All in for Michigan, Business Leaders Working Turnaround Plan

From left: John Russell, Doug Rothwell and Mindy Bradish-Orta, President of Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.
From left: John Russell, Doug Rothwell and Mindy Bradish-Orta, President of Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

When it comes to growing jobs, increasing personal income and developing a healthy economy, Michigan is headed in the right direction. But this is not the time to take our foot off the gas pedal.

That was the message delivered today by Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. Rothwell shared the Michigan Turnaround Plan with about 70 business leaders at a Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Economic Club Luncheon.

Formed in 2009, Business Leaders for Michigan developed a plan to make Michigan a top 10 state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The non-profit group is composed of senior executives from Michigan’s largest companies and universities. VIDEO: 2014 Michigan Turnaround Plan

John Russell, President and CEO of CMS Energy, introduced Rothwell. A board member for Business Leaders for Michigan, Russell emphasized the importance of a strong Michigan to a company that has been serving the state for more than 125 years.

“We’re here to create jobs in Michigan today,” said Russell. “CMS and Consumers Energy is committed to this effort because we have employees working in Jackson and across the state. We’re committed to leaving it better than we found it and one of our principles is to make it better every single day.

“It’s amazing how many people care about the future of Michigan. We have strong community leaders. We have strong business leaders.”

Michigan has improved its ranking in business tax climate and all taxes, but remains 40th among all states when it comes to the total cost of doing business.

The turnaround plan features a new playbook that focuses on three key areas:

  • Compete to create an economic environment and fiscal stability that is better than other states
  • Invest in infrastructure and higher education
  • Grow a new Michigan with innovation and by leveraging assets, including rebuilding Detroit

Rothwell encourages Michigan leaders and residents to support:

  • Eliminating the personal property tax for businesses
  • Funding roads and universities
  • Promoting a high school-plus attitude that includes university, community college or technical training
  • Creating more internships and co-ops to stimulate onsite learning

“We’re not top 10, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Rothwell said. “Just doing better isn’t good enough. Other states also have improvement plans. Complacency is Michigan’s worst enemy right now.”

Learn more at or follow Business Leaders for Michigan on Twitter and Facebook.