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Dem leader signals Caucus ‘concerns’ with Good Jobs Package

June 20, 2017

House Minority Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) signaled Thursday that his caucus has “a number of concerns” with the so-called “Good Jobs for Michigan” package that would provide additional tax credits for businesses.

It’s a signal that Singh and his Democratic colleagues may present a hurdle to passing legislation Gov. Rick Snyder requested the House pass in exchange for him negotiating on the teacher pension reforms, which Dems detest. Democrats weren’t able to sink teacher pension reform, but they may have a shot at torpedoing the “Good Jobs” package, which several Republicans have problems with. 

In related news, a House Tax Policy Committee during which the “Good Jobs” package may have moved to the House floor was cancelled. Chair Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston) said Thursday the committee may meet again this week, but made no commitments. 

If the panel’s four Democrats hold their votes, the package could be trouble in Tax Policy with Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) and Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) almost certain no votes. 

For Singh’s part, he shared the argument with reporters that the business community is currently enjoying plenty of tax credits and breaks. In fact, there are some months in which the amount paid to businesses is higher than what is collected in taxes. 

“So that will be something that Democrats will be talking about as we move forward in discussion about that package of bills,” Singh said Thursday. 

That’s significant because the Good Jobs package won strong support from Democrats when it was approved by the Senate on March 29. The only dissenters were Republicans when the Senate passed SB 0242 and SB 0243 in 32-5 votes and SB 0244 was approved 33-4.

“I would say this, I want to see the business community paying for these tax cuts and currently I don’t see that and so we will be having conversation over the weeks to come with anybody who wants to have the conversation about how we better look at tax incentives,” Singh said following a contentious vote on the House floor to reform the MPSERS teacher retirement program. 

The Good Jobs bills allow businesses that expand or add a new location to capture 50 or 100 percent of their new employees’ income tax withholdings for up to 10 years, if the jobs come with a high enough salaries. 

The package requires that all businesses receiving the incentive would have to agree to have their names and the value and duration of the incentive publicly disclosed. There would be a cap of 15 projects per year and there could be no more than $250 million in total incentives outstanding at any one time. 

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