While 2012 saw the removal of many obstacles to manufacturing in Michigan including the passage of so-called “Right to Work” legislation, the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) will continue to push for a more favorable business climate. The association’s 2013 agenda is focused on removing obstacles for small manufacturers in Michigan, according to a Jan. 9 release.
“I get asked every day, ‘What do you do now?” said MMA president and CEO Chuck Hadden. “We’ve made great strides with the Snyder administration, but we need to keep going.”
In the new year, the MMA is focusing on removing the Michigan personal property tax, ensuring that the New International Trade Crossing is built and making Michigan more competitive compared to other states through deregulation.
“Michigan, compared to other states, is over-regulated,” said Mike Johnston, VP of government affairs for MMA. “We’re focusing on bringing Michigan in line with what other states are doing.”
A major obstacle for MMA is a talent shortage driven by a perception that manufacturing is a dead-end career. The MMA projects 10,000 new manufacturing jobs in 2013 and an additional 9,000 jobs in 2014 — jobs that need to be filled. Hadden said that the MMA is working with community colleges around the state to show young talent that manufacturing of the 21st century is much different from the newsreel images of the past.
“There’s certainly a perception problem … but it’s not a reality and we’re going to work through it,” Hadden said, citing programs that the MMA has done through Jackson Community College.
The perception of manufacturing as a dead-end career goes hand-in-hand with the idea that, in order to succeed, young people must attend college.
“College may not be for everybody, but continuing learning is for everybody.”
Other areas that the MMA plans to focus on in its 2013 agenda are restraining rising health care costs as well as ensuring that the repeal of the personal property tax in 2012 is fully implemented with the passage of a 2014 ballot initiative to ensure local services are still funded.
The 2,300-member organization also plans to focus some of its attention on energy policy, which came to the forefront in late 2012 with a special message from Gov. Snyder. The MMA said it supports Snyder’s call for an evaluation of the state’s “energy landscape.”