LANSING — Today, House and Senate Democrats announced their “Michigan Jobs First” plan aimed at keeping jobs and tax dollars in Michigan. Unlike other states, the state of Michigan does not give any meaningful financial preference to Michigan businesses and workers in contracts, even though these homegrown businesses contribute far more to our economy than out-of-state firms. Only 78 percent of state dollars were spent on contracts to Michigan firms, according to a 2013 review of Department of Technology, Management and Budget data.

The Travel Michigan website, for instance, is designed by an out-of-state company. While that bidder may have been the lowest, Michigan missed out on creating and maintaining jobs right here at home by going with an out-of-state company. Unlike other states like Ohio, Michigan does not give financial preference to in-state businesses for state contracts. Under legislation that will be introduced, any Michigan employers and small businesses submitting a bid for a state contract would have an 8 percent preference so that Michigan companies will have an edge in the contracting process. After all, Michigan employers create jobs and pay taxes in the state and that contribution should be recognized in contracting, Democrats said.

“Michigan tax dollars should be used to support Michigan jobs — plain and simple. These common sense measures will help our small businesses and workers compete,” said state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing).

In a move to ensure more accountability in use of taxpayer dollars, Democrats have introduced legislation, House Bill 4477, requiring state departments to share the number and wages of jobs created under state contracts. This transparency measure will allow the public to search the information and see if contractors are living up to their end of the bargain.

“People deserve to know what companies the state of Michigan is doing business with and how many good-paying jobs those companies have created. More transparency means more accountability. This measure will help ensure that the jobs promised were actually created. The people of Michigan have a right to know. After all, it’s their tax dollars at work,” said state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.), the sponsor of the bill.

Legislation also will be introduced giving Michigan companies 30 days to resubmit their bids for a state contract if they initially lose out to out-of-state firms. Another bill to be introduced will have a similar process for local and municipal contracts. The “Michigan Jobs First” plan would give Michigan companies and Michigan workers an advantage over out-of-state contractors by providing a second opportunity to compete for state contracts.

“We should be doing everything we can to support Michigan businesses that employ our friends and neighbors and keep our economy running and not let taxpayer money be used to create jobs in other states,” said state Rep. Pam Faris (D-Clio). “I’m proud to sponsor legislation giving Michigan companies a second shot to match the bids of their out-of-state competitors. We have the finest workforce in the entire world and the State of Michigan should benefit from that.”

The “Michigan Jobs First” four-bill package would:

  • Create a new preference for “Michigan companies” bidding on state contracts. If consistent with federal law, Michigan employers would have an 8 percent financial preference bidding on state department or agency contracts.
  • Allow Michigan bidders a chance to resubmit their bids when they initially lose out to non-Michigan bidders on state contracts for good and services.
  • Allow Michigan bidders 30 days to resubmit their bids when they lost to a non-Michigan bidder on local/municipal contracts.
  • Require state departments to post online the number of full-time and part-time jobs created, and the wage rates of those jobs, by any company awarded a state contract.