Government Affairs Survey Results

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce / Advocacy / Government Affairs Survey Results

The Chamber is proud of its role protecting your business’ bottom line by advocating on your behalf to create the best possible economic climate at the local, state and federal levels.

This year the Chamber survey dug deeper into health care and talent to better understand member concerns. Nearly 700 members participated in the Chamber’s Annual Government Affairs Survey for 2016.

gr chamber resultsOn the health care front: If costs were contained, 57 percent reported that they would increase wages and 34 percent reported they would hire more employees. There was also strong support for increased price transparency and reducing the burden of compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The message from members has been clear and consistent on health care. In 2016, the Chamber will remain fiercely opposed to additional health care mandates and efforts to extend or increase the uncompetitive Health Insurance Claims Assessment Tax,” commented Andy Johnston, vice president of Government & Corporate Affairs for the Chamber. “Lansing policymakers need to take note of the impact this continues to have on job providers.”

80 percent business growthOn the talent front: Eighty percent responded that their firm hired and/or added new positions in the last 12 months due to business growth.

Businesses continue to struggle to find qualified applicants, however, and responses on that issue increased from 51 percent in 2014 to 61 percent this year. As a result, members noted that they used multiple strategies to fill open positions:

  • 71 percent increased their recruiting efforts
  • 32 percent increased wages to attract more qualified talent
  • 32 percent trained current staff to fill the position
  • 31 percent hired less qualified workers
  • 27 percent increased overtime for current employees

Thirty-one percent responded that positions were not filled because they could not find qualified talent. When it comes to finding qualified employees, social media replaced recruiting events as the top tool.

“We remain committed to addressing these issues from a policy perspective,” said Allie Bush, director of Government Affairs. “We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members in support of creating a strong talent system from early childhood education to the K-12 system as well as programs like Michigan’s Skilled Trades Training Fund that raise the capabilities of our existing workforce.”

On the local level, members supported funding for infrastructure and core services as priorities.

“The Chamber will continue working with our local government partners to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent effectively,” said Josh Lunger, director of Government Affairs. “Michigan’s economic recovery has taken some pressure off local government budgets, but wise investment remains critical to help us address legacy costs and better prepare us for the next rainy day.”

Other top issues that garnered support in the survey include: access to primary care for employees, affordable energy, invasive species, high school graduation rates, skilled-trades training, and public transit.

Click here for the full data set from the 2016 Government Affairs Survey.

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