Bouchard announces Construction Jobs Now plan

By Annie Stodola

??With the election for governor coming up in November, Michigan residents have begun to hear a number of improvement plans from candidates.

Mike Bouchard, one of the candidates and Oakland County Sheriff, has come up with a plan called Michigan Construction Jobs Now.

This plan proposes a 12-month window of opportunity where both home and business owners can build additions, remodel, and renovate while being exempt from property tax increases until the property is sold.

Under the current law, the value of home renovations becomes part of the property tax.

“My program gives Michigan a much needed economic jump-start by fueling a demand for builders, contractors, and suppliers,” Bouchard said. “It also will lead to long-term investments in Michigan by encouraging hometown job providers to enhance the value of their properties now. If we provide the opportunities, Michigan’s builders, contractors and suppliers will get the job done,” Bouchard said.

Oakland University freshman Justine Roy said she supports the proposal.

“I think that Bouchard’s proposal sounds like a fantastic idea,” Roy said. “It would really help a lot of home and business owners out that are looking to sell. We see many businesses that are run down because the owners can’t afford the taxes, and it’s kind of sad.”

Bouchard received positive feedback after pitching his plan to various builders, contractors and top legislators.

Bouchard said his plan will help residents achieve the “American dream” by making the building process more accessible. He expects the plan will cause a ripple effect, starting with the builders, leading to plumbers.

In 2008, the construction trades sector lost 25,500 jobs, and about one third of overall workers are unemployed.

With the “Construction Jobs Now” plan, businesses and homeowners will have an incentive to push ahead with their renovations.

Once the renovations are ignited, Bouchard hopes this will generate job growth amongst electricians, lumber yards, heating and cooling specialists, painters, plumbers and roofers, putting thousands of Michigan’s unemployed back to work.

The goals for the plan include not only stimulating job growth, but also generating economic growth in the government with building permits, inspection fees, sales taxes on building supplies and income tax from jobs created.

Since 2005, the number of building permits dropped 84 percent. But with Bouchard’s plan, he hopes to turn the economy around.

“This plan sounds great, it seems like it will give immense opportunity to our overall state and economy. I think that our current governor has failed to improve our economy and if Bouchard was elected I’d have hope for the future,” OU freshman Katie Swift said.

“This plan sounds better than anything pitched by our current governor, and I myself am looking forward to the future of Michigan,” sophomore Thomas Schandewski said. “I have always had an interest in the remodeling process of Detroit, and if this plan helps to move that process along then that’s even better. I love Michigan with all of it’s seasons, and history and I want nothing more than to see it’s economy improve so that it can continue to thrive.”