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PLYMOUTH, MI-A key group of the state’s business and labor leaders say Michigan must have the Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. Leaders from key manufacturers, labor unions and governmental agencies gathered here Monday for the Michigan Manufacturing Summit, agreeing to a series of “concensus” items that feature the retention of MEGA–a quasi-governmental agency that secures grants, loans and other support for business–high on the list of priorities.

MEGA was created under former Gov. John Engler and is set to expire at the end of the year. The re-authorization of MEGA has been in doubt for for several months as the state looks for ways to eliminate shortfalls in the state budget due to the sluggish economy.

“We all agree MEGA must be re-authorized by the state legislature,” Granholm said at a press conference attended by GlobeSt.com at the conclusion of the summit. If re-authorized, MEGA will be ordered to focus primarily on business retention efforts.

Granholm also signed an executive order creating a “one-stop shop” in the state’s new Department of Labor and Economic Growth to allow businesses to have better interaction with the state.

“Currently, our state’s permitting and licensing process for businesses is a maze of bureacracy and red tape,” she said. “This initiative will create a clear path to economic expansion and growthg in Michigan.”

Granholm also ordered Steve Chester, director of the Department of Environmental Quality, to streamline the process of granting air quality permits to manufacturers. Now, she said, delays of up to 24 months in that process are not uncommon. She told Chester to get that number down to six months–without sacraficing environmental standards.

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