Chamber Blog

Chamber Members Discuss Important Policy Issues


Being a member of the Grand Rapids Chamber means having a seat at the table on important policy issues that effect the West Michigan business community. Last week, the Grand Rapids Chamber’s Transportation Committee met to discuss the various details in Governor Whitmer’s Gas Tax proposal.

In her first budget proposal, the Governor proposed a $2.5 billion increase in road funding by raising the gas tax $.045 per gallon in three increments. The money raised from the gas tax will go into the new Fixing Michigan Roads Fund and will be allocated to the most highly traveled and commercially important roads.

The Chamber’s Transportation Committee is made up of Chamber Members and is chaired by Kirk Breukink, Area Manager, Reith-Riley Construction Company. The Committee analyzes issues and advocates for infrastructure policies and projects that make efficient use of each dollar spent on transportation. Using their respective expertise, the Committee evaluates and discusses related policy questions and develops positions on issues such as proposed Gas Tax increase.

Chamber Members Discuss Important Policy Issues

At last week’s meeting, Chamber Director of Government Affairs Josh Lunger presented the current and projected conditions of our state and local roads and the various aspects of Governor Whitmer’s proposal.

From there, the Committee broke up the issue into its key components, including: (1) how much money is needed for the roads; (2) what sources of revenue do we support; (3) what should the implementation period be; and (4) how should the funds be allocated.

Out of this discussion, the Committee drafted a position statement and voted on target goals for the various aspects of the plan to fix Michigan roads, which will be presented to the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The strength of our organization lies in the engagement of our membership through avenues like our Government Affairs Committees. Members who serve on these committees are asked to bring their personal experience and industry knowledge to the table, but also to “put their Chamber hats on” and consider how to best support a vibrant business climate and economic growth. As new and significant issues are brought up, expert guest speakers or staff will lead discussions with our members at these meetings.

The following committees work to create great policy:

  • Education & Workforce Development Committee: Works to ensure the development of a better educated and productive workforce.
  • Environmental Affairs Committee: Advises Chamber members on significant environmental issues and work to influence lawmakers to prepare and support cost-efficient, yet effective, regulations.
  • Health Care & Human Resources Committee: Advocates to reduce the cost of health care and encourage communication between the business and health care communities.
  • Tax & Regulatory Affairs Committee: Reviews issues as they relate to tax and regulations that increase the cost of doing business.
  • Transportation Committee: Analyzes issues and advocates for infrastructure policies and projects that make efficient use of each dollar spent on transportation.
  • Public Policy Council: Exists to advance Chamber legislative priorities and the region’s business and community interests by coordinating the individual efforts of the Chamber’s issues committees to ensure broad-based advocacy and motivates members to engage in action to achieve these goals. I
  • Regional Issues Council: West Michigan business and community leaders interested in receiving presentations and engaging in discussions on projects or issues that may affect the region’s business and community interests.

If you are interested in joining these conversations or would like to learn more about serving on a Government Affairs Committee, please contact Joshua Lunger at 616.771.0336.

To learn more about the Chamber’s legislative priorities, please visit this page.

Maddie Werley Administrator
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