SAGINAW (WJRT) -
(04/29/14) - Michigan has made strides in becoming a top 10 state, but more work needs to be done to improve the economy.
That's the message from a non-profit group whose goal is to create a better Michigan.
Business Leaders for Michigan was formed five years ago to improve the state's job situation and the economy.
It has a revised turnaround plan, which includes increasing funding for road construction.
"I always site this region as being one of those places in Michigan that really gets regionalism more than most," said Doug Rothwell, of Business Leaders of Michigan.
Rothwell is praising Great Lakes Bay Region business leaders for its regional cooperation, which is one way the group Business Leaders of Michigan believes the state will improve its economic outlook. The non-profit is made up of CEO's and business leaders from across the state. Rothwell is the president of the group and he says it's time to improve the state's roads.
"We think a tax increase is necessary, we are pretty open minded as to what that looks like," he said.
Rothwell says there are no other options but to raise taxes to pay for road repairs and construction.
"We just don't see where you can find a billion and a half dollars in the state budget without hurting other things that matter a great deal," Rothwell said.
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President Bob VanDeventer says the lack of plan to improve the roads is holding back the state's economy.
"Right now, there isn't a good plan," he said. "There needs to be a political will for a tax dedicated to this, and that's been a tough issue for our legislators to deal with."
"How are we going to get our products, and people, by the way, because our people are going in and out of airports all the time, getting to their customers, we can't do that if we have roads that get in the way of their ability to get from point a to point b," Rothwell said.
Business Leaders of Michigan says another key to improving the state's overall economic condition is to make college more affordable for students.