A guide to Michigan’s leading business groups (slideshow)

business people

What does big business want in Michigan? Who are the major players? Here’s a quickie primer on the state’s leading industry groups and their publicly stated wish lists. Click or swipe through the slides to get the stats.

detroit chamber

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Michigan chamber

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grand rapids chamber

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michigan realtors

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business leaders for michigan

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farm bureau

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MMA

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MADA

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beer and wine assoc

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SBAM

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DETROIT REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Purpose: Power the economy of southeast Michigan through public policy, advocacy, economic and workforce development, talent attraction, and improving the image and quality of life in the Detroit area’s cities and suburbs.

Membership: 2,518, including core members, sub-accounts for businesses with multiple branches or locations, and associate members

Annual Revenue: $14.4 million (2014)

Staff: 96 (CEO is Sandy Baruah)    

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Invest in Infrastructure: Supports fee-based increases for transportation infrastructure.

  • Make college affordable for all students.

  • Healthy local governments and school districts, including public benefits reform that “balances fiscal responsibility with the desire to attract top talent,” and “appropriate public policies to ensure revenues are sufficient to meet the needs of unique communities.”

  • Education: “Develop an education system worthy of Michigan’s citizens,” including support for Michigan Merit Curriculum and Common Core, and thoughtful accountability including measuring and comparing the growth in Michigan’s classrooms to peer states.

  • Criminal Justice Reform, including “presumptive parole” polices to ensure that those sentenced to prison are no longer serving “exorbitantly long terms.”

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization website.

Annual revenues include main organization and the organization’s foundation, which also funds some operations. Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/380/477/2015-380477570-0cba3495-9O.pdf

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/382/352/2015-382352462-0cba2f62-9.pdf


MICHIGAN FARM BUREAU

Purpose: To represent, protect, and enhance the business, economic, social, and educational interests of Farm Bureau members.

Membership: Nearly 200,000, including 46,500 Michigan farmers.

Annual Revenue: $11.9 million (2014)   

Staff: 137 (President is Carl Bednarski)                                                                                        

Key Legislative Priorities: Current key issues include opposition to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s recent designation of the western Lake Erie basin as “impaired due to excessive phosphorous levels, water availability in southwest Michigan, various federal regulatory issues, and development of the 2018 federal farm bill.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Annual revenues include main organization and the organization’s foundation, which also funds some operations. Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2014/381/718/2014-381718391-0c33707b-9O.pdf

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/270/200/2015-270200380-0d043b5a-9.pdf


MICHIGAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Purpose: Promote conditions favorable to job creation and business success in Michigan.

Membership:  6,600 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce across Michigan.

Annual Revenue: $5 million (2015)

Staff: 52 (CEO is Richard Studley)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Education: Support parental choice and charter schools. K-12 schools accountability. High academic standards.

  • Employer Rights: Support Right to Work. Oppose regulation “overreach.” Reduce unemployment insurance/workers comp claims fraud.

  • Environment: Streamline regulations. Limit environmental regulators’ authority.

  • Taxes: Expand personal property tax relief. Oppose any efforts toward a graduated income tax, sales tax on services, or new excise taxes.

  • Infrastructure: Support development and funding of a long-term strategy to modernize and maintain Michigan’s critical economic development infrastructure

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Annual revenues include main organization and the organization’s foundation, which also funds some operations. Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2016/381/626/2016-381626029-0d67d137-9O.pdf

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2016/382/647/2016-382647323-0d599e12-Z.pdf


MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

Purpose: Enhance realtors’ ability to succeed professionally.

Membership: 28,000

Annual Revenue: $5.1 million (2014)

Staff: 27 (CEO is Rob Campeau) ;

Key Legislative Priorities: The organization has not publicly published a 2017 legislative agenda but recently updated members on two policy initiatives:

  • Transformational Brownfield Legislation (Senate bills 111-115) to support large-scale economic development projects.

  • Placemaking projects and initiatives.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/380/829/2015-380829980-0d656ed8-9O.pdf


BUSINESS LEADERS FOR MICHIGAN

Purpose: To develop strategy, raise awareness, and champion initiatives to grow the state’s economy.

Membership: 100 CEOs and senior executives of Michigan companies and research universities.

Annual Revenue: $4.2 million (2015)

Staff: 11 (CEO is Doug Rothwell)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Stronger economic development tools, most notably the “Good Jobs for Michigan” legislation (Senate bills 242-244) to offer new incentives for economic development projects that add more than 250 new jobs to the state economy.

