MichiganVotes.org is a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to provide concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. This report was released Friday, Nov. 19.
The House and Senate are on break until Nov. 30, so rather than votes, this report describes some of the many “economic development” bills introduced this year to give selective subsidies and tax breaks to certain corporations and developers. Approximately 20 such bills have been introduced in 2021, with two already signed into law and several others already passed by either the House or Senate (but not both). This report describes some of those that have not yet received a vote.
House Bill 4827: Authorize residential housing development subsidies
Introduced by Rep. John Roth (R), to authorize a new selective property tax for developers, this one for residential housing. The owner of a new or refurbished residential property on at least one acre in an eligible “district” would get a 50% property tax break for 12 years. This would be available to individuals earning up to 125% of the local median income. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 615: Authorize $300 million more in state business owner subsidies
Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R), to authorize a new corporate subsidy program that would let certain businesses and developers collect (and require the state to forego) up to $300 million of the income tax paid by employees and residents. Officials in the state agency in charge of delivering subsidies to business owners they select could approve up to 40 new subsidy deals each year through 2026. The bill was advanced by the Committee On Economic And Small Business Development with a “favorable” recommendation.
House Bill 4979: Ban device to boost corporate welfare payments
Introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R), to prohibit the state department in charge of giving selective subsidies to certain corporations and developers, called the “Michigan Strategic Fund,” from designating a property as a tax exempt “renaissance zone” unless it is located entirely in an “eligible distressed area” as defined in a state housing law. This has been used many times to convert selective tax breaks into outright cash subsidies estimated to cost state taxpayers as much as $9 billion over 20 years. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4544: Stop earmarking Indian casino revenue to corporate subsidy programs
Introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R), to establish that all money and assets held by the “Michigan Strategic Fund” state department are declared public money and assets, and like other state receipts, may be spent only as authorized by an appropriation enacted by the Legislature and as provided by law. Also, to redirect $60 million in annual Indian casino revenue now earmarked to this agency to transportation and road funding budgets instead. The “Strategic Fund” is the state government agency that oversees giving taxpayer-funded subsidies to particular corporations and developers selected by its staff and approved by a board of political appointees. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4423: Let more municipalities incur “land bank” debt
Introduced by Rep. David LaGrand (D), to expand the municipalities that may incur debt related to their buying and selling properties in a government “land bank fast track authority.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4060: Authorize government “microenterprise” business subsidies
Introduced by Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D), to authorize state government subsidies for “microenterprise businesses.” The subsidies could be loan guarantees of up to $35,000 plus some other benefits, to be distributed by “microenterprise development organizations” to which the state would give grants. The bill would also create a state government “Center on Microenterprise Development” to determine which private organizations would get the grant money. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4646: Expand certain developer subsidies, with preference to “compact” developments
Introduced by Rep. Kyra Bolden (D), to permit any city, village or township to authorize selective “neighborhood enterprise zone (NEZ)” tax breaks for certain developers, rather than just county seats and certain “distressed communities.” Subsidized projects would have to be ones determined to encourage “compact development and adjacent to existing development and can utilize existing infrastructure.” Referred to committee, no further action at this time.