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Gongwer News Highlights, February 16, 2017

Jon Harrison
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Leonard, Snyder Tax Dispute Escalates

House Speaker Tom Leonard said Thursday he was disappointed with Governor Rick Snyder's criticism of the income tax rollback plan he supports and was reported by a House committee this week and he is prepared to fight to get tax relief.

As House GOP Eyes Income Tax Cut, A Sense Higher Ed Under Microscope

Majority House Republicans have yet to publicly say how they plan to pay for an income tax cut that would reduce revenues by $680 million in the upcoming fiscal year, but the buzz among their members is that the higher education budget is a big target for reductions to cover some of the cost.

Brownfield Redevelopment Bills Clear Senate Committee

The impact of the House's income tax rollback proposal loomed heavy over a package of bills allowing developers to capture some tax revenues to finance projects redeveloping large brownfield sites as the bills cleared a Senate committee Thursday.

House GOP Action Plan Does Not Include Prevailing Wage Repeal

House Republicans on Thursday announced their action plan for the current term by declaring priorities in broader categories rather than listing specific policy proposals. Their top priorities include tax relief and corrections reform, but prevailing wage repeal - a top priority of the previous term - did not make the list.

House Panel Questions Lack Of Increase For Community Colleges

Members of the House Appropriations Community Colleges Subcommittee questioned the essentially flat spending proposed for the colleges as that budget was presented Thursday.

Secretary Johnson Exploring State Senate Run

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the 14th Senate District seat currently held by Sen. Dave Robertson, who lent his support to her interest.

State Files Motion To Block Discovery In Howe Bridge Case

Charging that the state is being asked to produce what could turn out to be hundreds of thousands of documents in a case trying to block action on the prospective Gordie Howe International Bridge, lawyers for the state have asked the Court of Claims to block discovery sought by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

Mackinac Center Renews Challenge Of Bed Tax

This time with the Sylvan Inn and Lakeshore Inn as plaintiffs, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau as the target, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has renewed its effort to end bed taxes.

Special Election Called For 1st House District

Governor Rick Snyder on Thursday announced an August primary and November general election in the 1st House District where former Rep. Brian Banks resigned earlier this month as part of a plea deal.

State Opens Feedback On Coordination Of Benefits In Section 298

The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday opened a survey for the public that will help provide input on proposals to coordinate Medicaid benefits for mental health and physical health recipients.

Senate Panel Reviews General Government Budget

The Senate Appropriations General Government Subcommittee got its first look Thursday at Governor Rick Snyder's proposal for the departments included in that budget area, which includes the Unemployment Insurance Agency in the Department of Talent and Economic Development, though there was no discussion about the issues surrounding that agency as of late.

Gas/Oil Lease Auction

The Department of Natural Resources announced it has scheduled an auction for state oil and natural gas rights for May 4. The department is offering 1,900 acres of rights in Arenac, Clare, Iosco, Kalamazoo and Montmorency counties.
Maps of the available parcels are posted on the DNR website. Comments on the classification of the parcels are due April 11 to DNR-Minerals@michigan.gov. The final catalog is scheduled to be available after April 13.

Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #56, Report 33,  February 16, 2017.

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