Michigan Picking the Wrong Battles

October 25, 2005

Michigan lawmakers are currently debating ways to improve the state’s economy and business climate. In fact, proposals to fix the state’s major business tax, the VAT-style Single Business Tax (SBT) have been submitted by the Governor’s Office and both houses of the legislature. However, two articles in today’s Detroit Free Press discuss alternate ways of spurring Michigan’s economy.

State Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, has introduced a new element into the debate over the Michigan Single Business Tax: a provision that would rebate increases in state revenue beyond inflation back to businesses. (Full article here.)

Additionally, another bill proposes to make audits more business-friendly:

House Republicans in Lansing said Monday they’ll introduce a package of bills this week designed to make Michigan Department of Treasury tax audits more business-friendly. The bills would, among other things, bar retroactive rule making by the Treasury and give businesses the option of an informal hearing before contesting a tax bill in court. (Full article here. )

These proposals might make Michigan’s business climate marginally better, but they avoid the root of the state’s actual problem. Business is being driven out by the SBT, and until lawmakers fix it, businesses in Michigan will continue to struggle.

Look for the 2005 version of the State Business Tax Climate Index in the coming weeks for more on Michigan’s business climate, as well as the other states.

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