The Michigan-Indiana Border War

For the past 35+years I have been witness to the Michigan-Indiana economic development border war. It seems that Michigan has always sought a “one-better” economic development incentive over Indiana to offer businesses comparing the two states for location of a new facility.

Today we have the ability to gain a better understanding of the state policy underpinning economic development efforts of the State of Indiana. 


In Governors Mitch Daniels book Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans we have the opportunity to study the current Indiana economic development policy of lower taxes, downsized government bureaucracy, government fiscal solvency and organized labor cooperation in an attempt to understand economic development competitiveness between these two states.

Yes – this is a read about the Republican Party economic development platform playing out on the national election stage.  But the facts are clear; Indiana’s economic future relies on reinvention of the manufacturing economy – especially the automotive sector. 

Once decimated communities of Andersen, Kokomo, and Fort Wayne are today noted as “come-back” communities now hosting new jobs for Hoosiers – former “out of work” auto workers.

Daniels philosophy is quite clear.  He believes that “a properly conceived and restrained federal government [and for that matter, state government] must be aimed in every way possible at the growth of the private sector economy”.


For comparison – we have the recent past Michigan economic development philosophy fostered by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granhom, documented in her book A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future.

Granhom’s Democratic Party philosophy of increased government intervention and economic planning (think green jobs, solar panels, battery manufacturing, and movie film production) is in direct opposition to the Mitch Daniels philosophy.

The belief that the private sector is a jungle of predators again which Michigan government must safeguard its economy through government programs to compete for jobs and investment has up to recently times been the foundation of Michigan’s economic development program.


For Michigan’s economic development policy makers, for the first time, we have two national leaders detailing very different agendas for reinventing national and state economies.   

In Michigan change is necessary and underway –a philosophy being clearly communicated by current Governor Rick Snyder, some changes even based on Mitch Daniels successes.

For local governmental officials and economic development practitioners we have the responsibility to offer guidance to state economic development policy – policies that will play out in the media during the next 12-month election period.

The stakes are quite high for the economic development practitioners who are held accountable for the creation of new jobs and investment in their local communities.

Reading both the Granhom and Daniels book will go a long way in helping understand the national and state economic revitalization discussion forthcoming.

Tags: , , , , , ,

One Response to “The Michigan-Indiana Border War”

  1. craighullinger Says:

    Excellent article. I posted a link to it from my blog,

    We spend a great deal of money and time in border wars among governments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: