Many years ago, the late, great, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, famously said “You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time.”
In recent weeks, has been considerable confusion about Proposal 1, which will appear on the August 5, 2014 Michigan ballot. Although the wording of the proposal itself is very complicated, the proposed policy change deals with this very question: How should Michigan treat businesses? Especially during the political season, we hear a lot of rhetoric about jobs. But, unfortunately, Michigan’s tax code does not reflect that priority. The Personal Property Tax (PPT), an often onerous and limiting tax on Michigan businesses, discourages new investment in our state, and makes it more difficult for existing Michigan businesses to thrive.
Proposal 1 will not affect your individual taxes. It reflects a compromise, developed by state policymakers, business owners, local community leaders, and tax experts. When the reform was first proposed, the process was somewhat inelegant, and for that reason the change had many opponents; for example, there was concern that much-needed funding to local governments would be severely reduced, which would have been devastating to communities throughout the state. The final product, Proposal 1, eliminates the PPT for many types of businesses and replaces the revenue to local governments, supporting core programs, like police and fire. The lost revenue is made up through expiring business tax credits, and a more equitable and modest assessment to manufacturers.
A recent article in The Saline Reporter profiles a Saline resident, Julie McFarland, who is the President of Saline’s McNaughton & Gunn. Her company is exactly the kind of business that eliminating the PPT would help: McNaughton & Gunn is very active in the community, and its leadership and staff understand the importance of giving back. Eliminating the PPT will help Julie, and countless other hardworking business owners, be more competitive.
For many proponents of Proposal 1, explaining this issue has been quite difficult, because the changes are so technical, and cannot be boiled down into a few short catch phrases. But, a large number of diverse organizations have formally supported the proposal – to learn more, please visit www.strongandsafecommunities.com.
I encourage you to learn more – I will be voting “yes” on Proposal 1 – and I hope you will join me.
Brian D. Marl
Mayor of Saline