Business Bridge

In partnership with Crain’s Detroit Business, Business Bridge covers the intersection of business, politics and policy across Michigan.


AK Steel tax credits are $60M question for state, drawing backlash

April 16, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

A favorable outcome for AK Steel could set a tax precedent for other companies that wind up in a similar scenario through a merger or acquisition.

Bills would legalize Internet gambling in Michigan, but only through casinos

April 10, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Backers of the legislation point to estimates showing the state could earn up to $60 million in revenue from the law. Fiscal analysts are less bullish.

Year-round Daylight Saving Time? Michigan beware

March 27, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan is among more than a dozen states considering bills to halt the biannual time switch. Business leaders in Indiana say it was a disaster for that state.

Do business lures really work?

March 19, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

As the Legislature again takes up incentives to bring businesses to Michigan, there is precious little data publicly available on how Michigan’s performance stacks up

Business chief: Five ways to boost Michigan’s economic growth

February 27, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

To get Michigan counted among the nation’s 10 healthiest state economies, Doug Rothwell said, Lansing must focus on long-term growth, including infrastructure and economic development.

Strapped cities taking aim at Proposal A

February 27, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Some state leaders are floating a revision to the 1994 Michigan constitutional amendment capping property taxes. The outcome could impact Michigan’s national competitiveness, and the long-term health of its struggling cities.

Snyder budget aims to put more tools in skilled-trades classrooms

February 13, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

The $20 million competition Gov. Rick Snyder proposed in his 2018 budget recommendation is modeled after a similar program in 2015 for community colleges that his administration said led to 91 new or expanded career-tech programs at 18 schools.

It’s not all about Detroit, say backers of brownfield bill

February 6, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Billionaire developer Dan Gilbert of Detroit will stay in the background this week as supporters of bills to create a tax incentive for “transformational” brownfield projects will put the spotlight on the rest of the state. They plan to focus less on Detroit projects, in part to sell outstate legislators and their constituents on the opportunity the incentive would create in their own backyards.

Senate considers employer incentive to hire ex-prisoners

January 30, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

The intent is not to force employers to participate in a program they can’t sustain, but to reward employers who aim to offer long-term work to parolees.

Ban-the-box policy to hire ex-inmates is gaining backers

January 23, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Employers who have taken the criminal-history checkbox off job applications say they still check backgrounds, but leave the discussion about an applicant’s record until later in the process. Will others follow?

State expands review of false fraud charges against workers

January 12, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

Review includes additional 30,000 computer-generated claims.

Snyder: I’m warming up to business incentives

January 12, 2017 | Lindsay VanHulle

In a Q-and-A with Bridge, Michigan governor said he is growing more comfortable with business incentive legislation that likely will be reintroduced this session. 

Business incentives backers say they plan to keep trying

December 19, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Stymied in lame-duck session, developers and economic development leaders across Michigan say they will lobby Lansing next year for nearly $300 million in new business tax incentives.

$4 billion question: How to pay for infrastructure fixes?

December 11, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

In a state where new taxes are often a non-starter, the idea of raising more money for roads, bridges and drinking water lines has been a hard sell. Yet Michigan may have no choice.

Pension, healthcare rollbacks for public workers die in lame duck

December 6, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Efforts in Lansing to lower unfunded liabilities by converting pensions into 401(k)-like accounts for teachers and capping public employees’ retirement healthcare benefits will likely be renewed in January.

Report: Michigan must spend billions more a year to modernize infrastructure

December 5, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

A governor-appointed commission says state must spend $4 billion more annually to update roads, bridges, energy and water systems. Michigan spends a smaller portion on infrastructure than the U.S. average.

Unions vow to fight Lansing on public pensions, health care

December 5, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Supporters of the bills, including GOP legislators and some municipalities, say generous benefits were promised decades ago in different economic times and are now unsustainable. Teachers and city workers say they’ve sacrificed enough.

Business groups split on state Senate energy bills

November 27, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Some large industrial companies and school districts saying the current legislation would force less expensive alternative electric suppliers out of business.

How Trump impacts Michigan autos, healthcare and energy policy

November 14, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

President-elect Donald Trump has promised sweeping changes in trade policy, environmental regulations and Obamacare on the campaign trail. Here’s how these issues critical to Michigan are likely to play out, according to business and political leaders.

Community buy-in in West Michigan is improving water life

November 14, 2016 | Amy Lane

Business, nonprofit and city officials working toward a common goal are bringing the rapids back to Grand Rapids, and cleaning up a beloved lake near Holland