Michigan Legislative Update
Week of May 21, 2015
by Judy Augenstein
This week the newly set Roads and Economic Development Committee met to discuss new legislation to require competitive bidding by country road commissions , legislation to change bidding requirements for road contracts and to modify warranties on road repairs. Next week the special committee will discuss legislation to modify the sales tax on motor fuel, modifications to the motor fuel tax and registration fees. The farm plate/log plate remain intact in the bill, but I am confident Rep. Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser will attempt to eliminate the plates. I have met with the lobbyist for the Farm Bureau in an effort to "team up" with him on the issue as we have done in the past.
A 12 bill package of bills were introduced that constitute Speaker Kevin Cotter's package to address the long term road repair/construction plan. The Cotter plan relies heavily on shifting existing state funds to roads and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. The plan would phase-in funding for roads over four years. In the fourth year, the plan aims to dedicate $1.05 billion in additional dollars to roads. The Senate did not introduce a road repair/construction plan this week.
The House of Representatives passed legislation this week to repeal the prevailing wage. HB 4052 would prohibit local governments from passing wage eave and benefit requirements. The bill now moves to the Senate for further action.
I continue to meet with the members of the House Commerce and Trade Committee regarding HB 4579, sponsor, Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township. It amazes me how so many legislators still "think" of the Amish as the Amish of "ole".
A final framework for the 2015-16 fiscal year budget is nearly complete and is expected to include a 1.5 percent increase in aid for public university operations as well as a $400 million General Fund commitment for roads. The chairs of the House and Senate budget committees can now finalize budgets for each department and the budget conference committees can move forward with negotiations.
New legislation to view at www.legislature.mi.gov
HB 4605, Rep Pscholka, earmarks a portion of general fund to transportation fund.
HB 4506, Rep. Potvin, earmarks portion of sales tax to transportation fund.
HB 4607, Rep. Pettalia, allows a portion of 21st century jobs fund to transportation fund.
HB 4608, Rep. Chatfield, allows portion of Michigan strategic fund to transportation fund.
HB 4609, Rep. Farrington, eliminates the earned income tax credit.
HB 4610, Rep. Miller, requires competitive bidding by road commissions.
HB 4611, Rep. Canfield, changes bidding requirements for road projects.
HB 4612, Rep. Leutheuser, modifies registration fees.
HB 4613, Rep. Lauwers, modifies warranties on highway construction and repairs.
HB 4614, Rep. LaFontaine, modifies sales/use tax on motor fuel.
HB 4615, Rep. VerHeulen, modifies the motor fuel tax.
HB 4616, Rep. McCready, creates a flat tax rate on fuel.
The 12 bill package was referred to the new House Committee on Roads and Economic Development.