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Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:00

Editor's notebook: We're #47!

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If Michigan were a top 10 business state, we’d have 150,000 more jobs and an average of $12,000 more in individual income.

That was an eye-opening factoid from the Business Leaders of Michigan CEO Summit held two weeks ago in Detroit. The event, which drew more than 400 chief executives from companies of all sizes around the state, included highlights of where Michigan ranks in a variety of key economic and business-climate factors — from job creation to the condition of our roads to the state of our education system.

As this story by finance writer Mark Sanchez reports, the Mitten is making great progress toward top 10 status in one key area for business attractiveness: tax policy.

Over the past few years, changes in the state’s tax policies have allowed Michigan to elevate itself in the annual State Business Tax Climate Index published by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.

In the Tax Foundation’s recently released 2015 index, Michigan ranked 13th overall, the same spot it’s held since 2013. In the individual categories used to compile the rankings, Michigan earned “top 10” status for the state’s corporate tax (10th) and sales tax (7th) policies.

While those are great strides for the state, there is one area where we ranked among the worst: unemployment insurance (UI) taxes.

After ranking 44th in 2014, we slid even further in the 2015 rankings, finishing 47th. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts were the only states whose unemployment tax structures rated worse than Michigan’s.

We don’t have the time or space here to get into the complexities of the UI rankings, nor do we think it’s appropriate to offer our unsolicited advice on a bunch of half-baked policy fixes at this point. We’re journalists, not economists or UI experts.

Instead, we’ll just state something painfully obvious: Being ranked 47th out of 50 in anything is terrible. It’s even worse when it’s something that directly impacts our ability to attract and retain businesses as Michigan continues to rebuild and reinvent itself.

We need the UI system in Michigan to get better. Step one to fixing problems is acknowledging the brutal reality. And ranking 47th is pretty brutal.

Read 2247 times Last modified on Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:20
Brian Edwards

Editor & Publisher

[email protected]

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