Upper Peninsula Economic Development

Published April 1, 2000  | April 2000 issue

Number of local economic organizations:

About 15 public or quasi-public organizations with at least one full-time paid staff person, according to two local sources. Almost all are based at the county or multicounty level. It is unknown how many other volunteer-based economic organizations there are, or how many U.P. cities have formal economic development efforts. One local county development official said he was "aware that many cities and villages throughout the U.P. have downtown development authorities, tax increment finance authorities and brownfield redevelopment finance authorities."

Unique local economic development tools or incentives:

In 1997, the Michigan Legislature created the Renaissance Zone Program. Today, the program includes seven sites in four U.P. counties (Gogebic, Houghton, Marquette and Ontonagon) with more than 3,300 industrial acres designated as virtually tax-free for any business or resident presently in or moving to a zone. Waived taxes include the single business tax, personal and real property taxes, local income taxes, state education taxes and utility user taxes at least through the year 2009, and possibly to 2012.

Popular assistance tools or incentives:

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), a state-based program that awards credits against the single business tax for up to 20 years for businesses that expand or move into the state.

Other assistance tools or incentives:

Among state-based programs is the Venture Capital Fund, Michigan Economic Development Job Training Program, Urban Land Assembly Program and Michigan Jobs Commission. Local communities also can use tax increment financing, and most are authorized to create plant rehabilitation districts or industrial development districts, within which companies can receive property tax abatements based on the value of rehabilitated or new facilities.


The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is investing $1 billion over the next 20 years to create a "life sciences corridor," including next-generation industrial parks with cutting-edge technology.

Related articles:

fedgazette, July 2000
Local Economic Development, Part II