Clock is ticking on dark stores

Capital News Service
LANSING — A delay in changing the tax math for big-box stores could cost local governments big bucks for generations, say supporters of a bill that would stop the stores from claiming big tax breaks. “That’s the really scary thing,” said Greg Seppanen, a former Marquette County commissioner fighting low tax assessments as part of the county’s Citizens for Fair Share. The Michigan Tax Tribunal hears appeals from taxpayers who think their municipality has over-assessed the value of their property. In 2013, the tribunal agreed with a big-box store that said the value of its property had more to do with their business and less to do with property characteristics. This ushered in a wave of big-box stores demanding tax breaks and pointing to vacant big-box stores  as evidence that local governments were overcharging them.

Business tax climate warms, but are funds for services at risk?

Capital News Service
LANSING — A new report suggests the repeal of the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) dramatically boosted the Michigan’s tax climate, but many officials and experts say there’s still room for improvement in the state’s tax policy. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan group in Washington, ranked Michigan 12th in the nation in overall business tax climate, a 7-point jump from its rank last year. The state also saw the largest rise in corporate business tax climate, moving from 49th to 7th in one year. The report based its findings on an evaluation of each state’s tax structure. Compared to other Midwest states, the foundation said Michigan’s business climate is one of the best — Illinois ranked 29th while Ohio and Wisconsin came in at 39th and 43rd respectively.

Nurtured small businesses create 10,000 new jobs

Capital News Service
LANSING – With an unemployment rate at 9 percent in July and the loss of 500,000 workers in Michigan since 2001, the good news seems to be the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs in small business across the state since January. The new jobs reflect a situation improved by the business tax reform, regulation revision in the state, as well as an increasing sense of entrepreneurship, experts say. Business tax reform exempts most small business from business taxation, providing a financial advantage for people to step into small businesses, and a strong co-business attitude helps individuals understand regulations and laws, Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan president, said. Allen Cook from the Michigan District Office of U.S. Small Business Administration said starting a business often is an economic decision by individuals who can’t find a job in large company to. “People are looking to take control of their own economic destiny,” he said.

Counties, business groups, state officials seek ways to stem revenue loss from tax reform

Capital News Service
LANSING—With Gov. Rick Snyder planning to propose reforms to Michigan’s personal property tax this month, many counties and businesses are speculating about potential ways to replace lost revenue. Businesses pay personal property tax on their equipment. Critics say the tax discourages businesses from growing because they pay more as they invest in equipment. But local governments are worried because the tax accounts for anywhere from 3 percent to 27 percent of revenue for Michigan counties. “We won’t be proposing to totally do away with personal property taxes but to both change the way the system works and get rid of certain classifications of personal property taxes that do the most harm to Michigan,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said.