What entrepreneurs need: steps to strengthen the cornerstone of Michigan's economy.

Author:Blouse, Dick

Entrepreneurs occupy a central position in our economy. A successful and thriving economy is more often than not the result of encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial instinct with the right economic and legal structure.

Earlier this year The Kauffman Foundation conducted a poll on entrepreneurship and economic recovery that gives us important insight on America's views on the best ways to stimulate growth. Several key themes emerged from the findings: mainly that entrepreneurship is gaining recognition as more important than the stimulus package in creating long-term economic stability, and also that Americans also see entrepreneurs as more important in creating jobs than big business, scientists and the government.

There are a lot of initiatives in place around the region to help entrepreneurs succeed, and you'll read about them throughout the feature section of this issue. But there are several key things that must happen in Michigan, in order for entrepreneurs to thrive here.

A climate conducive to small businesses needs the right tax structure. Other states have already caught onto this and have made it very easy for businesses to succeed. Michigan is not always seen as the most business-friendly state, and we need to change that.

CNBC's 2009 rankings for "America's Top States for Business" puts Michigan in 41st place based on an analysis of publicly available data that covers cost of business, workforce, quality of life, economy, transportation, technology and innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living.

There are certainly changes that need to be made to the MBT tax structure--if we can get rid of the surcharge, that would make Michigan's tax policy a little more business friendly. The best tax structure would be one with a low rate and broad base that exports most of the tax burden to out of state businesses.

Incentives can play a...

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