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    The Michigan State Legislature has battled a package requiring companies receiving tax incentives or companies receiving state construction contracts to hire 100 percent Michigan workers. On the surface, the concept of hiring only Michigan workers to complete Michigan projects is common sense. With an unemployment rate reaching the teens and no sign of stopping, Michigan employees are ideal candidates for such projects.

    However, the initiative has faced repeated opposition because of the skepticism surrounding the feasibility of allowing no other-state employees. Companies who qualify for tax incentives are either moving to Michigan or agree to stay in Michigan because of the money they plan on saving from such breaks. However, Senate Republicans fear that mandating a 100 percent Michigan workforce is unrealistic.

    According to Mark Sanchez of the Western Michigan Business Review, "Importing scientific talent from other states and other countries is also common in the biotech and life sciences industries Michigan is targeting with tax incentive."

    The bill is currently in the hands of the Republican-controlled Senate. Following review of the modifications from the House Democrats, the bill may or may not be voted on. In addition to the ‘Hire Michigan First' package, the state legislature is debating additional programs to help the unemployed. If passed, unemployed workers receiving high-demand job training or part-time workers will be eligible for insurance benefits. Training, coupled with required hiring of Michigan workers, will likely alter the growing percentage of unemployed workers.

    .

    ‘Hire Michigan First' legislation penalizes companies who hire non-Michigan workers by either paying back any tax incentives of banishment from receiving future contracts. Such punishments may scare companies from setting-up-shop in Michigan. Whatever the solution, a resolution must emerge in order to get Michigan workers re-employed. With bipartisan cooperation, the unemployment rate will potentially turn and new industries will be encouraged to open up throughout Michigan.

     

     

    Sources: http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2009/03/hire_michigan_first_provision.html   March 31 2009
    http://031.housedems.com/news/article/dems-to-senate-put-the-hire-back-in-hire-michigan-first/house-democrats-send-stronger-plan-back-to-senate-for-action/ June 18, 2009

     

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Alyssa Firth

    Alyssa Firth is Employment Policy Fellow and correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. Alyssa is a Journalism student at Michigan State University.