MUSKEGON — The city of Muskegon has bolstered its economic development office amid a wave of major redevelopment projects, and while a local support organization continues to define its future and transition to private-sector support. The city reorganized and expanded the office from a half-time economic development position shared through a contract with Muskegon County, to two new full-time, in-house staffers.
Key aspects of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first budget proposal involving education and road funding have drawn mixed reactions from the business community, but advocates are aligned in opposition of leveling the tax rate among Michigan companies. Whitmer has proposed reinstating a tax exemption on pensions that was eliminated by former Gov. Rick Snyder, and offsetting the decreased revenue with higher taxes on smaller businesses.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first budget proposal would raise Michigan’s gas and diesel fuel tax by 45 cents per gallon over 12 months to generate $2.5 billion annually to repair state and local roads.
After three decades of running tribal gaming operations, Michigan-based Native American tribes have started to leverage their casino revenues to launch economic development corporations and diversify their economies.
When the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians replaced the former Victories Casino with the new Odawa Casino in 2007, the tribe was left with a 22-acre site and a vacant building at the southern end of Petoskey.
Dowagiac-based Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, takes a familiar portfolio-based approach to its economic development enterprise. But rather than drive overall top-line revenue for its family of companies, Mno-Bmadsen is focusing on growing the combined earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of its holdings.
Over the next five years, CEO Tom Wilbur plans to build Grand Traverse Economic Development into a $100 million diversified portfolio of eight to 10 firms capable of capturing federal and state contracts.
With the acquisition this year of a Charlevoix-based defense contractor, Grand Traverse Economic Development is executing on the initial steps of its investment strategy to diversify revenues for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians away from gaming. If all goes to plan for Traverse City-based GTED, the sovereign tribe’s non-gaming commercial investment arm intends over the next decade to build a $1 billion portfolio of companies, almost entirely focused in some way on government contracting.
An appeals court ruling upheld the ability of employers to withdraw job offers to people who failed a pre-employment drug test, even if they are a legal user of medical marijuana. In a case involving the City of Lansing and its utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light, the Michigan Court of Appeals this week ruled that employers may withdraw a just offer from prospective at-will employees.