It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since I chaired the Mackinac Policy Conference. And what a busy, exciting year it has been. Being chair of the Chamber's Board of Directors (a position every Mackinac chair assumes after the conference) for the past 10 months has afforded me the chance to follow through on many of the initiatives addressed during the 2007 Mackinac Policy Conference. A lot of progress has been made on the substantive issues we debated and analyzed on the island last year.
Every spring when the Chamber meets with the news media to brief them on the upcoming Mackinac Policy Conference's agenda, we invariably get the question, "What did you accomplish from the conference a year ago?" It's a fair question and the fact that it always gets asked means we have to do a better job communicating the successes from Mackinac. My editorial in this edition of the Detroiter will attempt to help achieve this goal.
I'm proud to report that we have scored many wins for the Detroit Region's businesses based on what was discussed on Mackinac. By far, the biggest win was staying unified and focused as a business community to repeal the service tax on businesses that Lansing implemented as part of the state's 2007-2008 budget deal. During the conference last year, the budget negotiations were front and center. As the voice for business we clearly expressed our concerns that having a sales tax applied to business services would make it more difficult to create jobs and grow businesses.
Based on the ground work of opposition we laid during the Mackinac Policy Conference, it was easier to tell our story to elected leaders. Ultimately, due to the concerns we articulated as business leaders, the service tax was eliminated.
Another critically important issue confronting the business community in 2007 was the debate than raging in Congress regarding fuel economy standards known as CAFE. It was a central topic of discussions the business community had with federal legislators on the island. The business community explained that...