Senate OKs Zorn bill aimed at helping economic development in border communities

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation designed to help spur business investment in Michigan border communities.

“In the last six years, Michigan has created more than 480,000 private-sector jobs — a positive record of results for Michigan residents,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We must continue to help encourage creating new jobs in our state. While Michigan offer economic development assistance to help foster job creation in our state, the current requirements for these incentives put local towns and counties along Michigan’s borders at a huge disadvantage.

“This legislation would help our border communities attract investment and assist expansion of current businesses in these counties that may have some employees who live across the border.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments in Michigan or provide “qualified new jobs” in the state. Currently, a “qualified new job” means a job performed by an individual who is a Michigan resident.

Senate Bill 1085 would expand the definition of a “qualified new job” to include a job performed by a non-Michigan resident who is employed by a business that is located in a Michigan border county.

“Senate Bill 1085 is a welcomed piece of legislation for those communities that border Michigan,” said Tim Lake, president and CEO of the Monroe County Business Development Corporation. “This bill will provide the needed support to compete with our neighbors and stimulate the growth of our existing manufacturing businesses that reside along the border.”

Lenawee Now Executive Director Jim Van Doren said, “On behalf of Lenawee County, a border community, this bill will extend the reach of our workforce. It makes a tremendous impact on companies looking to locate or expand here. We’re grateful for Senator Zorn’s close involvement in our community as it allows him to truly understand our needs and represent us to the state.”

Zorn said, “Communities in Southeast Michigan are interconnected with our Ohio neighbors. Many Michigan residents live here and work in Ohio and vice versa. This is about fairness and helping our local economies. Businesses in Michigan that want to invest, expand and create jobs in our state should be encouraged — not punished if some of their employees choose to live on the other side of the state line.”

SB 1085 now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.