By AUDREY L. BARNEY
Capital News Service
LANSING–State legislators are urging business owners to get in on a discussion of Michigan’s economic future.
Rep. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, is sponsoring the Business Roundtable 2002 — a forum for Michigan business owners and residents to come together and brainstorm about legislation to improve or stimulate MichiganÕs economy.
“Instead of waiting and hoping for the economy to turn, we are tapping the best resource to help empower Michigan to move forward,” said Cassis, chairwoman of the House Tax Policy Committee.
The discussion is scheduled for April 19 at Walsh College in Novi. A panel of economic and business experts will engage the audience in a discussion of ways to improve the economy. Cassis hopes that many ideas will surface.
“This event will allow us to hear from people who are dealing with MichiganÕs economy every day,” Cassis said. “Business owners can give a realistic account of MichiganÕs economic strength and maybe some ideas to stir task forces for future legislation.”
Panel participants include state Treasurer Doug Roberts; Thomas Walton, director of economic policy at General Motors Corp.; Donald Grimes, senior research associate of labor and industrial relations at the University of Michigan; and Pete Eckstein of Ann Arbor, a retired research director for the AFL-CIO.
“IÕm concerned about the growing structural deficit in the stateÕs finances,” Eckstein said.
He contends that legislators have not really counted up the costs of cutting taxes.
“Everyone has gotten carried away with finding new ways to cut taxes, but havenÕt really considered the negative effect,” he said. “We have had the binge, but now itÕs time to pay the bill.”
Cassis hopes that EcksteinÕs and the other panelistsÕ opinions will raise issues and encourage participants to create solutions to improve the stateÕs economy.
“I look forward to an informative day,” said House Speaker Rick Johnson, R-LeRoy, who is sponsoring the event with Cassis.”Michigan businesses provide thousands of jobs for residents. Legislation that benefits our economy ultimately helps Michigan families.”
Registration is required to attend the event. Those interested can register online at www.gophouse.com/cassisrountable or by calling CassisÕs office at 1-888-38-NANCY.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism
By AUDREY L. BARNEY