Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Hire Michigan First" Means Keeping Michigan Last

Yesterday, the House pushed through a twelve-bill package that will put another huge burden on businesses in this state. Under the guise of stopping the hiring of illegal aliens, we have enlarged the power of Big Brother government and given job providers one more reason not to come to Michigan. House Bills 5780-5791 would ostensibly disqualify employers from receiving state or local assistance or tax breaks or doing business with the state if they hire illegal aliens, fail to hire only Michigan residents whenever possible or fail to comply with state prevailing wage laws when applicable. In fact, these bills:
--Would require Michigan employers who are receiving state assistance or tax breaks to become the "immigration police" with respect to their employees.
--Would encourage even more employers to leave the state, since they would be forced to meet often unreasonable Michigan-only employment standards and comply with federal employment verification standards not required in other states.
--Could end up wasting taxpayer money if firms are forced to concentrate on who hires the most Michigan residents, instead of who is most-qualified and equipped to handle a state contract.
--Could present significant difficulty for Michigan employers that are near our borders with Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Canada, who likely rely on some workers from across state lines.
--Could jeopardize federal funds. (Chamber representatives say labor law attorneys told them a state can only make a preference for hiring state citizens if all of the money for a project comes from the state.)
--Could have a negative impact on the MEDC's efforts to attract out-of-state or out-of-country businesses through the use of MEGAs and Brownfield credits.

Meanwhile, the state has demonstrated an inability to hire qualified Michigan firms for certain state contracted projects, such as the recent example of the DMB paying an Ohio company to pulverize documents instead of shredding them. While the state cannot comply with the onerous regulations, we are forcing the private sector to do so.

This package of bills will, once again, turn businesses away from this state. We are going to become an economic wasteland...but maybe that is what the extreme left in Michigan really wants.

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