Chamber representatives from Traverse City and across the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance covered plenty of ground with state lawmakers and their staffs during the Alliance Lobby Days in Lansing last month on their 2017-18 legislative priorities. Issues that were addressed included:
• Transformational brownfield funding – the Michigan Thrive bill package to create new state tax incentives to assist in the redevelopment of some of the most-challenge and contaminated properties across the region and state. Gov. Snyder signed the legislation this month.
• The “2X” funding formula to increase the per-pupil state funding allowance for numerous school districts across Northern Michigan.
• Legislation to address “dark stores” that’s impacting property assessments and revenues for schools and local governments across the region.
• Support for retaining Michigan’s Post Labor Day school opening law.
• Support for the Skilled Trade Training Fund (STTF) to provide funding for skilled worker training to bolster the region’s workforce.
• Discussion on possible changes to Michigan’s tax increment financing (TIF) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) regulations to ensure that these remain effective development tools for Northern Michigan communities.
• Input on several items in the proposed state budget.
State legislators who met with Chamber representatives included state House Speaker Tom Leonard, along with Reps. Larry Inman, Sue Allor, Curt VanderWall, Scott VanSingel, Daire Rendon, John Kivela, David Maturen, Jim Tedder, Lee Chatfield, James Lower, Triston Cole and Beau LaFave. On the Senate side, meetings were heldwith Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, and state Sens. Wayne Schmidt, Darwin Booher, Jim Stamas, Geoff Hansen and Dale Zorn.