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Chamber Testifies on PPE Tax Relief Package

Detroit Regional Chamber Government Relations Director Matt Patton testified before the Michigan House Tax Committee to back a package of bills that would exempt purchases of PPE from the sales and use taxes and provide a refundable income tax credit to employers who submit their COVID-19 safety plans at the time of tax filing. View an at-a-glance overview of the proposed legislation.

Read Patton’s testimony below, and watch the full video.

Chair Afendoulis and members of this committee, I’d like to begin by first thanking all of you and the work of your respective offices, policy staff in both parties, and the Department of Treasury for the important work and robust debates heard here – especially since the onset of this unprecedented pandemic.

My name is Matt Patton and I work for the Detroit Regional Chamberan organization representing businesses in the 11-county greater Detroit region for a century – back when my ancestors and some of yours settled there and by doing so, created an economic rebound in the wake of our last global pandemic.

Today, I’m here in support of three bills we feel can more swiftly and safely aid in the recovery from the dual economic and health crises we’ve all been challenged by over the past seven months challenges that our state’s job providers have carried the weight of in ways only they fully feel.

They’ve:

  • Faced sometimes unknown but now obvious health risks of COVID-19, which led to closed doors and dreams of businesses large and small.
  • Faced reopening after weeks of lost business only to find doing so is more expensive in order to stay open with new costs of PPE and cleaning products.
  • Lost sleep, friends, loved ones, teammates, and hope for their American dreams along the way.

The goal of these bills is straightforwardTo make PPE more affordable.

Right now in our state, PPE is only exempt for industrial processors – meaning, if you’re a business that does anything other than manufacture goods for retail but still deals with the same challenges to stay open, you pay taxes on PPE.

These bills are an opportunity to change that while also incentivizing job stability and growth by using purchases of the same items that can slow this virus, speed up our economic recovery, keep doors open, and our state’s heartbeat strong as a mechanism to accomplish those goals.

As long as we live with COVID-19, businesses will be purchasing the items named in these bills because they want to stay healthy and open. These bills recognize that reopening sectors of our economy that can do so safely means businesses should not be punished by taxes for both simply and courageously doing what is needed to stay open.

Certainly, here in Lansing, offering financial relief by way of state law for businesses ultimately leads to a discussion of dollars and cents – so, let’s talk about where those dollars come from.

  • They came from the family who already risked everything on an idea that turned into jobs for their community.
  • They came from people in our state who purchased the goods they needed for their own families – the cars they drive, the food they eat, the roofs over their heads, and the clothes that keep them warm.
  • Especially during these challenging times, those dollars belong to the people that keep the state we all call home alive.

As you soon vote on a challenging state budget, each penny matters – but the pennies collected by the items currently taxed under existing state law would not have came in this year if not for an unprecedented pandemic. I’m here today to ask if you too feel it belongs back in the working hands of those who created them during these most challenging months so they can better afford the challenges of staying open and protecting those who keep our state’s heartbeat strong, or if it belongs in the hands of government.

Your yes or no vote is not always a simple question. Making policy never is. Few understand that. You do.We look forward to continuing a conversation on this package.

And so, I’ll conclude not by asking if you’re down with PPE, but instead ask whether or not PPE should be more affordable or if the state should continue to profit from the necessity of it.

This bill package has support from several chambers of commerce statewide, the Small Business Association of Michigan, Michigan Manufacturers Association, and others. Discussions on this package will continue into next week.


Related:

Chamber-Backed PPE Tax Relief Package Would Help Businesses Retain Employees

Bipartisanship and Budget Gaps: Takeaways from Lansing