NFIB Michigan Reaction to Governor Snyder’s State of the State Address

Lansing (January 16, 2013) – Michigan’s leading advocate for small business today reacted to Governor Snyder’s third State of the State address given this evening at the State Capitol. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) this evening said Governor Rick Snyder’s agenda for 2013 will secure Michigan’s place among the top states in the country for economic competitiveness.

“Our rapid turnaround and move up in the ranking of states has been astounding and that’s largely because of the Governor’s leadership,” said NFIB Michigan State Director Charlie Owens.  “The plan that he outlined this evening solidifies our position and builds on those accomplishments.”

Owens noted that the Governor’s emphasis on continuing in the same direction is consistent with NFIB’s 2013 Small Business Agenda released earlier this week.

“It is noteworthy that the focus of our agenda has changed from the past theme of ‘getting Michigan back on track’ to a new ‘stay the course and move Michigan forward!’ approach,” said Owens, “This change reflects the significant progress our state has made away from the failed policies of the past in favor of a new path to prosperity and opportunity.”

One area of difference between NFIB and the Governor’s State of the State priorities is the issue of road funding. The Governor is proposing increases in motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees to fund road construction and improvements. Owens said that while small business recognizes the need for good roads and adequate funding, it is still a difficult time for tax and fee increases.

“NFIB surveyed its members on road funding issues in 2012 and they are not supportive of a motor fuels tax increase or a hike in vehicle registration fees,” said Owens. “However, there is some support on a local funding option as mentioned by the Governor, so we agree with the Governor that infrastructure is critical, but we’d like to work with him on alternative funding solutions.”

Also among Snyder’s top priorities is reforming the no-fault auto insurance system.

“We are interested in working with the Governor to address high auto insurance rates,” said Owens. “Auto insurance is a business cost and improvements that lower costs are helpful to small business and could offset any increases in motor fuels taxes or registration fees.”

“All in all, small business is very happy with Governor Snyder’s direction for Michigan,” said Owens.

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About Charles Owens

Charles Owens has been advocating the interests of small business in the Michigan Legislature for over 25 years, beginning with his tenure at the Michigan Institute of Laundering and Dry-cleaning and currently with the National Federation of Independent Business / Michigan. As the State Director of one of Michigan's most respected small business organizations, Owens is responsible for directing the NFIB in its mission to maintain the viability of small business in the face of expanded legislative and regulatory challenges. Owens has been an active participant in the legislative debate over numerous landmark Michigan issues including: the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, inheritance tax, tort liability reform, Unemployment Insurance reform, Workers’ Compensation, and Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Act (MIOSHA) issues. Owens and the NFIB spearheaded the efforts of other small business groups in the fight for fairness and equity for small business in the debate over the repeal and replacement for the Michigan Business Tax. Owens is a 25 year member of the Capitol Club, a dedicated group of association executives committed to the advancement of legislative advocacy for their respective organizations. In 2005 he was elected by his peers to be President of the organization. In 2006, Owens was ranked as number five of the top ten single interest individual lobbyists in Michigan by Inside Michigan Politics. Under his leadership, NFIB was also ranked in the top twenty lobbyist organizations and top ten single interest lobbying organizations by the same publication. Originally a native of Rockford, Illinois, Owens graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors Degree in Finance and Business Administration. follow on twitter: @OwensNFIB
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