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The Capital building in Lansing

SBAM’s Legislative Agenda

Advocacy Priorities

SBAM’s proactive policy agenda gives policymakers direction and insight from Michigan small business owners. These tenets represent our approach to creating an environment of success for small business.

Small Business Needs People – Business needs people with the right skills to meet their demand

People Need Place – People need communities that are growing and present a high quality of life to them

Place Needs Small Business – Our communities need small businesses to remain thriving


2023 Legislative Agenda


We acknowledge that there will always be regulations meant to provide a level playing field, and for the protection of the state and its citizens. However, over-regulating stifles innovation, restricts growth and imposes a burden on small businesses.

  • Business regulations that are enacted should be consistent, easily understood, and allow for easy compliance.
  • The government should not set or limit prices businesses can charge or control the benefits and wages agreed to between businesses and their employees.
  • New or amended rules or mandates should be handled through the normal law or rulemaking process, including public hearings. Additionally, changes should include and consider a cost-benefit analysis and detail the steps taken to reduce the impact on small businesses.
  • The government should not limit the ability of entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses as independent contractors or use independent contractors.
The skyline of Grand Rapids, MI

Economic Development

Collectively, small businesses are Michigan’s largest job provider. SBAM supports an economic gardening approach to economic development – focusing on creating a great environment for businesses that are already here, rather than just attracting new businesses to come. Michigan should be the best place to start and grow a business regardless of size or industry.

  • Large-scale economic development incentive projects should include plans to deal with workforce, housing, child care, and infrastructure challenges that are likely to be exacerbated by the projects.
  • Expand access to high speed internet.
  • Increase focus in developing economic development initiatives for entrepreneurship and growing second-stage companies already located in Michigan.
  • Support expanded access to skilled trades and community college education with programs such as Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect.
  • Implement aggressive small business state procurement policies.
  • Continue to support the Pure Michigan tourism and business development campaign.
  • Support Line 5, which delivers critical energy infrastructure that we all rely on every day.

Business Taxes

Taxes are necessary to fund the government’s efforts to create an environment of safety and opportunity for all citizens. Unnecessarily high or complex taxes on the other hand dampen the entrepreneurial spirit and stifle economic growth. Tax dollars should be spent in an efficient and effective manner, providing real value to the taxpayers. Michigan should aim to have a simple yet equitable taxation system that promotes economic growth while cultivating an environment friendly to entrepreneurs and innovation.

  • Strive to be ranked a top 10 state so that small businesses can compete effectively in a national and global marketplace.
  • Income taxes should not be imposed on an individual, or business income, more than once.
  • Business taxation should be simple, competitive, and predictable to allow for advanced planning of expenses
  • Small business owners often rely on the sale of their business as a core part of their retirement. The tax treatment should have some parity with other types of retirement income.
  • Real estate should be assessed on the true cash value in strict accordance with constitutional uniformity requirements.
  • Business to business transactions should remain exempt from sales tax.

Health Care

Steps must be taken to reduce the growing expense of health care and therefore the growing cost of health insurance. The government should look for innovative ways to help businesses control, not add to, the costs of employee health insurance.

  • Employee health care benefits should remain a negotiable issue between employee and employer.
  • Small businesses should be able to band together to create their own risk pools and organize under the same set of rules and laws that larger companies and unions do.
  • Health care costs should be more transparent, allowing business owners and employees to understand the cost, quality, and options available.
  • Mandates that result in increased costs that will reduce the ability of small businesses to offer health care to their employees should be opposed.

Workforce Development

For Michigan to grow, cooperation between businesses and their workforce is vital. Government should refrain from interfering in the relationship between employees and employers. Workers should have the right to work without being forced to join or contribute to a third-party organization.

  • Any legislation that interferes with the at-will relationship between employees and employers should be opposed.
  • Government rules surrounding the use of independent contractors should not hinder the ability of small businesses to do business in the manner that best suits them.
  • Encourage review and removal of bureaucratic burdens that limit childcare options for employers and employees.
  • Support policies that eliminate barriers to employment for returning citizens and promote safe and thriving communities
  • Support pathways to employment for those with disabilities.
  • The federal immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers.


For Michigan’s economy to thrive, our education system must prepare students for the workplace. The education we provide should be focused on skills needed to compete in today’s economy while also providing quality, well-rounded education.

  • Support educational programs that more closely match education to required job skills.
  • Increase accountability for completion rates and employability of students.
  • Support last-dollar in tuition-free community college programs that are not tied to tax increases.
  • Promote programs such as Going Pro that award employers for assisting in training and developing newly hired employees.
  • Support the education reform framework negotiated by the Launch Michigan coalition, including adequate funding, increased transparency, and accountability. View the framework


Housing shortages have hindered the ability of Michigan’s small businesses to attract and retain talent. SBAM supports adopting and implementing the MSHDA Statewide Housing Plan (viewable here), which our leadership was involved in drafting, to achieve:

  • 75,000+ new or rehabilitated housing units to include:
    • 39,000+ affordable rental units.
    • 21,500+ market-rate units (homeowner and rental).
    • 13,500+ homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households.
    • 1,000+ units of workforce housing.
    • 100,000+ households’ housing is stabilized.
  • Significantly reduce the equity gaps in homelessness and homeownership.
  • Strive to make homelessness rare, brief, and one time.
  • 15,000+ households increase home energy efficiency and make weatherization improvements.