Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance
The partnership of the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is based on the premise that many legislative issues impact Northern Michigan's Upper and Northern Lower region in similar ways. These issues should be addressed regionally to maximize the political influence of this 14-county chamber alliance and its more than 6,500 members. The alliance of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, Benzie County Chamber of Commerce, Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce, Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce, Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce, The Lake Superior Community Partnership, Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce have identified legislative areas that should be monitored and advocated to elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels.
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is committed to:
• Making it easier for businesses in northern Michigan to be competitive.
• Helping strong business sectors remain strong and continue job creation in our region.
• Ensuring our workforce is educated and prepared for the future needs of northern Michigan businesses.
• Promoting investment in our public transportation and business infrastructure, including energy development, road systems, harbors, airports and broadband connectivity.
2016 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES:
WORKFORCE, HOUSING & EDUCATION
Engage on issues that contribute positively to northern Michigan’s ability to attract, retain, train, house and educate workforce. Workforce, housing and education are the primary barriers to growth in northern Michigan. While many of the issues may take years to resolve, the Alliance will primarily engage where it most benefits northern Michigan, including funding for workforce training, funding for K-12 and early childhood education, and policies that offer incentives for the development of a variety of housing options across the region.
Continue efforts to obtain investment and reforms for air, rail, road and waterway transit. Even in light of the state legislature’s recent agreement to fund roads and bridges, the Alliance believes it must remain vigilant and active on transportation infrastructure issues. Priorities for 2016 include ensuring northern Michigan receives a proportionate share of appropriations for road and bridge infrastructure and pushing for funding for maintaining airports and harbor/waterway dredging.
Continue efforts to ensure health care is accessible and affordable for job providers and employees in northern Michigan. This includes addressing stable funding for rural hospitals, nursing and physician shortages, and taxes or rules that serve as a disincentive to providing health care.
Continue to push for energy policy reforms that benefit northern Michigan’s long-term competitive business climate. Access to energy is one of the top components to stable, long-term economic growth, and doing business in northern Michigan can offer its share of energy challenges. The Alliance will continue to push for a comprehensive state energy policy in addition to policies that help make energy more reliable and affordable in northern Michigan.
Continue to provide support for industries impacted by tourism. Recognizing tourism as a key industry across the region, the Alliance will work with tourism partners to support issues that bolster tourism opportunities in northern Michigan, including support for the Pure Michigan campaign, support for post labor day school starts and supporting the expansion of the H2B guest service worker visa program.
BUSINESS GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
Engage on issues that support sustained business growth and development in northern Michigan. The Alliance will engage in a broad range of issues that support business growth and development in the region, including educating members on 2016 ballot proposals, engaging in TIF/DDA/Brownfield reforms and continuing to encourage the streamlining of antiquated rules and regulations on business.