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Across West Michigan, Native American tribes have started to hang out their own shingle in enterprises that move them away from the familiar tribal-owned casino.

Because Native American tribes are sovereign nations, they’re tax-exempt and have their own statutes and regulations, although they must follow federal law. Tribally owned firms also are exempt from state and federal income taxes.

Economic developers from West Michigan and across the state increasingly find their roles shifting.

GRAND RAPIDS — Betsy DeVos’ new role as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump will require her to step away from some of her vast business interests to comply with federal ethics laws.

Mark Williams worked at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans for about 20 years as an employee of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He was laid off in 2013 when the state privatized the facility and turned to contracted workers.

COLDWATER — When Clemens Food Group began searching for a site to house its new 550,000-square-foot pork processing facility, access to wastewater capacity emerged as its top requirement.

GRAND RAPIDS — Despite the many accolades for West Michigan’s economy in recent years, prosperity hasn’t necessarily reached all people in the broader community to the same extent.

BATTLE CREEK — Over the last year, the Cereal City has experienced its share of bad headlines.

When it comes to economic development efforts in Michigan, practitioners and policymakers say it’s important to legislate the tools to attract and retain companies, not individual projects.

Federal regulators this month rejected a plan by the multi-state electric grid operator to redesign the capacity auction process for parts of Michigan and Illinois, a move that would have affected electric choice customers and providers.

Jackson-based Consumers Energy remains in discussions with the Michigan Public Service Commission over its plan to end an agreement to buy electricity from the Palisades nuclear plant in Van Buren County.

Businesses confronted with the risk of cybersecurity attacks need to avoid falling into the mindset that “it can’t happen to us.” 

GRAND RAPIDS — By hiring two economic development professionals who work with the minority community, Start Garden LLC looks to broaden its outreach to more entrepreneurs.

The number of startup companies spun out of Michigan’s top three research universities trended higher as of mid-decade, a possible product of heightened support for entrepreneurship in recent years.

Michigan Republicans are taking swift action at the start of this year’s legislative session to gradually phase out Michigan’s income tax.

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