This coming election is about jobs and the economy. The policies of the last eight years have devastated our great state, we have lost nearly a million jobs, 72 percent of auto manufacturing positions are gone, Michiganders want work, not unemployment benefits, and not empty rhetoric from people who haven't been in the trenches creating jobs and opportunities. I believe Michigan is a great place to live, work, and play and we can again make Michigan competitive. Let's talk about a four step plan to put Michigan back to work.
Our economic development efforts need to focus on small businesses in Michigan, the companies between 10 and 100 that have been slugging it out in this State for years, and sometimes decades. Between 1994 and 2007, these firms created over 130,000 jobs; while firms over 500 shed more than 250,000 jobs. It's time to offer our small businesses, the job creators, some common sense incentives like angel or second tier financial help, market research assistance, or programs to help grow their businesses right here in Michigan, hiring our local folks. Government can't create jobs, but they can create a better environment for business and capital investment. It's Job 1 for our campaign. To get there, we have start with the following:
First, we have to get the state's fiscal house in order with business style financial management, complete with a quarterly survey of Michigan business so we can get an accurate picture on state needs and on the fiscal outlook. Recently the governor magically found $180 million dollars, funds she had used as a bargaining chip to try and raise taxes on Michigan families, that's not leadership, that's the same old shell game that has played in Lansing for too long. We need to quit overspending, get rid of the quick fixes, and adopt multi year budgets. It's not going to be easy, but we need to make reforms to how our state operates. Our pension and health care plans need to be reviewed and we need to take a regional approach to some of our government services.
Secondly, we have to fix the business climate and make Michigan competitive. We need a more predictable tax structure -- the Michigan business tax and surcharge has to go away, and we need to find a flatter, fairer system of taxes. We need to make it not only attractive to come to Michigan, but to stay in Michigan. We know that 80 percent of our new jobs will come from existing businesses, and more than three quarters of those will be from small businesses. We need to encourage entrepreneurship though university -- business partnerships, and support the formation of venture capital so we can start and grow jobs.
And once we get our fiscal house in order, and start to grow the jobs and opportunities that Michigan deserves, we can then make targeted investments in Michigan assets, our schools, higher education, agriculture and tourism. Michigan has been a leader in business growth before, and we can be again. We have great assets that are underperforming. In our district we grow some of the world's best fruits and vegetables; we have miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, and a workforce that we will put up against anyone's. We need folks in the legislature who have had the experience in leadership, accountability and results, who will fight for what's right in Lansing that's why I am asking for your vote on August 3rd and November 2nd. Join our team, let's start that Michigan comeback!