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Right Place CEO: Michigan has most at stake in preserving NAFTA


West Michigan executives seem pretty bullish on the tax reform ... That will be a million jobs that go away, and what are you thinking? At a recent MiBiz real estate and construction roundtable, executives mentioned it would be nice if Grand Rapids could ...


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Next year, Michigan voters will elect the person who will become the fifth governor that The Right Place CEO Birgit Klohs has worked with in her career in economic developmentWhile her organization is “agnostic” when it comes to who wins the election, Klohs hopes to continue to have a strong working relationship with the new chief executive and that the new governor continues to support the efforts of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. How is The Right Place’s economic development pipeline shaping up for 2018?  When we look at our pipeline of leads, we’re still looking at a really good pipelineMacro-wise, I do believe, from everything I hear, that the auto industry is going to slow down some…  and, that, of course, will impact some of our auto suppliers… Part of our job is then to figure out who are those companies, and that happens through our retention callsBut we continue to find projects even when times are not so goodWe continue our workOur pipeline looks pretty robust at this point. Do you see any other industries that could face some issues next year?  YeahThe food industry is always going to be strong hereObviously, we have a strong agricultural sectorBut we’re also having a pinch point in some of our communities with wastewater treatment, and that is an infrastructure issue that the region is going to have to wrestle with, and the state of Michigan actually has to wrestle withWe need to make sure that we have the capacity to treat that waste and help continue to make sure that the food industry can continue to do their work. What other issues are you paying attention to?  The other challenge is still broadbandI can use this (cellphone) on a train going 320 kilometers an hour through France or Spain and do my emails, and here I lose my signal on Pearl Street or up in Montcalm County.  The other unknown for the auto suppliers is what could happen with NAFTA, given the rhetoric from the Trump administrationWhat do you see happening? I think NAFTA is flying under too many people’s radar… Canada is our largest trading partner, both as a country and as a stateNAFTA needs tinkering, it’s been 23 yearsIt’s like your house is in need of new roof, right? But I don’t have to tear the house down to put a new roof onSo, our biggest concern is: What are we going to do? … The number one state if NAFTA gets totally rewritten, or we walk as a country, is Michigan — because of the auto industry, but also furniture and agWe export billions from here to there… But nobody’s sort of understanding the impact it will have on the state after we’ve made all of these strides over the last seven years. West Michigan executives seem pretty bullish on the tax reform being pushed in WashingtonWhat’s the view from the economic development community? One of the biggest concerns for us as economic developers in this tax bill is municipal and industrial revenue bondsIf you’re a hospital, if you’re a county, if you’re a state, if you’re a community, those bonds are tax-exemptThat’s how many of our communities around the country are funding expansions of a hospital or their own (local) road infrastructureHow do you fund that? If we’re going to talk about wastewater treatment and we need to expand the wastewater treatment system over here, it would be a bond issue, which is tax-exemptSo I’ll buy the municipal bonds as an investmentIf they’re no longer tax-exempt, it’ll really, really impact funding of some really serious projects at a time when we need it. How would you rate Michigan’s ability to weather any upcoming economic downturn? I get very frustrated, to be very honest, when people talk about, ‘Well, we should have diversified out of the auto industry.’ First of all, the state is already much more diversified, and West Michigan is way more diversifiedYes, it’s still a very strong manufacturing center, and we’re proud of it, but we also have health and life sciences, you’ve got a very strong food processing industry, and the I.Tindustry is creating a lot of new jobsWe have pretty much created a regional economyOf course, whatever happens at the state and national level will impact us… If it isn’t as bad as it was 10 years ago, if we can ride out the cycle again, we’ll be fine. People forget that the automotive industry was responsible for helping us climb out of the recession, too.  There isn’t a country in the world that doesn’t want an automobile industryI mean, the Chinese are building one, the Indians are building oneWhy would we not want to keep ours? ‘Well, we’ve got to get out of the auto industry.’ Really? That will be a million jobs that go away, and what are you thinking?  At a recent MiBiz real estate and construction roundtable, executives mentioned it would be nice if Grand Rapids could bring a large corporate headquarters downtownDo you think there’s any likelihood of that in the next 12 months?  NoFrom where? To be in the attraction business of a large headquarters is probably a two- to five-year propositionTo dislodge a headquarters from their headquarters is not an easy job… I know this is everybody’s dream, they’ve all talked to me about itBut you cannot dislodge one of our own headquarters in the region to come downtownAll you do is trade off — it goes from A to BI mean, it doesn’t make any sense.  Read 652 times Tweet (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#appId=177111755694317&xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); (function() { window.___gcfg = {lang: 'en'}; // Define button default language here var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); Published in Crystal Ball Tagged under Birgit Klohs The Right Place Inc Joe Boomgaard Managing Editor jboomgaard@mibiz.com Latest from Joe Boomgaard 2018 Crystal Ball: Momentum 2018 Outlook: Jeff Lobdell, Restaurant Partners Inc. 2018 Outlook: Jim Monterusso, HME Inc. Backed by years of strong profitability, auto suppliers poised to weather any blip, analyst says Medbio invests in growth as biotech sector takes off Related items Economists, economic developers mull over next steps in tight labor market Manufacturers work to address ‘image problem’ at root of talent crunch Comeback continues: Michigan growth extends through 2018 even as talent concerns intensify MiBiz Growth Report: December 11, 2017 MiBiz Growth Report: Nov13, 2017 More in this category: « Economists, economic developers mull over next steps in tight labor market MEDC to focus on talent initiatives to help employers » back to top Breaking News #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock ul { padding-left: 0; list-style:none; padding-bottom: 8px; } #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .moduleItemTitle { width:auto; color: #fff !important; padding: 15px 0 15px 0 !important; font-weight: bold !important; line-height: 1.2em !important; letter-spacing: .3px !important; text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; font-family: tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif !important; margin: 2px 0px; } #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .even, #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .odd{ background-color:transparent !important; border-bottom: 1px solid #fff; } #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .moduleCustomLink {color:#fff;} #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .moduleCustomLink:hover {color:#000;} #rt-sidebar-a .kTOOSItemsBlock .moduleCustomLink:before { color:#000; content:"For more news stories, " } Cintas plans $17 million expansion in Lansing area Holland automotive tech supplier gets boost from Silicon Valley investment Fifth Third Bancorp plans to give raise and bonus to minimum-wage employees Gerbel & Comerges with Hungerford Nichols Kentwood baby products firm sells for $6.5 million CLICK HERE « < December 2017 > » S M T W T F S 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 xyz=1;linkprevious = 'https://mibiz.com/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=modcal.ajax&day=1&month=11&year=2017&modid=96&tmpl=component'; linknext = 'https://mibiz.com/index.php?option=$com_jevents&task=modcal.ajax&day=1&month=1&year=2018&modid=96&tmpl=component'; zyx=1; Follow MiBiz Sponsored Content: Build VsBuy: Exploring the most efficient managed firewall solutions 2018 Outlook: Dan Vos, Dan Vos Construction CoInc. Cherry Health to explore partnerships to provide virtual patient visits Independent Bank CEO optimistic for economy amid lingering talent concerns Herman Miller CEO ‘generally optimistic’ about 2018, despite ‘geopolitical noise’ AIA economist projects architecture industry in for ‘more of the same’ in 2018 2018 Outlook: Tom Welch, Fifth Third Bank Michigan agriculture sector watches NAFTA discussions closely 2018 Outlook: Jason Lummen, The Peoples Cider CoLLC Employers re-evaluate shifting benefits costs to employees given talent crunch 2018 Outlook: Sam Cummings, CWD Real Estate Investment Inc. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

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