Michigan Legislative Update
Week of February 19, 2015
by Judy Augenstein
It was reported this week that the tax credits that sank the state's budget this year are not only sticking around, they are going to keep costing Michigan more money until 2029, according to the projections the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) shared with legislators this week. A deal was reached this week to build the Detroit customs plaza that would accompany the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) bridge between the U.S. and Canada.
The fee increases that Governor Rick Snyder is recommending for the 2015-16 fiscal year total about half the amount as first thought. Initially, it was thought that Snyder's proposed new fees and increased fees would mean $26 million in new revenue, however, after a second look it is estimated the new fees/increases will generate $14 million. Proposed fees for air emissions will generate $2.25 million in new money alone.
Today, a legislative office forwarded to me a memo Rep. Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser is circulating requesting her colleagues to co-sponsor legislation to drop truck weights from 164,000 lbs. to 80,000 lbs. She intends to submit the bill next Tuesday, February 24. Her reasoning is the same as usual--she contends Michigan has one of the heaviest weight limits in the nation and lowering truck weights would preserve our infrastructure.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle did not support the issue of reducing truck weights last session and I expect he will not support it this time around. I plan to meet with Rep. Pettalia as soon as the bill is sponsored and referred to committee. Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant shared with me at his fall fund-raiser that he does not support lowering truck weights, but I will revisit the issue with him too. Unfortunately, there are Republican committee members who also support lowering truck weights as do other House Republicans. Therefore, we must stay vigilant!