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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 3/25/05



Hummer of a Tax Break -  House Tax Committee reported HB 4204 to reduce sales tax on gasoline if it exceeds $2.30 /gallon.  Of course, this means the tax breaks will first apply to drivers whose use premium gasoline, and be larger for those who drive gas hogs - good deal if you happen to drive a Hummer.  Our suggestions that the working poor would prefer better public transit options, or a income tax credit for a portion of the nearly 20% of their budget that is spent on transportation costs were ignored.  Contact your state legislator and tell them what you think.

Your Hummer will also come in handy driving on Michigan roads this spring (what potholes).  The next hearing by the Joint Transportation Committees on Governor's Granholm's "Fix it First" approach to roads will take place in Brighton on Monday.

Legislature will be on break for the next two weeks.

Senate

Passed:

SB 79 ? Authorizes and requires voter approval for imposing up a fee more than $2.00 per household to fund waste reduction programs (to a maximum of $4.00).  Counties currently have this authority for imposing the first $2.00 per household.

SB 282 ? Provides for an limited exemptions from the soil erosion and sedimentation control program for certain residential projects and a general permit for the maintenance of others, such as seawalls.

House

On the calendar:

HB 4204 - This bill eliminates the 6 cent sales tax on gas to the extent that it exceeds $2.30 gallon.

HB 4257 - The bill reduces the taxes that farmers would pay on their property to $5 acre be providing them a tax credit against their income or Single Business Tax payment to property taxes paid above that amount. The program is limited to only 200,000 acres - in order to limit the the lost tax revenue to the state to $2-3 million.  If applied to all property the bill would cost the state more than $30 million a year (depending on enrollment).  Unlike the current program (PA 116), this act has does not limit the property taxes credit based on the income level of the taxpayer.  The bill does not follow the recommendations of the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council on this point.   

In committee:

No other committee hearings until the week of 4/11-4/15.

Joint Meetings

Joint Transportation will meet on Monday (3/28) at 5:30 pm at Brighton City Hall, 200 N. First Street, Brighton MI 48116 to take up:

Presentation and public testimony on the 5-Year Transportation Program by Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Submitted by:

James Clift
Brad Garmon
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539
www.mecprotects.org