Small Businesses in MI Have Anxieties Over Governor Gretchen’s Paid Leave Plan

1 min read
September 23, 2023
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The Small Business Association of Michigan’s recent survey indicates that Michigan’s smaller enterprises are raising concerns over Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposition for a tax-funded, new paid family leave program.

“Michigan’s small businesses have been through the wringer over the past several years, yet here they are facing a significant impediment to their continued success,” Brian Calley (SBAM CEO And Former Republican Lt. Gov of Michigan) said in a statement. “Most policymakers are quick to say they support small businesses – we need their actions to meet those words in the policies they pursue at the Capitol.”

Why it matters: Small businesses form Michigan’s economic foundation. Their apprehensions can significantly impact the trajectory of policy dialogues. The survey underscores their anxiety and misunderstandings over the potential financial repercussions that could stymie their growth and functioning.

By the numbers:

  • Strong Opposition: 80% can’t get behind the 15-week paid leave proposal.
  • Potential Setback: 70% believe the policy could drastically hurt their businesses, with another 20% seeing a lesser, yet tangible, negative effect.
  • Already Giving: Remarkably, 75% are already granting some form of paid leave out of their own volition.

Additional Concerns:

  • 77% oppose a hike in the weekly cash benefit for unemployment.
  • 80% reject a proposal to extend unemployment duration.

But there’s hope: Over 75% of businesses have upped their compensation by 5% or more in the past year.

Wider context:

  • Leading states with higher GDP per capita: New York, New Jersey, and California, have demonstrated a balance between business apprehensions and worker advantages.
  • Entrepreneurial Growth: Research by MIT Sloan professors found that France’s unemployment benefits revamp and extension in the early 2000s resulted in a 25% surge in new business establishments.
  • Midwestern Trend: States like Minnesota are warmly welcoming paid leave.
  • Family First: A Pew Research study from May 2023 highlighted that 99% of Americans prize family time as a top priority.
  • Michigan Support: A 2015 poll by Denno Research unveiled that 86% of Michiganders were already championing paid leave.
  • Historical Perspective: Michigan’s Henry Ford was famous for bucking WSJ and other businesses’ fierce criticism and resistance on the matter of providing better pay and conditions for employees

What’s on the horizon: As the discourse around the proposed paid family leave tax heats up, lawmakers will be tasked with relieving small business anxieties with the broader potential boons for the workforce to prevent bad faith actors (like former government officials from the opposition party) from taking advantage of those anxieties.

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