Economic Development

As Michigan legislators prepare to enter their final session of the year, policy watchers across the state are closely monitoring legislation that could get a vote in the lame duck session. 

When Brink Farms Inc. began construction on a rail yard off Turner Avenue in northwest Grand Rapids in 2014, the Hamilton-based bulk transportation firm hoped to alleviate capacity constraints and better serve customers shipping cargo south through the city. 

KALAMAZOO — Researchers at the Michigan Geological Survey hope a state grant will better position government, businesses and other stakeholders to understand the natural resources that lie under the ground. 

While considering buying an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S electric vehicle in 2014, Jim MacInnes had to drive roughly four hours to Windsor, Ontario to give it a test drive.

Eight years after voters approved the use of medical marijuana, Michigan lawmakers have agreed to a regulatory framework for the commercial growing and selling of marijuana to qualified patients.

As Jackson-based Consumers Energy looks to build a statewide electric vehicle charging network, other companies in the sector have raised concerns about maintaining competition in the marketplace, both for vendors and drivers.

Twelve Michigan food processing and agriculture companies will travel to Shanghai and Shenzhen, China next month on a trade mission with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

At least two Republican-controlled state House seats in West Michigan are expected to be competitive in the Nov. 8 election as Democrats set lofty goals to retake a majority in the lower chamber.

It’s an oft-heard line that you can be fired in Michigan just for being gay.

When Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish launched a two-year search to locate the Oregon company’s first satellite production facility, one of his top criteria was determining whether the state and local community wanted his business.

Earlier this month, the state Legislature adjourned for most of the summer so lawmakers can focus on constituent issues in their home districts, as well as this year’s election. 

While most reports show the fundamentals of the West Michigan economy remain strong, economists and local executives warn we’re closer to the next recession than we are to the previous one. In this special report, MiBiz takes a mid-year look at the Michigan economy and what the experts say lies ahead.

A handful of economic outlooks and surveys signal that Michigan’s economy should continue on an upward trajectory for the second half of this year and into 2017. 

While ongoing crises with the Detroit Public Schools and Flint’s poisoned water get the majority of headlines, Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s committed to tackling a number of other important issues around the state. The term-limited governor says the remainder of his two years in office will focus on fixing problems, everything from determining how Michigan will fund much-needed infrastructure upgrades to positioning the state as a hub for mobility. Snyder sat down with MiBiz for a wide-ranging discussion during the Mackinac Policy Conference in early June. 

Even though a pair of sweeping energy reform bills advanced in the state Senate late last month, key business groups stood opposed to the plans. 

West Michigan’s construction executives hold to the notion that the region’s industry will continue to accelerate for the foreseeable future, despite increasing concerns of a broader economic slowdown. 

The build-out of West Michigan’s nascent startup and entrepreneurial support network will be a marathon, not a sprint. 

Both the Michigan and U.S. economy are plugging along in fairly good shape, although just about everybody would like to see a higher rate of growth.

consortium of academics, government officials and industry leaders wants to refocus the state on wood products and create a hub for bio-materials produced from Michigan’s forests.

handful of economic outlooks and surveys signal that Michigan’s economy should continue on an upward trajectory for the second half of this year and into 2017. 

In 2009, Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard met with then-gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder to discuss tax policy at an Applebee’s off I-96 near Okemos.

LANSING — A mid-Michigan particle accelerator has taken the next step in an ambitious expansion plan that would position the company to capitalize on the multi-billion dollar market for medical isotopes.

West Michigan’s business community says it has a vested interest in how well third-graders can read. 

Charter boat captains and small businesses along the lakeshore are bracing for potential rough seas this year in Lake Michigan’s $16 million charter fishery.

Detroit-based DTE Energy is in the middle of a five-year, $2.5 billion gas and electric infrastructure upgrade that will have the utility investing millions into projects in West Michigan. 

Midwest energy analysts say Michigan could leverage a $105 million public investment into roughly $3 billion in private clean energy development under what’s known as a “green bank.”

JACKSON — Michigan’s second-largest electric utility says it is developing a program to meet the needs of large energy users who want more of their electricity to come from renewable sources

As Michigan’s industries have evolved over the years, so too have the roles economic developers play when it comes to helping businesses grow and expand in communities across the state.  

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. plans to “re-evaluate” a gap financing mechanism that commercial real estate professionals say has played a crucial role in the redevelopment of key corridors across West Michigan. 

The environment for an entrepreneur to start and grow a business in Michigan continues to improve, although gains are slowing after a decade of significant change as other states do better as well.

Establishing a regulatory framework for the sale of medical marijuana could generate between $44.3 million and $63.5 million annually in tax revenue for Michigan, according to a new report. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Despite negotiating for the past seven months, Grand Rapids Symphony musicians and the organization’s management team have yet to agree to terms of a new contract.

The budget cuts at the state’s economic development organization have forced industry executives in West Michigan to adjust their tactics. 

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking state lawmakers to increase funding for the popular Skilled Trades Training Fund program as part of his budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

ALLEGAN — Fighting off a hostile takeover bid cost Perrigo Co. plc $100 million last year, driving up administrative expenses sharply for the producer of over-the-counter medications.

As the state grapples with the Flint water crisis and a long-term funding solution for Detroit Public Schools, business advocates hope lawmakers will still be able to tackle policies that keep health care costs down, add transparency and help companies attract talent. 

State lawmakers remain focused on passing energy policy this year that preserves Michigan’s limited electric choice market and abandons renewable energy standards in favor of comprehensive planning requirements.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for March 7, 2016.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 22, 2016:

The state legislature’s inaction on extending equal civil rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has led a growing number of prominent West Michigan business leaders to call for change.

Advocates in West Michigan have spent nearly two years pitching Property Assessed Clean Energy financing to Kent County officials as one more tool in the Grand Rapids region’s economic development toolbox.

While a competitive tax structure was important, Las Vegas-based Switch Communications Group LLC had a different prerequisite before even considering opening a cloud-based data center in Michigan: reliable, renewable energy. 

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