U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today delivered the keynote address at the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce Issues and Answers Forum. During the address, Stabenow highlighted her new Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative to advance Michigan's emerging bio-based manufacturing industry. Bio-based manufacturing, using agriculture goods to make value-added products, is an industry poised to grow and create jobs in Michigan. Stabenow also discussed efforts she has championed to increase access to capital to Michigan small businesses and initiatives such as her Battery Innovation Act to help our advanced battery industry expand and create new clean energy jobs.
Senator Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. That is exactly what is happening across our state as new bio-based manufacturers are making things with Michigan-grown products. At the same time Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs, a majority which are small businesses, are leading the nation in clean energy patents. I am laser-focused on initiatives to help Michigan companies access the capital they need to grow their business as we work together to transform Michigan's economy to create new jobs."
Sid Allen, President/CEO of the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce said: "We were pleased to hear Senator Stabenow's positive comments regarding small business. To enhance business growth and development, and entrepreneurship, there should be a strategy to ensure opportunities exist that will encourage and facilitate future possibilities for small companies. We hope Congress hears that message."
Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative would create a new tax cut for Michigan companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. Her initiative would also increase access to capital for bio-based manufacturers, improve marketing of bio-based products, and spur the commercialization of new agricultural innovations to create new jobs. Bio-based manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan's agriculture industry, which is the second largest part of Michigan's economy and supports one out of every four Michigan jobs.
During the event, Senator Stabenow also discussed initiatives she has championed to cut taxes and red tape for Michigan small businesses, including the elimination of an overly burdensome 1099 IRS paperwork requirement. Stabenow led the effort to pass the Small Business Jobs Act, which has provided small businesses in Midland County with over $5.8 million in financing since October 2010. Stabenow was appointed to the President's Export Council by both President Bush and President Obama, where she helps Michigan companies export their products overseas.
On Monday, Senator Stabenow participated in a forum with U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and local businesses, which highlighted resources to increase access to capital for Great Lakes Bay area small businesses, boost exports, and spur job growth. The forum was hosted by the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, which includes the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce, and Delta Community College.
As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus, Senator Stabenow highlighted initiatives she has authored to provide clean energy manufacturing tax cuts for companies like Dow Chemical and support Michigan's new clean energy economy. Stabenow discussed her Battery Innovation Act, which is the first comprehensive plan offering Michigan companies the support they need to expand advanced battery production and job growth and ensure that America wins the race in the development of new advanced energy technologies. The Act incorporates all aspects of advanced battery production, from research and development, to the availability of raw materials, to the manufacturing of these high-tech products.