Archive for the ‘Where We Stand’ Category

We all win by voting “YES” on Proposal 1!

Proposal 1 will make sure 100 percent of the estimated lost revenue will be reimbursed to communities when the Personal Property Tax (PPT) is eliminated.

Eliminating the PPT is expected to create up to 15,000 jobs and increase business investment by $450 million.

As you know, Proposal 1 would end the unfair and antiquated double tax (also known as the personal property tax) small businesses pay every year on the equipment they already own, while stabilizing funding for police, fire, jails, roads, schools, senior services and other important municipal services.

Business Leaders for Michigan recently produced a short, simple video explaining how Proposal 1 would benefit all of Michigan. Watch the new video here:

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce urges you to vote Yes on Proposal 1. Please share this information with your voting friends and acquaintances.


The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce was invited to join Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan State Police, Saginaw County and City Law Enforcement, Community Leaders and the Faith Community in a round table discussion to talk about continuing efforts to make Saginaw one of Michigan’s safest communities.

The invitation-only event allowed for candid discussion about the Secure City Initiatives that Governor Snyder implemented in the past two years, including Community Ventures, the Pathways to Potential, and increased presence in targeted areas by the Michigan State Police, as well as engaging the community with law enforcement and law enforcement with the community.
For its part, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce fully supports the resources and focus that Governor Snyder, through his Office of Urban Initiatives, has placed on Saginaw. The Community Ventures Program in Saginaw focuses on getting the chronically unemployed into jobs and is Michigan’s most successful implementor of the program, moving over 300 people into the workforce. The Community Ventures Offices were originally housed at the Chamber, and we continue to work closely with Saginaw Future Inc. and Community Ventures to connect companies with the Community Ventures Program.

One of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce’s great members, Consumers Energy, has spearheaded an initiative called Light Up The City. Consumers employees, along with volunteers and community leaders are going door to door and replacing burnt-out porch lights with new, energy-efficient bulbs that not only save energy, but provide the light that dissuades wrong-doers.

All in all, we’re pleased to have participated in this important community meeting and will continue to work with our members, the governor and community leaders to make Saginaw a safe place where business can thrive.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is proud to support Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities’ campaign to protect local community services and help small businesses create jobs – without increasing taxes for anyone.

This important proposal will be on the August 5 primary ballot across Michigan. We encourage you to learn more about this proposal and to vote YES in August.

This proposal would create 15,000 jobs in Michigan by eliminating the personal property tax on small businesses. Businesses must pay this tax every year on every piece of equipment they own, which is unique to Michigan and puts our state at an economic disadvantage when competing for new businesses and jobs. This proposal would immediately eliminate the personal property tax on small businesses and phase it out over nine years for larger businesses.

Many communities rely on revenue from the personal property tax to fund local services like police, fire, ambulances, jails, roads, schools, parks and libraries even though it is an unreliable revenue source. This referendum guarantees that 100 percent of the money a community loses from the elimination of the personal property tax will be replaced using the more stable State Use Tax.

This proposal is not a tax increase – for anyone. It is paid for by eliminating special corporate tax breaks that the legislature has voted to end, and by establishing a statewide Essential Services Assessment paid only by manufacturers receiving a personal property tax reduction.

We strongly encourage you to sign up for Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities’ email alerts at to receive updates from this important campaign to strengthen Michigan communities and help local small businesses create jobs.

State and local Chambers from around the state gathered in Lansing for meetings with legislators and staff and to advocate for policies that foster business and job growth

On Tuesday, May 6, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and 31 other local Chambers met in Lansing to discuss their combined goals and strategies in 2014. Participants were scheduled to attend a series of meetings with legislators and policymakers throughout the day to discuss issues favorable to job creation and business growth in Michigan.

The Saginaw Chamber of Commerce is leading the way for members in our community to be better informed about issues affecting their businesses,” said Chamber President Bob Van Deventer. “Our participation in Chamber of Commerce Day demonstrates we are engaging our members with lawmakers and opinion leaders to make a difference.”

Participants met early in the day with policymakers to discuss topics on transportation and infrastructure funding, minimum wage and personal property tax reform. In the afternoon, chamber leaders met with legislators and concluded the meeting with a forecast on the remainder of the legislative session.

