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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Ford: Michigan should 'double down,' not shy away from manufacturing

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Ford: Michigan should 'double down,' not shy away from manufacturing

BY TOM WALSH

Free Press Business Columnist

GRAND RAPIDS -- Michigan should not walk away from its manufacturing heritage, but rather “double down on manufacturing,” Bill Ford Jr. said in an interview today, previewing a keynote address he will deliver Friday at the West Michigan Policy Forum.

“We have real assets here that other states don’t have to really become a manufacturing powerhouse, maybe not in making all the same things we used to manufacture,” said Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor.

He said his speech to the second West Michigan policy event — the first was in 2008 — will focus on making Michigan more competitive in the long run.

“We’ve got to get our fiscal house in order,” he said of the state, ”and maybe make some changes in the tax code to make us more attractive.”

Ford, who sits on the board of Business Leaders for Michigan and chairs the Detroit Economic Club, said he will also touch on the need to invest in infrastructure.

“We need another border crossing to Canada, because Ford alone is sending 600 trucks a day across the border and there’s just a lot of lost time and money by the congestion there,” he said.

Michigan’s business leaders from both metro Detroit and outstate areas are doing a much better job of speaking with a coherent voice on key public policy issues, he said.

“In the past we had Detroit Renaissance, which was not always in step with what was going on with western Michigan in terms of leadership, and therefore it was often a divided message,” he said.

Since Business Leaders for Michigan was formed a year ago, replacing Detroit Renaissance and expanding its CEO membership statewide, “I think the group has done a good job of finding the common ground and then going after it,” Ford said.

Read more: Tom Walsh: Ford: Michigan should 'double down,' not shy away from manufacturing | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100916/COL06/100916042/1210/business01/Ford-Mich.-should-double-down-not-shy-away-from-manufacturing#ixzz0zjYIXlPW

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