By: Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place

West Michigan has been fortunate to make the tops of a lot of lists lately, from starting a business and making a living to raising a family and so many more. And Grand Rapids was just this month noted for being the fastest growing economy in the entire country. It’s also one of the most affordable. That says a lot. That shows that we’re doing key things right. The recognition is heartening and emblematic of the hard work and collaboration that is taking place to build a vibrant, growing region.  

But we also know that competition – nationally and globally – is fierce.  And that Michigan was one of only two states in the country without a vital job attraction and economic development tool of tax incentives to compete for larger projects with hundreds of good-paying jobs.

I know and saw that first-hand as president & CEO of The Right Place, meeting with current and prospective businesses looking to expand or come to the area. This gap was simply keeping Michigan and our region off too many company location decision lists. It was letting other states lure away the businesses and jobs that should be coming to or growing right here in West Michigan or other communities across the state.

Thankfully, many forward-looking lawmakers in our region and statewide, along with the Governor, recognized this evolving, real-world reality and passed the Good Jobs for Michigan legislation on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis of 71-35 in the House and 32-5 in the Senate. We applaud these 20 West Michigan representatives and senators for their leadership on this critical issue:

Governer Synder signs Good Jobs for Michigan bill

Rep. Chris Afendoulis
Rep. Tommy Bran
Rep. Winnie Brinks
Rep. Julie Calley
Rep. Daniella Garcia
Rep. Holly Hughes
Rep. Jim Lilly
Rep. James Lower
Rep. Terry Sabo
Rep. Curt VanderWall

Governor synder and birgit klohs with the newly signed good jobs for michigan bill

Rep. Scott VanSingel
Rep. Rob Verhuelen
Rep. Roger Victory
Rep. Mary Whiteford
Sen. Darwin Booher
Sen. Geoff Hansen
Sen. Dave Hildenbrand
Sen. Peter MacGregor
Sen. Arlan Meekof
Sen. Mike Nofs 

This legislative package will help keep and enhance our momentum. It’s also essential to growing our communities and economy and ensuring they are strong for years to come.

Good-paying jobs are the lifeblood of our communities. They help us provide opportunities for our residents and families, ensure a strong quality of life, strengthen our neighborhoods and bolster our schools, infrastructure, public safety and other core services.

We know that Grand Rapids, West Michigan and the Great Lakes State have what it takes otherwise to compete and win – this now levels the playing field.

It ensures we’re on the map and shows firms everywhere that Michigan is open for business. It means communities and Michiganders across both our peninsulas will benefit tremendously from this policy to help grow jobs, opportunities and paychecks. And it makes sure that we’re at the top of even more key lists in the years to come. That’s the kind of smart, sound public policy that works for both current and future generations.

Birgit Klohs is president & CEO of The Right Place, Inc. a proud member of the 65+ Good Jobs for Michigan coalition,