Focusing on Job Creation

In my first three months as your state senator, my focus has been creating long-term jobs by improving our state’s business climate.

The old strategy of job creation through government programs has failed. Michigan needs a better plan.

I am working to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs by getting government out of their way.  More freedom and fewer burdens mean increased opportunities and more jobs.

Recognizing the impact regulations can have our economy, I voted for a new law preventing unelected bureaucrats from imposing unnecessary burdens on jobs providers.

I also support a Senate Republican initiative to help put people back to work by cutting red tape throughout all state departments.  One reform would require state agencies to look at the potential impact of a rule on small businesses, which create more than 70 percent of Michigan jobs.

It’s time to make Michigan open for business. That is why I was the first co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1 to repeal the Michigan Business Tax.  Since the tax was adopted, it has been a barrier to job creation.  I am working on reforming our tax code to make our state business-friendly, so we can retain our current job providers and attract new ones to the state.

I will continue my efforts to help reinvent Michigan and put our state on the road to economic revitalization.

That is the only way to ensure we have the good, long-term jobs that will revitalize our state’s economy and allow enable future generations to live, work and thrive in southwest Michigan.

Advertisements

Legislators Should Pay 20-Percent of their Health Insurance Costs

As we all know, Michigan is facing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall this year. To help bridge this gap and fix our long-term structural deficit, Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a budget that includes having state, school and local government workers pay 20 percent of their health insurance cost. 

Applying that 20 percent level to Michigan’s 148 lawmakers will only achieve modest savings when compared to the approximate $380 million that could be saved by requiring school and state workers to contribute the same amount, but I believe each of us must do our part to put our state back on track.

I believe that our state legislators should lead by example.  That is why we introduced Senate Bill 304, which would require all senators and state representatives to pay 20 percent of their health insurance cost.

Solving our state’s budget problems will require shared sacrifice.  We must all tighten our belts and get Michigan back on track.  In the past, I have voted to cut my salary by 10 percent and to reduce the budget for my legislative office by 12 percent over the past three years.

Before we ask a teacher or state worker to pay 20 percent, my colleagues and I should also set an example by making that same sacrifice.  And that is what we will do.

Senators Unveil Plan to Cut Red Tape, Put Michigan Back to Work

My top priority is to create a positive business climate in Michigan that will make our state attractive to job providers. That is why Senate Republicans have announced legislation to help put people back to work and cut unnecessary red tape.

Senate Bills 271-279 are about job creation and recognizing the impact regulations can have on our economy.

According to Site Selection magazine, businesses look at the ease of permitting and regulatory procedures second only to the availability of workforce skills when choosing a place to locate or expand.

The bills would reduce burdensome red tape across all state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality which deals with energy permitting and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs which deals with business permits. The state agencies will also be required to consider the disproportionate effects rules might have on small businesses compared to larger companies.

This is vitally important since small businesses create more than 70 percent of Michigan jobs and are least able to absorb the cost of punitive regulations.

Measures in the eight-bill package would also level the playing field for Michigan job providers by shortening wait times when it comes to the permitting process and prohibiting rules more stringent than federal rules, unless authorized by state law.

These reforms will help create jobs and boost southwest Michigan’s economy, and I look forward to cutting the bureaucratic red tape and declaring Michigan open for business.

Senate Panel Passes Bills to Help Boost Michigan Auto and Boat Sales

The Senate Finance Committee has passed legislation that would help spur vehicle and watercraft sales by reducing the cost of purchasing a new or used vehicle or boat in Michigan.

I strongly supported Senate Bills 126 and 127 because they will help southwest Michigan dealers complete with out-of-state sellers.

Michigan law currently puts our local, in-state businesses at a competitive disadvantage. When an individual today buys a new or used automobile or watercraft in Michigan, the state’s six percent sales tax is applied to the full sales price, even if the sale included a trade-in.

None of our neighboring states do this. It is a clear example of tax policy hurting Michigan job providers and consumers.

Under the bills, the sales or use tax would be applied only to the difference between the price of a new car or boat and the value of a trade-in. This smart tax reform could result in savings for Michigan consumers of several hundred to thousands of dollars.

SBs 126 and 127, known as the “sales tax on the difference” bills, have been praised by dealers who sell cars, trucks and watercraft.

As a border community, this change is necessary to help boost sales and create jobs southwest Michigan. It is a step toward bringing the state’s tax structure in line with nearly 40 other states, including all of our neighbors.

Michigan Cannot Afford Unnecessary Ergonomics Regulations

Michigan cannot afford to add up to $500 million in costs to current and future job providers.  We need to be eliminating job-killing regulations, not adding new ones. That is why I supported legislation passed by the state Senate to prevent bureaucrats from imposing unnecessary burdens on jobs providers.

Senate Bill 20 would prohibit state officials from enacting mandatory ergonomics regulations. Voluntary guidelines would be allowed but could be no more stringent than federal standards.

The measure will save jobs and send a positive message to companies looking to come here. Gov. Snyder supports this positive step, and I am confident the House will join us in getting government out of the way of economic growth.

California, which just passed Michigan in unemployment rates, is currently the only state with separate mandatory workplace ergonomics rules. Ergonomics standards are included in federal workplace rules that companies operate under.

New ergonomics mandates are unwarranted and would hurt small and medium-sized businesses in southwest Michigan the most. Studies show that these separate rules could cost Michigan employers an extra $400 to $500 million. We should pursue policies that encourage job growth and retention.

We remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a beacon of freedom leading the nation through dark times.

Most importantly, we honor Dr. King as a great man who stood for something greater than himself.

He believed in the greatness of America and led the movement to realize – for all Americans – the founding principle of our nation: that all men are created equal.

One of our greatest qualities as a nation is the ability to continue to grow.

At a time when African American children were banned from going to the same schools as white children, or even using the same drinking fountain, Dr. King had a dream of a day when people would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.

Today, it may be difficult for a young person to grasp the challenges Dr. King faced. For this reason, our nation has set aside a day so that we might recall those hardships. This Martin Luther King Day, let us remember the injustices of the past so that future generations might understand and be tolerant of all people.

For Dr. King’s courageous stand for freedom and opportunity, he paid the ultimate price. While his life was ended much too soon, we must always keep his spirit and ideals alive.

Senate Office is Open and Ready for Business

My Senate office is open and ready to meet the needs of constituents in the 21st Senate District.

Anyone who needs assistance with a state issue or wants to share their legislative viewpoint can contact our office. My top priority will continue to be constituent service; we are prepared to listen. My goal is to provide the best service possible for the hard-working people of Southwest Michigan.

An e-mail address has been established to add convenience for district residents. The e-mail address is senjproos@senate.michigan.gov and the telephone number is 517-373-6960. The mailing address is Senator John Proos, P. O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI, 48909.

Residents may visit my website at http://www.SenatorJohnProos.com.

The office located in Room 820 of the Farnum Building at 125 West Allegan Street in Lansing, across the street from the Michigan Capitol.

We are always eager to welcome residents who are visiting the Capitol or are here to testify before a committee.

The 21st District includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.