by supporting small businesses and creating or maintaining well paying jobs.
Additionally, the Governor signed Senate Bill 769 to create a funding mechanism for both programs and Senate Bill 85 to provide full funding to immediately begin delivering to the Michiganders. SB 85 will also provide direct assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This economic development program will build on Michigan’s economic momentum, Whitmer said.
“Through the effective collaboration between legislative leaders, my administration, and community and business leaders, I have signed bills that will support small businesses and allow Michigan to grow, attract billions of investments and to create tens of thousands of high paying jobs, ”Whitmer said. noted. “Because the two parties in the Legislature have come together, our state will be able to win huge transformative projects and compete effectively for every dollar and every job for decades to come.
“The critical economic development fund we have put in place will pay massive dividends as we continue to stay focused on growing our economy, creating well-paying jobs and lowering costs for families.
“We’ve also provided resources directly to new and existing small businesses … building on the work we’ve been doing since March 2020 to ensure they can thrive. Our work over the past few months proves that when we come to the table in good faith and put Michiganders first, we are capable of extraordinary progress. I will continue to work with anyone to make meaningful changes to cooking priorities that make a difference in people’s lives.
Quentin L. Messer Jr., CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), called the legislation a “big start.”
“We appreciate the incredible diligence, hard work and collaborative approach to position Michigan for large-scale investments that accelerate the growth of well-paying jobs, retain large clients for our small businesses and remain at the center of technological change. for decades to come. ” he said.
“Michigan’s globally recognized talent base, its long-standing heritage of manufacturing, innovation and affordable living costs, combined with Pure Michigan place quality, already puts Michigan in a strong position to win. These bills… offer competitive programs that respond to the market and invest in business retention and attraction to complement Michigan’s already undeniable strengths as a state.
Although Messer said he could not share specific details due to nondisclosure agreements, he said MEDC has several transformation projects in its pipeline that would invest billions of dollars in Michigan, would create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs for Michiganders and would continue the state’s strong economic growth. growth.
“We’re really happy with the work that’s going on in the Grand Rapids area,” Messer said. “In Western Michigan there are three truly exceptional regional economic development organizations – Cornerstone Alliance, Lakeshore Advantage and The Right Place – and they have dynamic teams doing a really exciting job.”
SOAR-funded programs are expected to support the retention and attraction efforts of businesses in all regions through enhanced site readiness efforts and create a new “at-home” advantage for the growth of automotive, electric vehicles. and advanced manufacturing in the state.
Messer said he believes the SOAR legislation “changes the narrative that Michigan is comfortable or complacent and doesn’t want to be aggressive to maintain its historic advantage in mobility and other high-tech manufacturing sectors.” .
He added that it is also designed to have a wider impact than mere mobility and advanced manufacturing.
“The framework of this legislation allows us to be competitive in the life sciences, which is of tremendous importance in western Michigan; this allows us to keep our great design and office furniture (sectors), because it is not specific to the industry, ”he said. “These are basically critical industries, those industries that have a transformative impact from job creation or capital investment (point of view), and so that’s the real beauty of that it really allows us to be flexible and nimble, given the evolution of technology. “
Messer also said it’s important to note that the legislation applies to all of Michigan – not just east or west or the Lower Peninsula, but the entire state – and small and large businesses.
He added that more work will need to be done in the Legislature in January to continue building on this first step.