Your Voice for Business

Policy Priorities

We are the “Voice for Business” in Southwest Michigan

Our Chamber, through its full-time staff and dedicated Government Affairs team, is continuously working to represent our members and promote pro-business policies at the local, state, and national levels of government. While this work often occurs behind the scenes, it is critically important to the growth and prosperity of Southwest Michigan. Below are some of the policy priorities we are fighting for and why they matter.

Local Priorities

Often, the most impactful decisions are made at the local level. We understand this and work hands-on with our local leaders on a daily basis.

Planning

We regularly register input on local land use and infrastructure plans that set forth goals and objectives  for the next decade of community growth and redevelopment.

Zoning

If local zoning issues are plaguing your business, let us advocate on your behalf. From help with variances to conditional use permits, it pays to have us in your corner.

Regulations

Burdensome regulation stifles growth,  innovation, and investment. Our chamber works to ensure a regulatory environment in which businesses can operate and grow.  

Rural Broadband

Access to the Internet is as important to communities as traditional
utilities of water, sewer and electricity. We support the implementation of high-speed
broadband to advance the needs of both the educational and business community, especially in our more rural areas.

Housing

Working with local leaders and developers, we support initiatives that seek to provide robust and healthy housing options for individuals and families that seek to work, live and play in Michigan’s Great southwest.

Harbor Development

As has been the case since the earliest settlement of our corner of the state, strengthening and leveraging our greatest natural asset is essential to catapult the economic prosperity of our region.

Coastal Resiliency

It is vital that we work to protect the environmental qualities of lake-front
communities and the economic and recreational opportunities they provide.

Public Safety

We strongly support policies that ensure the safety, protection and well-being of all residents and visitors to our region, as well as the men and women who serve in these important roles.

State Priorities

Our advocacy team is full of state-level policy experience and legislative accomplishments. We know where the levers in Lansing are and know how to pull them.

COVID Relief & Recovery

Because everyone is “essential,” we support public policies that demonstrate a balanced approach between protecting public health and defending the fundamental right and opportunity for individuals to choose how best to support their families and to engage in the workforce in our free-market economy. We also advocate in support of job providers and employees that have been or could be negatively impacted by public policies that impose mandates or inconsistent and arbitrary restrictions.

Taxation

Why?

Talent Development

We seek to advance the present and future workforce with the tools they need to succeed, including robust options in classroom settings, skill trade education and on-the-job experience.

Access to Childcare

Access to quality childcare should not bankrupt families or cause parents to drop out of the labor force. We must promote policies that ensure the safety of our children, while also providing the support and flexibility necessary for providers to deliver reliable, effective care.

Economic Competitiveness

We seek to support policies that recognize the world has transformed into a global economy, and our region actively participates in that space through many of our larger employers and their employees. Additionally, state and local public policies must also support the economic vitality of region that attracts and retains job creators.

Reforming the UIA

The safety net is important to support families, when necessary, but should never replace the value of a good day’s work. Fraud, abuse and wasteful mismanagement has created a system that places unnecessary cost and burden on employers and requires reform.

Funding "Pure Michigan"

Tourism is the third largest economic sector in Michigan, providing the hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting education through healthy sales tax revenues. Promoting the successful “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign translates into a direct return on investment that adds significantly to our state and local economy.

Protecting "Right to Work"

Right to Work policies support healthy relationships between employers and employees free of a potentially self-interested third party. Individuals should be free to choose where they wish to work and support their families without being forced to join a union.

Federal Priorities

We maintain strong working relationships with Michigan’s Congressional delegation to ensure our region’s needs are heard in our Nation’s Capitol.

COVID Relief & Recovery

Business rely on consistency and predictability to succeed, and federal public policies must provide a health foundation. Similar to our efforts at
the local and state levels of government, we support public policies that demonstrate a
balanced approach between protecting public health and defending the fundamental right and
opportunity for individuals to choose how best to support their families and to engage in the workforce in our free-market economy. We also advocate in support of job providers and employees that have been or could be negatively impacted by public policies that impose mandates or inconsistent and arbitrary restrictions.

Improved Tax Climate

Businesses are the economic life-blood of any community, providing jobs, products and services. Having a fair and competitive tax climate that does not impose heavy financial burdens ensures that financial resources not only support necessary local, state and federal services, but
that it can attract and retain job creators and allowing owners and entrepreneurs to continue to
operate and grow their business.

Protecting our Great Lakes

Our shared environmental assets are essential to our region, especially our Great Lakes. Therefore, supporting public policies that balance the residential, recreational and commercial use of these resources is among our top priorities.

Immigration Reform

As a national of immigrants, we have a rich and storied history that crosses generations of families that have come to the United States to live the American dream. Maintaining and protecting the legal channels through which individuals can immigrate
to our nation will advance a strong and healthy workforce and endless opportunity for generations to come.

Employer Liability Protections

Over time, our nation has sadly become an increasingly litigious society, whereby unscrupulous and opportunistic individuals cause business owners to be vulnerable to significant financial litigation. These frivolous lawsuits drive up the costs incurred by businesses which are  then passed on to their customers through higher prices. While it is always appropriate to defend rational workplace and consumer safety measures, we will also work to establish meaningful protections for employers with the goal of preventing an environment that otherwise reward these frivolous lawsuits.

Combatting Poverty

While we will always stand up against greed, corruption and the exploitation of workers – and support a temporary safety-net for those in need – we will also vigorously defend and extol the virtues of our capitalistic society. No economic system in the world has done more to raise people out of poverty than capitalism. It remains the only means through which we can guarantee unlimited economic opportunity individuals to leverage their God-given talents, experience professional growth, build wealth, and climb the socioeconomic ladder.

Trade/Tariffs

These economic tactics are often employed to as a means to protect
or encourage a health exchange of goods between international nations. Maintaining a heathy balance will ensure the availability of competitively-priced products in the marketplace for consumers, while protecting good-paying jobs here in the United States.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020, our Chamber has fought tirelessly to keep businesses open and free of government interference. Our Board Chair, Mark Lemoine, even traveled to Lansing to testify on behalf of our regional business community. His message was simple: end Michigan’s strictest-in-the-nation lockdown and let our businesses get back on their feet.

“I have watched you all champion for local businesses in various ways, and i’m excited to call myself a member. During a time when so many of us didn’t even know what to do next, you all led the way.”

Jayme Bednarski

Owner, Full Circle Cafe

Can we advocate on your behalf?