In this week’s edition of the Zeeland Record, Bill discussed the booming economy, examples of economic growth and job creation across West Michigan, and how tax reform is delivering better wages and bigger paychecks. Below is Bill’s op-ed titled: Tax Reform has West Michigan Open for Business.
Our economy is starting to fire on all cylinders. In fact, the most recent job numbers highlight how tax and regulatory reform that Republicans have fought for are delivering for West Michigan and hardworking families across the nation. Last month, a significant 223,000 jobs were created, while unemployment reached its lowest level since 1969.
The latest survey released last week by the National Federation of Independent Business or NFIB continued to highlight positive news for the engine of our economy. The survey found that optimism among small businesses reached the second highest point in its 45 year history. On top of that, the number of small businesses planning to expand hit a record high as did the number of small businesses saying they are raising wages for their employees.
What does the NFIB attribute these positive economic developments to? The recent reforms to our nation’s outdated tax code and overly burdensome regulatory structure. The NFIB report specifically cites how tax reform is providing small businesses with the necessary fuel to grow saying, “the new tax code is returning money to the private sector where history makes clear it will be better invested than by a government bureaucracy.” The survey also highlighted how cutting regulatory red tape on small businesses is just as important as reducing taxes, “regulatory costs, as significant as taxes, are being reduced.”
While this news is positive for the outlook of our economy as a whole, my focus is on how West Michigan’s economy is doing. I am happy to report that the economy here in West Michigan is performing even better than the national economy. Over the last several weeks, there have been significant announcements regarding economic expansion and job creation in both Kent and Ottawa Counties.
Last month, Amazon announced it was investing $150 million to build a distribution center in Gaines Township. This project is expected to create 1,000 full time positions with benefits. In fact, one of the benefits being reported is an astounding 95% college tuition reimbursement for employees. On top of that, Amazon is offering employees who welcome a child 20 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave that can be shared with a spouse if their employer does not offer paid leave. Amazon coming to West Michigan isn’t the only positive economic news.
ADAC Automotive, which was founded in Grand Rapids and has locations across West Michigan, announced a $20 million investment and expansion earlier this month that will create 50 new jobs. Tech Defenders, a local electronic repair and maintenance company, is investing $2.7 million in Grand Rapids and creating 115 jobs. Here in Ottawa County, Almond Products Inc. a manufacturing company in Spring Lake is going to be expanding and adding 72 jobs. Bekins, an appliance retailer in Coopersville, is adding somewhere between 10 and 20 jobs as they significantly increase their warehouse and office space.
These examples demonstrate the strength and depth of West Michigan’s economy because growth is occurring across multiple sectors of the economy and if the latest quarterly poll from Business Leaders for Michigan is any indication, there will be more good news on the horizon.
An astonishing 79% of business leaders and university presidents currently hold a positive outlook on the economy for the next six months. In an interview with MiBiz earlier this month, Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO Doug Rothwell said, “nearly half our members plan to add jobs and increase investment in Michigan over the next six months. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that level of growth.”
Despite the negative rhetoric coming from Nancy Pelosi and others in Washington, tax and regulatory reform are delivering for West Michigan. The economy is growing, good-paying jobs are being created, and hardworking families are climbing the ladder of economic opportunity. I frequently tell my colleagues that West Michigan is the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family. The latest economic news reinforces that point and makes Ottawa County an even better place to call home.
For more information regarding how tax reform will help hardworking families across West Michigan, click here.
For additional examples of how tax reform is positively impacting West Michigan job creators, click here.