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Lt. Gov. addresses Michigan league GAC
LANSING, Mich. (4/26/12)--Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, addressing the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Lansing, Mich., last week, talked about state tax structure, jobs, and credit union member business lending.

Mich. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was the keynote speaker the Michigan Credit Union League Governmental Affairs Conference in Lansing, Mich. last week.
The 1990s were great for Michigan with lower unemployment and higher prosperity than the national averages, but those numbers were flipped for the 2000s, Calley said. (Michigan Monitor April 23).

Calley ran with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on a platform that they would reinvent Michigan to be more business friendly and to encourage existing companies to expand.

For the first time in 15 years, the state's tax policy is not designed to promote outside businesses coming in, meaning existing businesses actually pay more, Calley said.

"Everybody's for jobs," he added, "but if you want more of them, it's kind of important to understand where they come from."

One of the most important changes the administration made was to reform the state's business tax, which was considered the second worst in the United States, and replace it with one that is simple and now ranked seventh best, Calley said.

Michigan Credit Union League CEO David Adams said credit unions can offer more services by taking advantage of resources such as credit union service organizations. (Photos provided by Michigan Credit Union League)
He said that the state still has $638 million in tax breaks on the books, but slowly, that number will fall. Despite the tax breaks, the state ended up losing jobs in the relocation category anyway.

In addition, the Snyder administration has gone after needless regulations by forming the Office of Regulatory Reinvention. In just one year, Calley said, the state reduced the number of regulations by 400.

He added that the work is starting to show dividends. Last year, the state saw 80,000 new private sector jobs and per-capita income rose 5.2%.

Calley said that like credit unions, the state has focused on customer satisfaction. He also challenged credit unions to learn what their members dream of and find out what they can do to help.

MCUL CEO David Adams told the GAC audience that when he was recognized as U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the 2012 National Financial Services Champion,  both in the state and nationally, it showed that the industry as a whole is really on an upward path.

"It's reflective of what our industry has been doing," Adams said. "People are discovering credit unions like never before."

He emphasized that credit unions have an unprecedented opportunity during this session of the U.S. Congress when the Senate is expected to vote on an historic credit union bill that would raise the limit on member business lending.

"Credit unions are being noticed for their efforts on small business lending," Adams said.

Adams said credit unions--even small institutions--can do a better job of marketing more services by taking advantage of resources such as credit union service organizations.

Because of their tax-exempt status, Adams said credit unions have an obligation to reach out to consumers to help the country reverse some troubling statistics, such as the one-third of U.S. adults who say they have no non-retirement savings and the 32% who say they are saving no part of their household income for retirement.


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