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Snyder Signs MiThrive Package In Saginaw

June 13, 2017

Courtesy MIRS News

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed into law the “MiThrive” bill package, allowing developers to capture the income taxes and receive exemptions on sales and use taxes generated from certain developments on brownfield properties, in addition to the already-permitted capture of property taxes.

Snyder signed the bills in Saginaw on Thursday, joined by Saginaw Future President JoAnn Crary and Saginaw City Manager Tim Morales. The Governor’s press release said he spoke about how the bills would help revitalize communities across the state. 

“As part of Michigan’s reinvention, it’s important that we continue to revitalize our downtowns, waterfronts and main streets to attract and keep talent and business continually growing in our great state,” Snyder said in a statement. “This legislation is key to closing existing funding gaps surrounding brownfield sites and creating vibrant communities where Michiganders can live, work and play.” 

The bill package, consisting of SB 0111 through SB 0115, had long been associated with Detroit’s Dan Gilbert and his desire to secure assistance with what he and others call “transformational brownfield” projects.

Proponents of the package, drawn from across the state, say it’s needed to close the financial gap on the big transformational projects they feel can change a downtown. 

They also said the bills are designed so that every community in the state could use and access the incentives. Other safeguards supporters pointed to include not allowing tax dollars to go to the project developer until after the work is complete and a yearly limit of five of these projects statewide. 

In the Governor’s press release was a link to a list of MiThrive projects, which included redeveloping the riverfront in Grand Rapids and the Pontiac Silverdome. Gilbert’s Rock Ventures makes an appearance on the list, as the document says the legislation would “pave the way for $2.5 billion in transformational new development.” 

A similar bill package debuted last legislative session, but after stopping short of passage, it returned this session. 

Despite some hesitation to pass the bills out — particularly after the House’s failed attempt to pass an income tax cut — the bill package passed both chambers rather easily. 

The sponsors of SB 0111 through SB 0115 were, respectively, Sens. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Twp.), Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and Steve Bieda (D-Warren). 

Even before MiThrive was signed into law, Snyder already had his eyes on another business incentive bill package making its way through the Legislature: Dubbed the “Good Jobs” package, it’s been tied to an attempt to lure technology manufacturer Foxconn to Michigan, which is a major contractor for Apple. 

This time, the bills would offer 50 to 100 percent abatements on a business’s employee tax withholdings. 

However, a House committee chair said he probably wouldn’t be taking up the bills until the fall.

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