LANSING — House Democrats unveiled their latest proposal to create good jobs with strong benefits and foster neighborhood business growth today in a press call outlining the Neighborhood Businesses, Neighborhood Growth package. Neighborhood businesses created more than 34,000 jobs in Michigan in 2014, with total small business employment accounting for nearly 50.2 percent of the workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration[i]. The Democratic proposal will support entrepreneurs, innovators, small business owners and their employees, building opportunity for all.

“When community businesses grow, local wages and our local economies grow with them,” said state Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township), sponsor of House Bill 6238. “Yet, as a small business owner myself, I know how hard it can be to take that leap and start your own venture. That’s why it’s critical our state is focused on supporting these local innovators. Our plan makes sure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to jumpstart that growth.”

The package supports entrepreneurship, innovation and provides resources to small businesses in Michigan by:

  • House Bill 6238 (Lasinski) would create a small business and entrepreneurship services office in order to facilitate the creation and retention of small business jobs in the state.
  • A House Resolution (Rep. Gay-Dagnogo) to urge the governor and the office of Talent and Economic Development to increase support and their focus on small businesses, including providing grants for entrepreneurs, help for startup companies, and minority business development.
  • House Bill 6237 (Chirkun) would create a small business preference in state procurement that requires a percentage of certain contracts be set aside for businesses that meet the definition of small business.
  • House Bill 5708 (Dianda) and House Bill 5709 (Wittenberg) would allow and allocate funding for small business owners to buy into a secure retirement savings plan at the state level.

“Neighborhood businesses create a sense of neighborhood identity,” said state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit). “Not only through the revenue they generate but through the opportunities they provide to their neighbors to gather, celebrate, and invest in each other. For too long these entrepreneurs and community leaders have been ignored by legislators in Lansing more focused on handouts to wealthy, foreign corporations than making sure everyday business owners have the resources they need to thrive. This package rights that wrong, and makes sure these local heroes know they’re our real priority.”