Michigan Business Organizations Unite Behind One Michigan with Letter to Congress in Support of Federal Financial Relief for Michigan and Other States
The following letter was signed by leaders of statewide business organizations and regional Chambers of Commerce from every corner of Michigan in collective support for liability protection and state and local budget support in stimulus discussions. The letter was dated July 20, 2020.
To Michigan’s Congressional Delegation:
Thank you for your important public service on behalf of Michigan and our nation at this critical
time. We appreciate and acknowledge that the Congress and the President came together in record time
and with record levels of financial support to respond to the impact of the COVID crisis. The resources
provided by the Federal Government have been instrumental in sustaining many during this difficult time.
Of course, further action at the local, state and national levels will be necessary.
Representing a collective of Michigan’s key business representatives, we come together to urge
Michigan’s Congressional delegation to unify behind smart compromise Federal legislation to provide
financial relief to Michigan, and other states, to address tax revenue loss due exclusively to the COVID
crisis. This bi-partisan action will serve as a significant enabler in businesses bringing back employees,
help struggling families with needed services and to speed economic revival across Michigan.
Federal Recovery Aid to State and Local Governments
The CARES Act provided $150 billion to assist state and local governments with direct COVIDrelated
expenses, and this financial support has been instrumental in helping to minimize state budget cuts
for the current fiscal year. Looking forward, however, the combined $5 to $6 billion net loss in state
revenue over fiscal years 2020 and 2021, entirely caused by the pandemic, will force the most extreme
reductions in public services at the moment our citizens need assistance the most. Michigan, has been a
leader in fiscal responsibility for the last decade, balancing budgets and paying down debt. We unite in
the request that Michigan’s Congressional delegation work to secure additional appropriations to support
state and local governments, consistent with Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell’s call for
additional Congressional action to aid our economic recovery.
Collectively, we urge compromise and prompt action. We agree that any such support from
Congress must be sufficient to address the pressing needs of the public and based on a multi-factor
formula that considers a state’s population and level of COVID impact. While we advocate for the
greatest level of flexibility, we agree the purpose of these funds are to provide necessary and direct public
services to help our citizens deal with the impact of the COVID crisis in their communities and
households. We also believe the formula should reward states, like Michigan, that have effectively
managed their pension obligations and debt.
Liability Protection for Businesses Operating in Good Faith
In addition to Federal assistance to help address the significant budget imbalance left by tax
revenue losses due to the COVID crisis, we also urge a bi-partisan compromise that will help ensure
businesses are able to safely bring back their employees through careful liability protection for
businesses. While a statewide poll by the Detroit Regional Chamber found that 77% of voters “trust their
employer to keep them safe,” employee and employers alike are nervous about resuming operations.
Business owners fear that if they can survive idling their business in order to help flatten the curve of the
virus, they will not be able to survive legal action resulting from an infected employee – even if they
follow all national, state, local and industry guidelines.
While businesses that act with negligence, ignorance or malice should be offered no protections,
businesses that operate in good faith need liability protection in order to welcome their employees and
We urge you to find a reasonable compromise that balances protections for employers and
employees as well as recognizes the unchartered health, economic and legal landscape the COVID crisis
has forced upon us.
The last decade has demonstrated Michigan’s bi-partisan record of sound fiscal management.
The State has frequently completed budgets early, has paid down long-term debt, reduced pension
obligations and built-up a rainy-day fund that has helped address the current year’s shortfall. After a
decade of cost-saving reform, balancing Michigan’s budget without further damaging our already
devastated economy will be impossible without a Federal partnership.
Thank you for your partnership in serving the citizens of Michigan.
The letter was signed by the following and distributed to the entire Michigan Congressional Delegation.
Rich Studley, President and CEO, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Doug Rothwell, President and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan
Brian Calley, President, Small Business Association of Michigan
Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber
John Walsh, President and CEO, Michigan Manufacturing Association
Rick Baker, President and CEO, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Stacie Bytwork, Chairperson, Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance
Warren Call, President and CEO, Traverse Connect
Tim Daman, President and CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber
Tim Herman, President and CEO, Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce
Veronica Horn, President and CEO, Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
Diane Keller, President and CEO, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber
Ron Kitchens, Senior Partner, Southwest Michigan First
Tony Stamas, President and CEO, Midland Business Alliance
Ryan Tarrant, President and CEO, Bay Area Chamber of Commerce