MITA lobbyists continue to work to garner support for an additional $1 billion annual investment in transportation funding by aggressively reaching out to legislators. This week’s calendar was jam-packed with legislator meetings in order to talk to them before summer recess.
Last year, MITA individually met with over 80 legislators to explain the transportation funding collapse here in Michigan and pitch them on the $1 billion plan. This year, MITA has the same goal and is working to get all the meetings done before July 4th break. With summer break and then elections looming, legislators will spend little time after this spring examining public policy issues in depth.
Recent talks with legislators have included the possibility offsetting a gas tax increase with a lowering of the sales tax collected at the pump. At $4 per gallon, the state would collect 24 cents per gallon of sales tax (none of which goes to roads) while only collecting 19 cents in state gas tax.
MBT Materials Deduction Fix Passes State Senate
This week the MITA-proposed materials deduction fix overcame a major hurdle by overwhelmingly passing the state Senate 38-0.
The unanimous passage of SB 1217 (click here for a copy) was a strong sign of support for allowing contractors to deduct the cost of construction materials from their gross receipts calculation. MITA believes that the legislation now has strong momentum heading into the House.
Legislation that would help many mid-size companies receive their small business credit under the MBT also passed out of the Senate on Wednesday. The legislation increases the allowable annual income for business owners from $180,000 to $250,000 and is indexed in future years. SB 1198 (click here for a copy) received approval on a nearly party-line vote, meaning changes will likely be needed in the House in order to get approval.
MITA continues to work with legislators on a grandfather clause for projects that were bid on prior to the original MBT passage. The industry has argued that companies should not be forced to pay significant unanticipated business taxes from a project bid that was offered and approved under the old Single Business Tax. The grandfather language was not included in SB 1217 because it would amend a separate section of law, but the language has been inserted into another MBT fix bill pending in the Legislature.
Contractors are encouraged to offer feedback to MITA on the effects of the MBT so that we can continue to represent your interests as various MBT changes are debated in the Legislature in the coming weeks and months.
Money for Airport and University Construction Projects Making Progress
Approval of almost $600 million in airport and university construction money is moving forward in the Legislature, passing the House on a party-line vote Wednesday.
The money is part of a larger capital outlay budget (HB 5221)that includes airport money along with money for various building projects at universities across the state. There has been partisan wrangling recently because of disagreements about how much money the state should be borrowing to pay for these construction projects. Although the airport dollars are federal grants that don’t require any borrowing, the money has been bottled up because of the other more controversial spending measures.
MITA has been lobbying leaders in both the House and the Senate to get the money approved so this year’s construction season won’t be lost.
Please contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Keith Ledbetter at email@example.com or call the MITA office at 517-347-8336 with any questions or comments.