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Friday, 03 February 2012 08:59

Top of mind in ’12: Economic climate, health care, government budgets

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State and national economic climates are the top concerns of Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce members in 2012, according to the results of an annual survey.

The rising cost of health care and state and municipal budget management rounded out the top five concerns in the survey, which helps the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce set advocacy priorities for the year.

“Last year we heard loud and clear that we needed to change the business tax structure. With the elimination of the (Michigan Business Tax) accomplished, we now have to focus on strengthening Michigan’s economy,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Baker said.

Nearly 750 chamber members responded to the survey. Half of the respondents were small businesses with less than 50 employees.

Among the respondents, 84 percent rated Michigan’s economic climate as their top concern among 12 issues, followed by the U.S. economy at 74.8 percent and the cost of health care at 72.4 percent.

Other issues of concern were the ease of doing business in the state, tourism and economic promotion, eliminating barriers to government consolidation, local government fees, and regulatory and budget reforms.


The number of film productions seeking Michigan tax incentives declined sharply in 2011 as legislators and Gov. Rick Snyder considered and enacted changes that took effect with the new fiscal year.

Sixteen production companies applied for incentives between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2011, according to a semiannual report issued last week by the Michigan Film Office. The applications combined represented $235.9 million in investments and sought $73.3 million in credits.

The Film Office approved four projects during the second half of the year with collective investments of $2.1 million and credits of $915,162. Two of the applications were denied, three were withdrawn or provided insufficient information to the state, and four remain pending a final decision. Three others had their file closed and were notified they could reapply for a credit in 2012, according to the report.

Overall, the Film Office approved 22 projects during all of 2011 for $24.7 million in incentives and production expenditures of $59.5 million, far less than what it authorized the prior year. In 2010, the state received 119 applications from production companies and awarded about $146 million in credits for 62 projects.

Legislators changed the film incentives in 2011 from a refund of up to 40 percent of a qualified production’s cost to a capped program that allows the Film Office to award up to $25 million in credits annually.Graph

Upcoming events for entrepreneurs

  • Tech group aimWest is hosting a “Raising an Entrepreneur” discussion with Fred and Christina Keller, the father-daughter team at Cascade Engineering. Fred Keller founded Cascade Engineering in 1973. Christina, a new mother and the youngest of Fred’s three daughters, leads a business unit within the company. The event is scheduled for 5:30-6:15 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the GVSU Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. Cost: free for members, $20 for non-members. For more information, visit
  • The South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the next meeting of its Entrepreneurs Club from 6-8 p.m., Feb. 7, at Lake Michigan College’s South Haven campus. Tamara Davis, regional director of the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, presents “Are you ready to grow your small business?” The discussion focuses on what growth means to the business owner and the process of starting strategic plans to grow. To RSVP or for more information about the Entrepreneurs Club, contact the Chamber of Commerce at (269) 637-5171 or [email protected]

Grants for American Indian entrepreneurs

A $200,000 state grant to the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center will go toward assisting members of American Indian communities to help start or grow businesses.

Consultants with the MI-SBTDC, based at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, hope to perform 750 consulting hours and work with tribes to secure $2 million in capital and create 25 jobs.

“The funding allows the network to increase business assistance to the 12 federally recognized Indian tribes and their members through hiring two business consultants and opening several Business Resource Centers dedicated to outreach in these communities,” said Carol Lopucki, state director of the MI-SBTDC.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and its department for Tribal Business Development will support with the initiative, which will assist American Indians by providing access to specialty team consultants, customized market research and business training.



Read 3347 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 21:42
Brian Edwards

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