Proos: Allow Michigan’s border communities to compete for new jobs, investment

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday supported Senate passage of legislation designed to help Michigan border communities attract new business investment and jobs.

“Although nearly half a million private-sector jobs have been created in Michigan during the last six years, we must continue to help encourage job creation in our state and ensure that businesses investing in Michigan can employ the skilled workers they need to be successful,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This reform would help job creators come to Southwest Michigan, instead of Indiana, and enable businesses already here to expand and grow in our state.”

Michigan offers a variety of economic assistance to businesses that make investments or provide “qualified new jobs” in the state. Senate Bill 40 would expand the “qualified new job” definition to include a job performed by a non-resident who is employed by a business located in a Michigan border county.

“This bill is about cutting punitive regulations that currently put local border towns from Niles to Sturgis at a disadvantage in the competition for new jobs and investment,” Proos said. “According to the Southwest Growth Alliance, an Indiana company is unsure if it will be able to move its manufacturing operations to Michigan unless this reform is made, because they would be unable to count Indiana employees who would travel to the Michigan facility.”

Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First, said, “I want to thank Senators Zorn and Proos for helping solve a vitally important issue, central to the focus of local economic developers working to attract companies to Southwest Michigan. Senate Bill 40 will give us an important tool to compete with neighboring states in winning projects that bring jobs to our region.”

Lenawee Now Executive Director Jim Van Doren testified last week in support of the bill and said, “Economic development is a regional issue and competition along the southern border is a great example. Senator Zorn, working so closely with his counterpart Senator Proos from the west side of the state, is a major asset, and this bill will help us attract and expand industry right here in Lenawee County.”

Proos said, “Making this simple and smart change would help us focus our attention on encouraging businesses to build and grow in Michigan. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House on helping create new opportunities in Michigan’s border communities.”

SB 40 has been sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments from Proos will be available later on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/audio.