NFIB: MI Small Businesses Are Dying & Need to Re-Open Now

The strident voice of the Michigan branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB, was loud and clear in the Michigan Senate today: “Michigan’s small businesses are dying and need to re-open now.”

NFIB State Director Charlie Owens addressed the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee this afternon in Lansing with that dire message, saying, “While we are pleased to see some movement from the governor in reopening Michigan’s economy, the timelines and specific announcements of businesses allowed to open have been inconsistent and often arbitrary.” Owens argues, “Her vague and open-ended reopening plan, along with the unlimited ability under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 to continually declare emergencies and issue executive orders, allows Governor Whitmer alone to decide the fate of the state’s small businesses into perpetuity.”

Owens added that NFIB members support the repeal of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, and that they also support allowing businesses that follow safety precautions with their employees and customers to reopen.

Speaking to the committee today, Owens said, “NFIB recently supported Senate Bill 858, as amended in the House, that would have allowed most small businesses that were ordered closed in March to open on May 16th if they practice social distancing and use Personal Protective Equipment,” however, he notes, “The bill passed both chambers and was sent to Governor Whitmer, where it was promptly vetoed.”

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Owens referenced the most recent NFIB Small Business Optimism Index that showed April’s sales expectations for the next six months dropped to their lowest level in the index’s 46-year history, saying, “If the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic lasts any longer about half of all small businesses could be in danger of failing,” and adding, “Keep in mind this is national data and because Michigan is lagging other states in reopening its economy it could be much worse here.”

Owens said the absence of the governor’s cooperation with the legislature is to blame for the problems in Michigan and it appeared the only hope for a change in course will be found in the courts as was the case in Wisconsin where their Supreme Court ruled against similar tactics by their governor.

For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since their founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses. For more information, you can visit online at