Delivered by Bob Sliva, V.P. & General Manager
Governor Jennifer Granholm's proposed 2011 state budget is a good starting point for vigorous public debate, tough legislative negotiations, and sensible compromises. As expected, reactions to Granholm's budget are mixed. There are no simple solutions for getting rid of a projected $1.5 billion shortfall.
Some respected business groups will fight the Governor on her attempt to expand the sales tax to most service businesses. And they warn that lowering the sales tax from 6% to 5.5% isn't a big enough cut. But organizations such as Business Leaders for Michigan support Granholm's call to get rid of the 22-percent surcharge on the Michigan Business Tax and eventually reduce that tax rate overall. There will also be spirited debate over the Governor's plan to close prisons, tax doctors, cut the state workforce and reduce employee benefits.
But there's one area of the budget we hope state lawmakers will agree on with little fanfare or debate; creating a respectable budget to encourage tourism. In 2009 the state spent $30 million for its award-winning Pure Michigan advertising campaign. This effort enticed nearly 2 million visitors to our state who in turn pumped $586 million into our economy. That's the kind of revenue Michigan cannot afford to lose. The budget discussions must include significant support for this critical economic initiative.
Broadcast: February 17 - 18, 2010
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