Today, voters across the state will be asked to increase the sales tax that customers pay at the register, this time as a part of funding package for maintenance of the state’s roads known as Proposal 1. Voters in Michigan passed a similar ballot question over 15 years ago, in 1994, in order to pay for a school-funding reform package. The two ballot proposals differ greatly though, because of another contrasting detail, aside from what the money was being used for. In 1994, the ballot didn’t really raise taxes, according to Lansing public relations executive John Truscott. Truscott said the 1994 proposal, known as Proposal A, came after lawmakers reduced property taxes and voted to replace the lost revenue with an income tax increase.
Proposal 1 has generated plenty of controversy throughout the state of Michigan before elections in May 2015 and Lansing has its foot in the conversation as well. The question reads, “A proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to replace and supplement reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government,” according to the official ballot question release. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said, “I’m not terribly enthused about it because I’m not a fan of the sales tax.”
Said Bernero: “It’s not that I disagree with where the money would go. The money would go to roads, school, and local government. Those are all good.
BY COLLIN KRIZMANICH
Capital News Service
LANSING — Many businesses across northern Michigan will benefit from a new law that subjects online retailers such as Amazon and Overstock.com to the same 6 percent sales tax that “brick-and-mortar” businesses collect from consumers. The Main Street Fairness Act will affect any online retailer that has a physical presence in the state of Michigan, or has subsidiaries that have a physical presence in the state. The legislation specifically notes businesses that have warehouses and distribution centers in the state, in what is seen as an attempt to target large online retailers such as Amazon. When the law goes into effect on Oct. 15, it will make Michigan the 23rd state to enact legislation subjecting online retailers to what is more commonly known as the “Amazon tax.”
The Senate Fiscal Agency projects the law will bring in $50 million in new revenue for the state each year.
By LAUREN GIBBONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — The fight to impose a sales tax on online businesses is fizzling once again with the end of legislative session. The likely doomed legislation, sponsored by Reps. Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake Township, and Jim Ananich, D-Flint, would amend the sales tax law to include online businesses. The bills were an attempt to hold the booming online sales industry to the same tax-collecting standards as its brick-and-mortar counterparts. But with the end of the legislative session rapidly approaching, hopes of continuing the discussion about an online sales tax, let alone getting the legislation through the lame duck House and Senate, grow increasingly slim.