LANSING — House and Senate Democrats have formally introduced their “Michigan Jobs First” legislation. The four-bill package gives Michigan companies a leg up when bidding on government contracts so that state tax dollars will stay in Michigan, going to companies that will create jobs in local communities.

“Many other states give preference to in-state companies in the bidding process — it’s time for Michigan to join that list,” said state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason), a bill sponsor. “There’s no reason we should be sending our tax dollars to other states or even overseas when we can help local businesses grow and thrive.”

The first bill in the package — Senate Bill 515, sponsored by state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) — gives Michigan companies an 8 percent financial advantage when competing for state contracts. Two other bills — House Bills 4941 and 4942, sponsored by state Rep. Pam Faris (D-Clio) and Cochran, respectively — give in-state businesses 30 days to resubmit their bids if they lose to an out-of-state company on state or local government contracts.

“We need to be good stewards of tax money, but we also need to remember that the lowest bid isn’t always the best one,” Faris said. “Investing in Michigan companies will do more to grow our economy and help those businesses create good-paying jobs right here at home.”

The final bill, HB 4477, requires state agencies to post online the names of companies that receive contracts as well as the salary and number of jobs created or maintained by the contract. This will ensure that businesses receiving contracts based on promised job creation hold up their end of the bargain.

“Too often, we’ve seen companies get state contracts or tax incentives based on the promise of creating jobs, only to see them fall well short of those claims,” said state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), the final bill sponsor. “My bill will hold contractors accountable to their promises and ensure Michigan taxpayers are getting the most out of their tax dollars.”