Nearly two-thirds of the 33 firms designated as part of eight new tax-free Tool and Die Recovery Zones are located in Kent, Ottawa and Allegan counties.
The 20 local companies are members of eight tool and die coalitions.
Recent amendments to the Michigan Renaissance Zone Act enables the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to designate up to 20 of the tax-free zones where state and local taxes may be abated for up to 15 years.
A total of 14 applicants from individual companies and tool and die coalitions, which include two or more companies, were considered for the eight spots.
The coalitions and the local firms in them are:
- The Coopersville Tooling Coalition, consisting of Phillips Machining Co., SelfLube, Superior Machine Co., Superior Press & Automation.
- The Great Lakes Tool & Die Coalition, an 11-firm group spanning the Lower Peninsula, with local members being Classic Die Inc. and Marton Tool Inc., both of Grand Rapids; J.S. Die & Mold, Byron Center; and Paramount Tool & Die Inc., Kent City.
- LS Mold Inc, Holland.
- Precision Tool & Coalition, including CNC Precision Machining Inc. and Preferred Tool & Die, both of Comstock Park, and Trademark Die & Engineering Inc., Belmont.
- Tooling Systems Group, consisting of Engineered Tooling Systems Inc., Mold Tooling Systems Inc., and Specialty Tooling Systems Inc., all of Walker.
- United Tooling Coalition, consisting of seven firms with the local companies being Peterson Jig & Fixture Co., Rockford; Precise Engineering, Lowell; and Trimline Tool Inc., Grandville.
- The West Michigan Tooling Coalition, including local companies Eclipse Tool & Die, Wayland, and Wolverine Tool & Engineering, Belmont.
The zones were established under Michigan’s Renaissance Zone program.
In announcing the zones’ designation, Don Jakeway, president and CEO of MEDC, said such companies have faced tough challenges from foreign competition.
“The tax-free zones will extend a helping hand to the industry and encourage collaboration to help secure the industry’s future in Michigan,” he said.
The next window of opportunity for Tool and Die Recovery Zone designations is expected to open for applications in the fall of 2005.
To qualify, the property designated must be leased or owned by a qualified tool and die business and used primarily for tool and die operations. The company must have fewer than 50 full-time employees and the local government board must agree by resolution to abate the business’ local taxes.
The business also must enter into a qualified collaborative agreement that designates synergistic opportunities with other qualified tool and die shops, including collaborative marketing and the development of standardized processes and management methods.
To date, Michigan’s Renaissance Zones have led to more than $2.1 billion of private investment in more than 340 projects, reportedly creating more than 7,500 jobs.