Michigan Legislative Update
Week of June 11, 2015
by Judy Augenstein
This week the House of Representatives passed Speaker Kevin Cotter's road plan. According to a House Fiscal Agency analysis the 12 bill package would generate close to $1.2 for roads.
House Minority Leader Sam Singh, D-Lansing and Rep. Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser offered amendments to reduce truck weights and to increase registration fees for heavy trucks. The amendments did not pass. The farm/log plate stayed intact much to the dismay of some democrats. The package passed the House primarily along party lines with Republicans voting "yes" as most democrats voted "no".
HB 4609, one of the most controversial bills of the package would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed 57-52. Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan commented that he has qualified for the credit and likely will again when he leaves the House.
HB 4605 and HB 4606 would dedicate certain General Fund revenues to roads. These bills passed 62-47 and 64-45. HB 4607 and HB 4608 would dedicate funds previously used for economic development to roads and passed 60-49 and 59-50.
HB 4610 and HB 4611 would provide for competitive bidding and passed 63-46 and 65-44. HB 4612 passed 59-50 and creates an increased registration fee for hybrid/and electric vehicles.
HB 4613 would require warranties on certain road projects and passed with the most support at 100-9 and HB 4614, HB 4615 and HB 4616 would bring diesel fuel taxes up to the standard gasoline tax and tie the gasoline taxes to inflation. The bills passed 59-50, 58-51 and 58-51.
The House road bills were sent to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekof, R-West Olive. Senate Republicans have caucused every day this week developing their road plan.
Also this week, legislation passed the House to allow qualified forest and qualified agriculture to be on the same land. SB 217, sponsored by Senator Darwin Booher, R-Evart, merges the two tax abatement programs on lands that house both agriculture and forestry as long as there is minimum acreage of each. Both programs exempt the property from the 18 mill non-homestead property tax for schools. The bill was concurred in by the Senate today.