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Legislative Update: Health Insurance Tax Repeal, Autonomous Cars, and Brownfields Incentives Among Bills to Watch

The Michigan Legislature is back in session this week, and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team is working closely with elected leaders on several bills under consideration that impact economic growth and the business community throughout the region. Proposed bills include repeal of the HICA insurance tax, TIF Brownfield incentives and autonomous vehicle regulations. Chamber members are encouraged to contact their local legislators to express their support on these key issues for a stronger business climate in Michigan.

Senate Bills 987-990: Health Insurance Claims Assessment Repeal
Legislation repealing the HICA (health insurance claims assessment) tax was approved by the House Insurance Committee on Sept. 15 and heads to the full House for final passage this week. If approved, the HICA will expire as originally planned on Jan. 1, 2017, while guaranteeing reliable funding for traditional Medicaid programs. The HICA tax is a .75 percent tax on health insurance claims paid by individuals and businesses and has added nearly $1 billion to the cost of health insurance since its enactment in 2011.

House Bill 5765: Michigan Tax Tribunal Reform
A hearing on this bill that would provide much-needed structural and operational reforms to the Michigan Tax Tribunal process took place this week in the House of Representatives’ Tax Policy Committee. The legislation was originally introduced as a result of feedback and workgroup participation by members of the Chamber’s Tax Committee. The Chamber is advocating for a full vote in the House this fall.

Senate Bills 1061-1065: TIF Brownfield “Transformational Projects”
The Chamber has been actively engaged in a coalition effort to enact a newly proposed tax incentive to build on the successes of Michigan’s Brownfield Tax Increment Financing program, providing an innovative tool to encourage large, multi-use projects that would otherwise not be economically viable. The legislation passed in the Senate’s Economic Development and International Investment Committee, and is expected to receive a full vote soon.

Senate Bills 995-998: Autonomous Vehicle Regulations
A package of bills placing Michigan as a national leader in regulating the testing and operations of autonomous vehicles received a hearing in the House Communications and Technology Committee on Sept. 13, after passing in the Senate with a unanimous vote. The Chamber testified in support of this crucial legislation to help develop the next generation of intelligent mobility and connected vehicle technology. A full vote in the House is expected soon.