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Special Update: Chamber Advocacy Team Has Great Success in Lame Duck Session

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team has had a successful showing in the lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature, playing a key role in the passing of several pieces of legislation. The Chamber team has consistently made bipartisan progress on its pro-business policy agenda on behalf of its members and is seeing the fruits of those efforts now. Read on for more information on the state of the Chamber’s key policies.

Regional Transit Authority Headed to Governor’s Desk

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) legislation has passed in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate, and is on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for signature. The RTA will bring major investment to the city of Detroit through the coordination of city and suburban bus services, the creation of a bus rapid transit system, and will potentially bring in millions in federal and private dollars for the creation of a streetcar line.

This is a positive step for economic development in Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team played a key role in its passage. The creation of an RTA has been one of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s top policy priorities for decades and the Chamber is very supportive of the recent movement in the Legislature on this issue.

Personal Property Tax Passes in Both Chambers

The personal property tax (PPT) repeal on industrial property has passed in both chambers of the legislature and is waiting to be signed by the Governor. The House Tax Policy Committee voted to limit PPT on businesses and create a complex system to replace the majority of lost revenue for local government agencies. The phase out of this tax will begin in 2016.

BCBSM Legislation on Gov. Snyder’s DeskDetroit Regional Chamber-supported legislation that would modernize Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and convert it to a mutual nonprofit insurer accountable to policyholders has passed in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. The legislation is now on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk to be signed into law. This legislation frees BCBSM of regulations not imposed on other commercial insurers, makes the insurer liable for taxes for the first time and requires the creation of a $1.5 billion fund to promote health and wellness.

New Emergency Manager Law Passes

Critical Detroit Regional Chamber-backed legislation to replace Public Act 4, the emergency manager statute repealed in November, has passed in both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. The new law provides four routes for local governments in a state of severe financial emergency: emergency management, mediation, a consent agreement or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

 

Legislation for Joe Louis Arena Replacement Passes

Both chambers of the legislature have passed legislation allowing for a new $650 million project in downtown Detroit to replace the Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Regional Chamber is supportive of this legislation, which would include a new home for the Detroit Red Wings. The proposed project is led by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who needs authority from the state to use the Downtown Development Act to gain Tax Increment Financing Authority funds for the proposed public-private project. The project is projected to generate $1.8 billion in economic activity.

Right-to-Work Bill Signed to Law

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation making right-to-work law in Michigan. These bills give workers the freedom to opt out of union membership, but the bills do not affect police and fire workers operating under a law giving them the right to collectively bargain. The Detroit Regional Chamber maintains its longstanding position of neutrality on this issue and will continue as such.

For more information on the Detroit Regional Chamber’s top policy priorities, click here.