Legislative Update

Call to Action: Support Transformational Investment in Northern Michigan

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance are strong supporters of Senate Bills 111-115, a package of bills that recently passed the Michigan Senate. The bills create a transformational brownfield program that targets some of the most challenging properties and buildings to redevelop. The program would allow brownfield projects of a certain level of investment in a multi-use development project to capture income tax from new residents and employees on the property and a portion of the sales tax from construction costs. The idea is to help close financing gaps that are the difference between a multi-use transformational project, and a vacant, obsolete property or building.
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BLM income tax incentive legislation

Bills backed by Business Leaders for Michigan and the Good Jobs for Michigan coalition will soon be introduced in the Senate. I have recently confirmed that they will be moving forward without smaller thresholds for jobs, and will maintain numbers of 500 jobs and 250 jobs. I was in Lansing this week and had the opportunity to sit down with most of our legislators or staff to let them know the bill was going to be reintroduced, that it had numbers that would not work in rural areas, and that we liked the concept, but would love to find a way forward with these that would include a rural component. This was very well received and all offered to help. However, these bills will have a long way to go in the House due to the politics surrounding the income tax reduction vote that failed last week. A hearing is being scheduled for Thursday, March 16th in the Senate Economic Dev. Committee.

Budget priorities

While in Lansing, Sarah Hubbard and I were also able to sit down with State Budget Director Al Pscholka’s chief of staff and share our budget priorities for 2017. He believes that a number of them are in really good shape so far, including:

  • Pure Michigan – $36 million
  • Narrowing K-12 per pupil gap using the 2x formula
  • Increase to Skilled Trades Training Fund
  • Alpena NRTF grant – confirmed it was in Sen. Booher’s supplemental appropriations bill (SB 76)
  • Confirmed North Central Michigan College capital outlay project was high on the list of preferred projects. He could not confirm status of NMC or ACC cap outlay projects

We can’t take this to the bank yet – there is a long way to go in the process – but feel free to share the news with interested parties/members.

Impact of the income tax reduction vote

A meeting with Rep. Chatfield this week confirmed that the income tax reduction vote that failed last week is likely to hang over other priorities and issues in the immediate future. It will certainly have an impact on the transformational brownfield package, the BLM package, and the budget process. He was very clear that House leadership believes there needs to be general income tax relief before giving more business/investor relief.
Carlin was also in Lansing on Thursday and had a few meetings with key legislators – including Reps. Chatfield and Cole – on the transformational brownfield legislation. It will be important that we can show the potential impact in our communities to our legislators, hence the “Call to action” above.

GLMCC Wash.,DC Fly-In Next Week

I will in Washington, DC Tuesday-Thursday of next week for the GL Metro Chambers Coalition Fly-In. This year, our advocacy issues will include Infrastructure (The Soo Locks!), Trade (NAFTA) and Immigration. We’ll also plan to touch on energy issues with a few key members.

 

Kent Wood
Director of Government Relations
Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance
kentw@tcchamber.org| 231-995-7109

Leadership

A program for community awareness, networking and leadership skill development. This nine-month program is dedicated to the development of leadership skills through education, awareness and networking relationships.
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