Economic Development and Business Expansion
Small business are the backbone of our local economies. They are also a path to economic independence for individuals and families as well as prosperity for a community.
Bipartisanship: Appropriations Asks
In collaboration with Senator Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Rep. O'Neal has requested an appropriation of $8M to reinvigorate the Second National Bank Building, long an iconic building in the heart of Saginaw.
A proposed redevelopment of the building will include renovations to the structure, improved office spaces, an events venue, construction of middle-income housing/apartments in the Tower and Annex, improved pedestrian access to the river, development of an adjacent city-owned vacant lot into resident parking, and enhancement of the Morley Park Parcel (ultimately deeded to the city).
State money will be supplemented by private investments and other municipal sources including Historic Tax Credit Equity, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding from the US Department of Energy, and potential American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding. Heading the project is Michigan Community Capitol (MCC), a private non-profit corporation and 501c3 public charity with a history of economic development projects in Michigan that revitalize key sectors and areas of municipalities like the Second National Bank Building project in Saginaw.
From the proposal for the project, “As a Redevelopment Ready Community, Saginaw is certified by the MEDC as an innovative, efficient development partner ready for transformative projects like The Second National. The city’s best practices in zoning, site review, and economic development strategy make it a local partner ready to support the project. The city has already identified the Second National Building as a Redevelopment Ready Site. That means it is a priority project for the local government.”
New affordable housing in this area of the city will allow employers to attract local employees to entry-level jobs with commensurate housing options located within a convenient distance.
Rep. O’Neal always looks for opportunities to invest in the future of Saginaw as well as work with his colleagues from both sides of the aisle in the House and State Senate. If this appropriate is approved, the benefits to the area will be tremendous and long-lasting.
Small Business Grants
Dec. 17, 2021 — Yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer awarded over $1 million to 41 small businesses in 28 communities across the state as part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Match on Main grant program. The program aims to support small, local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns while ensuring continued job growth in the state. Saginaw business Gee'Ques LLC is among the recipients of the $25,000 grants. State Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw) issued the following statement celebrating the award:
Rep. O’Neal said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. They provide vital goods and services to our residents and create new jobs. More than that, small businesses are what make each city and community unique. I’m so pleased that the governor and the MEDC are lending their support to small businesses throughout the state and right here in Saginaw. Simply put, without our small businesses, Saginaw wouldn’t be the great city that it is today. Congratulations to Gee’Ques!”
We have to restore our social safety net so that those struggling to make ends meet have the support they need.
House Bill 4340
In February 2021, Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw) introduced House Bill 4340 as part of House Democrats’ Hardworking Michiganders Recovery Plan, which will provide immediate relief for Michigan residents and help make sure no worker is left behind during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to restore our social safety net so that those struggling to make ends meet have the support they need to take care of themselves and their families,” O’Neal said. “That means expanding eligibility to cover underemployment or seasonal employment loss. We have been shown time and time again that some of the hardest working people in our communities are school employees. They are always there to ensure our students have a clean, safe, and healthy environment to learn in. It’s time we pay them back and ensure that when they can’t work because schools are closed, they have the resources they need.”
HB 4340 would allow low-wage school employees to collect unemployment benefits during the summer and winter break.
Other measures in the package include:
Increasing the weekly maximum for unemployment support from $362 to $593, and one year later restores indexing this figure to 58% of the state average weekly wage annually.
Restoring the number of benefit weeks from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, reversing the reduction to 20 weeks passed by legislative Republicans in 2012.
Increasing unemployment assistance from 4.1% to 6.1% of a worker’s highest quarter earnings.