LANSING, MI — The Michigan Senate plans to take up legislation allowing large brownfield projects to capture taxes this week, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, confirmed.
Senate Bills 1061-1065 would create a “transformational” brownfield credit allowing communities to capture sales, use and income taxes for large projects. The tax captures would help offset developer costs of a large project, and developers would be required to put up a certain level of private funding.
Projects would start with local approval before making their way up to the state-level Michigan Strategic Fund. The MSF could approve five such projects per year. Planned amendments would also cap tax captures at $50 million per year and require a third-party review of a project’s fiscal analysis, according to subscriber-based capitol news service Gongwer.
The bills are backed by Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans and the MI Thrive coalition. Jared Fleisher, a senior advisor with Gilbert’s Rock Ventures, said big projects would help revitalize urban cores in an interview with MLive earlier this month.
“What this about is making big, exciting projects happen across the state. It’s really every corner of the state,” Fleisher said.
And for businesses, big developments and revitalized downtowns mean the state is able to attract workers.
“What we know now is that young talent wants to live in vibrant urban places. And the most important thing for businesses… is young talent,” Fleisher said.
The bills are getting attention from local communities, as well. In Jackson, City Council voted to support the bills that could transform the landmark Hayes Hotel. In Saginaw, local leaders say the bills could open the door for a $25 million investment.
Shannon Morgan, senior vice president of real estate developer HRS communities, is part of the MI Thrive coalition. She said many Michigan cities have an overabundance of single-family homes and lack downtown areas with housing.
“It’s a common measure in our world that talent chooses place first. So if you don’t have a vibrant place to attract that talent it’s critical,” Morgan said.
The bills, however, have been met with concern from Gov. Rick Snyder.
The bills would have to pass the House and Senate before the end of the year and get the Governor’s signature to become law.