  • Fiscal stability. Reducing state and local government debt and liabilities, requiring cost estimates for proposed legislation, and increased transparency of government’s unfunded pension and health care liabilities.

  • Improving the state’s talent pipeline. More state investment in universities to make college more affordable. Job training programs. Improved K-12 school performance.

  • Infrastructure investment, including additional user-based fees and revenues to close a multi-billion-dollar annual gap between what Michigan currently spends and what it needs to spend to properly maintain roads, water/sewer systems and other infrastructure.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Annual revenues include main organization and the organization’s foundation, which also funds some operations. Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/381/941/2015-381941576-0d411023-9O.pdf

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/237/101/2015-237101167-0d422547-9.pdf


GRAND RAPIDS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Purpose: Create opportunities for west Michigan and members to connect, grow and succeed… through advocacy, diversity and community programming that promotes inclusion, prosperity and growth.

Membership: 2,500

Annual Revenue: $3.7 million (2014)

Staff: 32 (CEO is Rick Baker)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Education: Early childhood investment. STEM. Statewide career/college readiness standards. Accountability through rigorous assessment and school ratings. College tuition control.

  • Infrastructure: Support “appropriate funding” to maintain transportation infrastructure.

  • Government fiscal management: Government efficiency and management of unfunded liabilities.

  • Employer Issues: Oppose government wage controls. Oppose increases in unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits. Support Right to Work.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Annual revenues include main organization and the organization’s foundation, which also funds some operations. Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2014/380/592/2014-380592500-0c2c119c-9O.pdf

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2014/237/221/2014-237221790-0c4b47c9-9.pdf


MICHIGAN MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION

Purpose: To investigate, study, and promote manufacturing in Michigan.

Membership: 2,500

Annual Revenue: $2.2 million (2014)

Staff: 22 (President is Chuck Hadden)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Economic Development: “Michigan must have economic development programs for manufacturers that are competitive with other states and nations.”

  • Employer Issues: Constrain unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation costs.

  • Regulatory Reform: State regulatory standards should not exceed federal law. Remove barriers to environmental cleanups. Oppose tax increases on for waste disposal.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/380/828/2015-380828707-0d410d51-9O.pdf


MICHIGAN BEER & WINE WHOLESALERS

Purpose: To promote and protect the general welfare of Michigan wholesale beer and wine distributors.

Membership: 70

Annual Revenue: $1.75 million (2014)

Staff: 5 (President is Spencer Nevins)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Maintaining Michigan’s “three-tier” alcohol distribution system – manufacturers, distributors, retailers.

  • Maintaining franchise laws to ensure independence between manufacturers and distributors.

  • “Enough is Enough!”: Limit additional distribution through new alcohol outlets, retail licenses and other sales to consumers.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/380/832/2015-380832060-0cc2510e-9O.pdf


MICHIGAN AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION

Purpose: To promote and safeguard the interests of wholesale and retail dealers in the Michigan auto industry.

Membership: 600

Annual Revenue: $1.3 million (2014)

Staff: 15 (Terry Burns is executive vice president)

Key Legislative Priorities:

  • Shortening the point of sale tax relief for consumers (often referred to as Sales Tax on the Difference).  

  • Monitoring auto insurance reform and any franchise activities

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/380/822/2015-380822820-0d00c572-9O.pdf


SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

Purpose: To help Michigan small businesses succeed.

Membership: 25,000

Annual Revenue: $1.25 million (2014)

Staff: 24 (CEO is Rob Fowler)

Key Legislative Priorities: Hasn’t publicly published a 2017 legislative agenda. Longstanding policy principles include:

  • State Budget: Cut and reform existing government programs before pursuing any tax increases.

  • Education: Support school choice, accountability, and matching education to job needs.

  • Economic Development: “Gardening” by creating a generally good environment for small business growth rather than “Hunting” for big projects with incentives.

  • Infrastructure: Supports “adequate funding levels’ for maintenance of Michigan’s transportation infrastructure with “strict measures for spending accountability” in place.

SOURCES:

Membership and policy details obtained from organization web site.

Revenues and staffing levels obtained from most recent Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/381/898/2015-381898699-0c50346c-9O.pdf

 

 

 

About The Author

Bridge Staff

Bridge’s mission is to inform Michigan citizens about their state, amplify their views and explore the challenges of our civic life.

Crain's Staff

A guest author for Bridge Magazine.

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