Lawmakers Eye TD Ren Zones

    LANSING — Republicans say an economic stimulus package to protect and create manufacturing jobs in Michigan will top the fall legislative agenda.

    House and Senate Republicans today unveiled the proposal to spur new business investment and provide incentives to expand the state’s slow-moving economy.

    State Rep. Jerry Kooiman, R-Grand Rapids, said he supports the plan because it will benefit families in Grand Rapids and across the state.

    “This recovery plan is just the type of bold action we need to take for the people of Michigan,” said Kooiman. “It will foster economic growth and job creation — two things that must be top priorities in Lansing.”

    The main package of bills will seek to revitalize the state’s struggling tool and die industry, which has been especially hard hit with job losses. A key component is creation of Tool & Die Recovery Zones that would provide tax relief similar to that of a Renaissance Zone.

    The other marquee proposal is a tax incentive for startup businesses. The businesses would be exempt from most taxes in their first two years of operation and then have their tax liabilities phased in over the following four years.

    The package also seeks six additional actions, including the reauthorization of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), the state’s main tax-incentive granting authority used to spur economic development, which is set to dissolve Dec. 31.

    Kooiman said many of the proposals in the stimulus package came from the House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Business Competitiveness. The panel conducted hearings throughout Michigan, including one in Grand Rapids, to gather information and solicit public opinion on how to make Michigan more competitive for jobs and business investment in the 21st century.

    He added that the eight-point stimulus package represents only the first phase in Republican efforts to strengthen Michigan’s economy and that more measures are under consideration to further ignite the economy.           

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