Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 19, 2012

Business tax changes are starting to work

All year in every region of Michigan, from the southeast to northwest, small businesses have been steadily adding jobs — signs of economic progress that serve as evidence that the state's recent sweeping public policy changes are producing the intended results.

As the ever-growing jobs tally at shows, small businesses — including those in the Traverse City region — are taking advantage of the state's tremendous new job growth tools. Since 2011, policy makers have eliminated the burdensome and unfair Michigan Business Tax, made common-sense improvements in the regulatory climate and placed new emphasis on helping homegrown businesses prosper under an approach known as economic gardening.

The Small Business Association of Michigan, along with Issue Media Group and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, created earlier this year in part to help track the results of the improved business climate. Since then, we have watched the site's ticker-style jobs tally reach nearly 11,000.

Although is a not a scientific count of every job filled in the small-business community, the web site shows that job creation is occurring across a wide range of industries and geographic areas.

For example, Traverse City-area businesses have reported 182 new jobs, including three additional employees at Great Lakes Stainless and two more staffers at Living Light Massage and Wellness Center. Those stories have been replicated in both startup companies and established businesses throughout the region.

No matter whether entry- or mid-level, blue collar or white, each new job is a step in the right direction toward Michigan's economic rebound and represents an opportunity for career growth and development for employees.

Although the bulk of the new jobs are being added with little or no fanfare, collectively they tell a story that should make headlines — nearly 11,000 jobs added in less than a year is good news for Michigan workers and represents more hiring certainty among employers who see the state as a better business climate in which to operate.

We believe that the robust job growth among Michigan's small businesses is tangible proof that business tax changes and other reforms adopted in the past couple of years are beginning to work — by putting Michiganders to work.

About the author: Rob Fowler is president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of interest or expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing Please include biographical information and a photo.

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