Gretchen Driskell, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 52nd District in the Michigan House of Representatives, is calling on the Legislature to approve proposals to increase access to capital for small businesses and start-up companies.
House Bills 5183, 5168 through 5173 have been introduced in the Legislature, but have been largely ignored, Driskell said.
“As mayor of Saline and as a commercial realtor, I know the importance of small businesses to our communities,” she said. “Small businesses create new jobs and support our communities through local purchasing and local employment. Access to capital is one of the major barriers for small businesses and we need to minimize the barriers and maximize the opportunities for businesses to grow.”
- HB 5183 creates an angel-investor tax credit program which encourages private financial groups to get involved with businesses in their early stages. This investment often happens before businesses are able to secure traditional financing.
- HB 5168 and 5173 would expand small businesses’ access to capital by allowing endowments and trusts with Michigan credit unions and community banks to lend to small businesses.
State Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, said he doesn't believe the bills are being stalled.
"We are going through the legislative process," he said. "We've had numerous bills pass in the last 18 months that led to economic growth and making small businesses successful. We will continue down that path by working in conjunction with the governor's office and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation."
One example, he said, was ending the Michigan Small Business Tax.
"That has allowed businesses to invest more in their individual growth, which creates more employment opportunities," Ouimet said.
Small businesses represent 98.3 percent of Michigan employers and are responsible for 51.6 percent of private sector jobs in the state, according to the Michigan Small Business Association.
"In Michigan, 80 percent of businesses fail by their 10th year because they don’t have access to capital," Driskell said.