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I have had many adventures during my years of working in the Captiol community.  Whether it was helping campaign for a State Senator on a road that was full of barbed wire and Confederate flags; staying in House/Senate session long enough to see the Sun set in the west windows and rise in the east windows; seeing good friends like Andy Schor and Brandt Iden become representatives and getting to testify in front of their committee … it has really been fun.

And throughout that time I’ve learned that the most important thing for a staffer or a lobbyist to do is to always … always keep their word.  If you tell a legislator that that you are going to get back to them with information, or a staffer that you are going to get some specific language for a bill – you get back to them  You keep your word.

So with that in mind, let me share with you my latest adventure before the House Tax Policy committee.  A couple weeks back, as I was talking to the chair of that committee about SB 242 – 244 – a package of bills that have been called the “Good Jobs For Michigan” package.  Towards the end of the conversation I joking told the chair, “Look, I know you went to Central and you know that I went to Western.  Give us a hearing on these bills and I’ll make sure to add a ‘Fire up, Chips’ somewhere in my testimony.”

10 days goes by and suddenly the committee hearing is posted, mostly due to the work of many of my fellow lobbyist who are also working on the same set of bills.  It’s been fun working with all of them in this coalition.

But then I see the Chairman and he looks at me, with a twinkle in his eye, smiles and says “You ready … Fire Up, Chips!”

Yeah … I’m in trouble.

So yesterday, I gave the following testimony in support of SB 242 – 244:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and through you to the members of the committee.  My name is Dave Worthams and I’m the Policy Director of the Michigan Bankers Associaiton.  I’d like to acknowledge the presence of our President & CEO Rann Paynter in the audience as well because when we get involved with an important issue, we bring all of the guns off our shelf.

Today, I testify in support of SB 242 – 244 for a number of reasons that my more learned colleagues have already shared with you in ways better than I can say.  What I can tell you, as someone who has witnessed things in Lansing for almost 20 years, is that this package is not MEGA.  This is not MEGA. I was here when MEGA was created and I can tell you this is not MEGA.

Friends, I still have nightmares about MEGA.  This is not MEGA.

And that is why the Michigan Bankers support this.  This “novel” idea that a tax incentive should be based on a contract that, in essence says, “Make the jobs … then you get the incentive. Not before.”

Let me say that again, this program says “Come to Michigan, Make the Jobs and only then do you get the incentive”  MEGA did this in a backwards way.  This is not MEGA. This is smart public policy.

Let me give you a second point to consider. Earlier today, I asked a number of my colleagues if I would be factually correct if I told you that it is a common practice for many corporations to take the funds granted in a tax incentive and invest that into increased and advanced training for their employees.  They all concurred that I would be correct in sharing that with you.  Imagine how great the employees now and in the future will be as they receive increased training, especially if it is in partnership with the Building Trades Association who already do an excellent job in training apprenticeships.

Lastly, and this is especially for you Mr. Chairman.  As you know, I am a proud graduate of Western Michigan University.  You, sir, are a proud graduate of Central Michigan University.  I have no hesitate in sharing with you that this package of bill will benefit both our fine alma maters (and really the only two schools in the state that matter).  These bills will attract new corporations and businesses to come to Michigan. They will hire many of our fellow citizens and will even bring more folks who will live in the state.  These folks will have children and those children will go on to enroll in various aspects of post high school education, many at Central and many at Western.  I think you and I agree this is a good thing.

If there is any sign that shows what good legislation looks like, it is legislation that can bring alumni from Western and Central together in a cause.  These bills are doing that.  And so, Mr. Chairman I say, with a full heart, join the MBA in supporting these bills, SB 242- 244.  Send them to the floor … and FIRE UP, CHIPS!

I can only pray, that my fellow Broncos will forgive me and will understand that things that will happen as we all push for the creation of Good Jobs in Michigan.

GO BRONCOS!!!

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