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Issue No. 3
Oct 2016
The Business Advocate
Over the summer, the Saginaw 
County Chamber of Commerce was preparing for the Michigan Legislative Fall Session, drafting our legislative priorities and conducting candidate interviews for various state and county offices that are up for election on the November 8, 2016 ballot. 

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is working on several community projects.  In this edition of the Business Advocate we'll provide you with an overview of what we're working on to help create a healthy, thriving Saginaw County Community.


Senior Director of Government Relations
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Autonomous Vehicle Legislation

A package of senate bills, sponsored by Senators Mike Kowall, Rebekah Warren and Ken Horn would create a competitive advantage for Michigan to be at the forefront of the next major transition in the automotive industry and could serve as a national model for other states to emulate. It provides the proper regulatory approach and tools to introduce autonomous vehicles and technologies in a safe and publicly accepted manner - and allows Michigan, the birthplace of the automotive industry, to redefine the future of transportation.

Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region can be one of the major benefactors of this legislation with the presence of Nexteer Automotive, The Dow Chemical Company/Dow Corning Corporation and other automotive technology companies, as this quickly emerging technology moves forward.

As the transportation industry evolves, Michigan must stay ahead of the curve (and competition) from across the globe. This legislation places Michigan well-positioned to grow the advancing automotive industry and remain a global leader in research and development.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce supported the legislation and participated in the public hearing of the Senate Economic Development and International Development Committee at Nexteer Automotive on August 31. The legislation passed unanimously out of committee and out of the Michigan Senate. Hearings and passage of the legislation in the House of Representatives are expected to be on a fast track to the Governor's Office for signing.

Communicate, Connect and Influence
Chamber Candidate Endorsements

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce actively participates in the endorsement of candidates and issues of importance that will create a healthy economic environment for job creation and quality of life in Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

In accordance with the policies and procedures set by the Board of Directors, the Chamber is pleased to announce the 2016 endorsements for the State House Seats in the 85th, 94th and 95th Districts, Saginaw County Board of Commissioners, and Saginaw County Officers.

Endorsements include:

State Representative
85th District - Ben Frederick (R)
94th District - Tim Kelly (R)
95th District - Vanessa Guerra (D)

County Board of Commissioners
District #3 - Kirk Kilpatrick (R)
District #4 - Jim Graham (R)
District #5 - Jim Theisen (R)
District #6 - Kyle Harris (R)
District #8 - Dennis Krafft (R)
District #10 - Carl Ruth (D)
District #11 - Mark Johnston (R)

Four-Year Saginaw County Offices
County Clerk - Mike Hanley (D)
Public Works Director - Brian Wendling (D)
Register of Deeds - Katie Albosta Kelly (D)
Treasurer - Tim Novak (D)
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Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Legislation Transformational Brownfield Plan

Legislation to assist "Transformational Projects" (those big projects that can change the vitality of an urban area) has been introduced in the Michigan Senate. We are competing nationally to retain and attract young people to the next generation of jobs.

Currently, Michigan ranks 46th in the nation in the percentage of 25-34 year olds in our population, despite having one of the greatest university systems in the nation. We know that we continue to lose far too many of our best and brightest college graduates that we must keep in order to win the race for talent, investment and growth.

However, urban areas; where young people gravitate for jobs and housing, are the most difficult to redevelop. Especially in a city like Saginaw, which used foundry sand to construct building and housing. The entire city is a Brownfield. 

Federal EPA regulations on Brownfield clean-up is a major hindrance in redevelopment and is one of the biggest reasons developers run away from urban redevelopment projects.

This legislation will add a new category to the Brownfield TIF Act for large-scale, transformational projects. It allows for capture of part of the incremental sales tax and residential income tax generated from within the footprint of the project in order to make the development possible. If passed, the Transformational Legislation would apply to mixed-use projects (housing/retail/office in one complex) and there would be a strict minimum dollar investment threshold. In addition, the number of transformational projects allowed each year would be limited. 

With the current redevelopment occurring in Saginaw (new Delta College Downtown campus, new Farmer's Market, CMU Medical School, FirstMerit Bank Event Park and the Bancroft and Eddy Buildings), a transformational project could be the catalyst to a vibrant downtown and city and help mitigate the risk/cost a developer faces.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce fully supports the legislation as it moves from committee to the Senate Floor and on to the House of Representatives and is working with Saginaw Future to garner support for the legislation.

As you see, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront of all things legislative, policy and political. We strive to work for you, our members, to support legislation and candidates who will work to create an environment that will help your business grow and thrive!

As always, please feel free to contact Bob Van Deventer, President & CEO at 989-752-7161 or email him at