The event marks the first Chamber of Commerce Day, but participants are already making plans for an annual event.

“We had an impressive turnout today with many important chambers of commerce from around the state,” said Bob Thomas, Executive Director, Michigan Chamber Foundation. “Legislators heard directly from local businesspeople in their district about policies affecting their companies. Having so many business leaders convene at once is a powerful opportunity to send a message.”


Saginaw County Chamber Logo 2012

On April 9, 2014, the Lansing Regional, Saginaw County, and Traverse City Area Chamber CEOs and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy hosted an energy-focused briefing call with Governor Snyder’s Office and 40 local chamber representatives and member companies from around the state. Following is a recap of the discussion and important information the chamber and members can use to pursue energy efficiency retrofits and clean energy generation.

Valerie Brader, Governor Snyder’s Senior Policy Advisor on Energy, updated the audience on key elements of the Governor’s energy goals. Brader has been very supportive of local chambers and had spoken in person at a gathering of local Michigan chambers in Lansing in January. As Michigan plans for the eventual retirement of some of its coal plants and how to replace this supply, it wants to be adaptable and ready for the future. Michigan uses 38% more energy per capita and pays six percent more than the national average for heat and power. The Governor’s office sees an opportunity in diversifying sources of energy and significantly increasing energy efficiency. Diversifying the portfolio of energy sources also has the potential to increase Michigan’s business competitiveness. There are opportunities to reduce mercury and particulate matter in the air, increase the desirability of Michigan as a place to do business, and improve public health.

Michigan’s industrial sector is energy intensive, in part due to older equipment and buildings. While businesses have a financial incentive to upgrade or do energy retrofits, they don’t always have the time and financing to do them. The Governor is interested in examples where chambers and their members overcame these barriers.

Doug Luciani, CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber, outlined a revolving loan fund created to fund building retrofits. Loans go up to $250k at low interest rates. The program has been very well received. The Saginaw County Chamber said it plans to involve its members in one of the state’s new energy working groups and the Lansing Regional Chamber discussed its continuing efforts to guide innovative energy policies in the state.

In terms of facilitating change through policy, right now there is a bill in the legislature (HB 5397) that would allow qualifying municipal electric utilities to offer innovative financing options to customers interested in making energy efficiency improvements. These financing mechanisms, such as on-bill financing or locally issued bonds, allow customers to spread the cost of efficiency and renewable energy projects out over a set amount of time, rather than bearing the full cost up-front. The final speaker was Erin Lane with Cascade Associates in Washington D.C. Erin gave an excellent overview of the high level of bi-partisan momentum in Congress around energy efficiency. Follow this link to a summary of legislative bills.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved $1.2 million in emergency dredging to re-open the Saginaw River to shipping. This year’s heavy spring rains sent sediment down the river and restricted shipping to and from businesses in Saginaw County and the Region. Prior to the excessive rain, the Saginaw River turning basin was in the best condition it has been in over 30 years. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that as a direct result of the recent flooding, the basin is once again filled with silt, to the point that it is closed to shipping traffic.

Dock owners, along with the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc., asked Congressional and State Legislative Delegations to support decisive action for emergency dredging. In addition, six State Department Heads encouraged immediate assistance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance also supported the funding request. Quick assistance was needed, because the actual dredging could not take place until 60 days after approval by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are very appreciative of the Army Corps of Engineers decisive action to dredge the Saginaw River and reopen shipping to vital businesses in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said U.S. Senator Carl Levin. “Goods shipped on the river include coal that powers electric generators, cement and aggregate that is needed to complete the I-75 highway resurfacing project, and limestone, potash, grain and other raw materials to supply businesses along the river.”

There was a major concern that if the Saginaw River Basin was not reopened, the Region and the State could lose the river for commerce, much like the Missouri River was lost after large floods 10 years ago. The river is a major Michigan shipping route listed as the second busiest port for exports.

“The Saginaw River is a crucial part of our economic infrastructure and must be maintained,” said Michigan State Senator Roger Kahn. “The river is a unique asset that connects Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region to the rest of the world.”

The Corps of Engineers has already advertised the emergency dredging contract and are expecting to award the project on or before June 28, 2013, with the actual dredging starting in July.

Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Van Deventer stated, “It was amazing how quickly leaders and organizations came together to support this much-needed project. We want to thank Senators Stabenow and Levin and Congressmen Kildee and Camp as well as our State Legislative Delegation, Senators Kahn, Moolenaar and Green and Representatives Cotter, Stamas, Kelly, Brunner and Erwin Oakes. Governor Rick Snyder, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance also provided much needed support.”

William G. Webber, President of Sargent Docks and member of the Saginaw River Alliance stated, “We are so grateful to the Saginaw Chamber and Saginaw Future for partnering with the Saginaw River Alliance to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to award the emergency dredging funds. This could have been a disastrous outcome, but instead, we will be able to open the River to commerce once again.”

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has approved and announced endorsement positions for the upcoming November 6, 2012 elections.


The Chamber recommends the following actions on statewide ballot issues 12-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the renewal of the eight year millage request for Delta College.


Ballot Proposal                                                                                             Chamber Endorses

12-1   Emergency Manager PA 4 Referendum………………………………… Vote YES


12-2   Amend the Constitution:

            Regarding Collective Bargaining…………………………………………… Vote NO


12-3   Amend the Constitution: to Establish A New

            Standard for Renewal Energy“25 by 2025”…………………………….. Vote NO


12-4   Amend the Constitution: to Establish The Michigan

            Quality Home Care Council and Provide Collective

            Bargaining for In-Home Health Care Workers…………………………. Vote NO


12-5   Amend the Constitution: to Require a 2/3 Majority Vote

            of House and Senate to Enact New Taxes by State Gov’t………….. Vote NO


12-6   Amend the Constitution:  Regarding Construction of

             International Bridges and Tunnels……………………………………….. Vote NO



Delta College Millage Renewal

            Eight Year $0.4864 per $1,000 millage renewal,

            continuing the current rate of funding for Delta College…………… Vote YES


Saginaw County Chamber President Bob VanDeventer

Saginaw Chamber President Bob Van Deventer stated,  “Our Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse a NO vote on each of the proposed amendments to our state’s constitution. We are against the attempt of special interest groups to embed public policy into Michigan’s constitution.”


Van Deventer also stated,  “We are in favor of reinstating Public Act 4 (Proposal 12-1), because this law more clearly defines the trigger points indicating financial stress within a municipality, allowing them to be considered for an Emergency Manager appointment by the Governor’s office. This law also provides more effective resources to the Emergency Manager to develop effective plans for recovery”.


County and State House of Representatives Candidates:

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has completed a review and endorsement process for all County and State Representative candidates willing to participate. Each candidate was provided with a questionnaire that asked for the candidate’s viewpoints on difficult issues that impact residents and businesses in Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region. The questions asked the candidates for their positions on the statewide ballot issues in the November 6th election, recommendations they have for addressing Public Safety issues within Saginaw County, their positions on the issues of Prevailing Wage and Minimum Wage status in Michigan, and their recommendations for maintaining balanced budgets for the State and County.


The following list represents the Chamber’s endorsement position, based upon the candidates’ answers to the questionnaire and their personal interviews conducted by the Chamber’s Screening and Endorsement Committee. Because not all candidates elected to participate in the endorsement process, and some of the candidates are unopposed, the Chamber elected not to make endorsements in some of the races.


Candidates Endorsed

State House of Representatives

94th District…………………………. Tim Kelly (R)

95th District…………………………. No Endorsement


County Officials

Prosecutor…………………………. Matthew Frey (R)

County Clerk………………………. Susan Kaltenbach (D)


County Commissioner

District 1……………………………. Patrick Wurtzel (R)

District 2……………………………. Alex Boese (R)

District 3……………………………. Kirk Kilpatrick (R)

District 6……………………………. Ron Sholtz (R)

District 8……………………………. Dennis Kraft (R)


Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce LogoThe Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is a multi-faceted not for profit organization that is a coalition of approximately 900 businesses located in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan. Taking the leadership role in developing programs that initiate and implement economic development, quality of life, education, public sector, core city redevelopment, and crime prevention strategies, the Chamber also offers a large number of value added benefits and programs that help members make money and save money. We are the voice of business to local, state and federal legislators and provide pro-business impetus and support for legislation and planning.

Mission: The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce will be a catalyst for economic and community progress.

Vision: The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce vision is to foster a thriving Saginaw Valley within the Great Lakes Bay Region.