Vital funding for St. Clair County Convention Center also secured
LANSING, Mich. — The Legislature on Tuesday finalized a plan that would better position Michigan as a premier state for private industry to invest and create jobs, said Senate Majority Floor Leader Dan Lauwers.
“When Ford announced it would be making major investments in other states to expand its manufacturing capabilities, as the home of the auto industry, Michigan was faced with the stark reality that it needed to act to stay competitive and retain and attract job providers to our state,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “At the same time, it was important that we not repeat past mistakes with business incentive plans that are bad for taxpayers.
“I believe the Make it in Michigan Plan we approved today strikes the right balance, while also protecting existing small businesses and hardworking Michigan families. The plan ensures smart budgeting of incentive dollars and includes transparency and accountability measures to ensure businesses uphold their ends of the bargain, all so our investments don’t go to waste.”
Senate Bill 769 would create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). The SOAR fund would receive funds through a legislative appropriation. Funds from SOAR would be transferred into the Critical Industry Fund (CIF) or Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Fund (MSSRF).
SB 770 would create the MSSRF to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants to conduct eligible activities to create investment-ready sites.
SB 771 would create the CIF, which would provide funds for qualified investments to qualified businesses for deal-closing, gap financing, or other economic assistance that create new qualified jobs and/or make capital investments (not for administrative purposes).
LEO must transmit reports on each of the three funds to each legislator, the governor, the clerk of the House, the secretary of the Senate, and the Senate and House fiscal agencies by March 15 of each year. If the report is not transmitted by March 15, no dollars from the unreported fund may be disbursed until the report has been transmitted.
SB 85 is a supplemental budget for 2022 and would designate $1 billion for the program.
As part of the plan, the Personal Property Tax exemption would increase from $80,000 to $180,000 for small businesses to help counter losses incurred because of COVID-19.
“Michigan small businesses are still struggling to recover from the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Lauwers said. “Adjusting the PPT exemption is a smart way to reduce their tax burden so they can focus on growing their businesses. At the same time, we knew this change would impact local governments, so it was important to help ensure they can continue to operate and provide services. These changes, along with the Make it in Michigan Plan, will go a long way to boosting our local and state economies, which is good for all of us.”
The Legislature also voted to approve an over $724 million fiscal year 2022 budget supplemental, which included $1 million for the St. Clair County Convention Center. The convention center is one of five throughout the state that is owned by a county government, but did not previously receive federal COVID-19 relief funds.
“The St. Clair County Convention Center, like many other businesses throughout Michigan, was severely impacted by the state’s response to the coronavirus of forcing these centers to close,” Lauwers said.. “I am grateful we were able to secure this much-needed funding to help the St. Clair County Convention Center recover from the unimaginable financial hardship it has experienced over the past year and a half.”
Highlights from the budget supplemental, which is primarily funded through federal grants provided to Michigan in response to COVID-19, include:
- $150 million to assist K-12 schools in dealing with COVID-19 testing;
- $193 million to assist local airports and rural transit authorities;
- $14 million to hire nurses at nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
- $10 million to support Teach for America to address the state’s ongoing teacher shortage; and
- $100,000 in state funds to support mental health services for students, teachers, parents, administrators and first responders in the Oxford High School community.
“The unprecedented amount of federal funding Michigan received to help our communities come back from the coronavirus pandemic should be invested wisely, and today’s action ensures that it will,” Lauwers said.
The Make it in Michigan Plan and FY22 budget supplemental will now go to the governor for signing.