Business Leaders for Michigan shares COVID-19 recovery proposal

Courtesy Business Leaders for Michigan

The state’s business roundtable shared a three-part proposal with elected officials for a “sustainable” restarting of Michigan’s economy.

Lansing-based Business Leaders for Michigan, a roundtable comprised of the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities, on Monday released a proposed plan for restarting Michigan’s economy that BLM said will “benefit both workers and employers.”

The Restart, Restructure, Reignite proposal makes policy recommendations for restarting the economy through “repurposing existing state and federal revenue, allowing elected leaders to take quick action to assist employers in resuming operations and re-engaging displaced workers as the economy fully and safely reopens.”

“BLM’s first and foremost response to the COVID-19 crisis has been around public health,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of BLM. “The shutdown of operations across industries is unprecedented. There was no playbook for this situation, so we worked to create one that could guide businesses of all sizes in keeping employees, suppliers and customers safe. Now, we’re focused on a new playbook: a plan that stabilizes our state’s economy by helping state government and employers get people back to work safely and using our shared resources most effectively.”

BLM’s economic recovery plan includes the following elements:

Restart: Re-engage the Michigan economy safely and responsibly, stabilizing the business climate and limiting the chances of another shutdown or prolonged economic downturn by relying on public health and safety to guide policies.

Policy suggestions:

  • Support implementation of a statewide testing system.
  • Continue collaborations with national and local financial institutions to identify and fund programs to provide short-term loans and gap financing to Michigan-based businesses.
  • Support continuation and modification of the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s Work Share Program to retain employment.

Restructure: Adapt to new conditions, advocating for state government to leverage federal stimulus funds and state revenues to tax residents and businesses appropriately for new working conditions and redeploy displaced workers with “intense reskilling” for those whose jobs have been eliminated.

Policy suggestions:

  • Request the Michigan Department of Transportation and county road commissions prioritize projects considering economic impact, streamline the approval process and place the greatest emphasis on “shovel-ready” projects.
  • Review tax structure for alignment with accelerated trends toward remote work and household delivery of goods and services.
  • Assign the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to identify and implement accelerated certification programs for in-demand positions, leveraging the programs of community colleges, employers, labor associations and more to advertise and make certificate programs available rapidly and at scale.

Reignite: Facilitate economic activity and conditions for growth, shifting economic development priorities during the recovery to focus on retaining and growing Michigan’s existing companies and attracting growth from their supply chains.

Policy suggestions:

  • Support small and medium-sized businesses by redirecting Community Development Block Grant dollars from investments in infrastructure and use Business Development Program dollars to support small and medium-sized businesses in urban communities.
  • Focus on helping existing Michigan companies attract critical suppliers in anticipation of a realignment of global supply chains.
  • Fund Pure Michigan to support restarting the tourism industry.

BLM’s full economic recovery plan can be found at

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