WASHINGTON AND INCREASING HEALTHCARE COSTS OVERSHADOW WEST MICHIGAN ECONOMIC RESURGENCE
Grand Rapids – Results of a government affairs survey released today by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce show local businesses are concerned with federal spending and healthcare costs, but see tremendous opportunity in the economic promotion of West Michigan and greater collaboration within our region.
The survey was conducted December 10 – January 4 and had more than 700 respondents.
“Overall confidence in our state is growing among the business community, but it is being overshadowed by what is happening in Washington with increases in spending and growing deficits,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “The lack of certainty from the fiscal cliff debate is having an impact. Spending must be addressed to bolster confidence in the business climate.”
In addition to Washington’s fiscal woes, the increasing cost of healthcare has again topped the list of concerns for businesses. “Businesses are seeing near double digit increases in insurance costs year after year,” said Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs. “Federal healthcare reform expanded access to insurance, but did nothing to address the rising costs. The increased complexity and compliance cost from federal reform has businesses worried.”
On a positive note, business leaders feel that West Michigan is positioned for sustained growth and called on local units of government to collaborate and work with community partners to promote the region. “We have a great history of collaboration in West Michigan and a strong and vibrant business community is a key player in that story,” said Johnston. “We will continue to work with others to attract and keep the best businesses and talent here in West Michigan.”
Other priorities that garnered support in the survey included: transportation funding, reducing regulations, cost of energy and early childhood funding.
A summary of the survey can be found at www.grandrapids.org/government-affairs.
About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce works as an ally, an advocate, and a change agent for our 2,700 member businesses—of which, more than 80% are small companies with 50 or fewer employees. With 125 years of experience creating opportunities for business success, the Chamber is the premier business membership organization in West Michigan. We are actively engaged in developing strong leaders, a diverse workforce in an inclusive community, and a business environment that fosters economic prosperity. Learn more at www.grandrapids.org.
For more information on this news release, contact:
VP of Government & Corporate Affairs