MARQUETTE - State Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, introduced a package of six bills Thursday that would create a new severance tax for non-ferrous mining operations, including the Rio Tinto Eagle Project.
The bills (HB 6007-60012), each deal with a different facet of the tax and make amendments to current laws. Huuki's bills were read and referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy for further consideration.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh said Wednesday the main provisions of the bills are a 2.75 percent severance tax, with no deductions. Sixty percent of the proceeds would go to local taxing units and 40 percent to a state rural development fund - for infrastructure improvements - which Creagh said should also benefit the Upper Peninsula.
Huuki said he's been working on the severance tax idea and associated draft proposals since he first got into office and it has been adjusted several times. Huuki was defeated in his re-election bid in Tuesday's election.
"This one here is the best happy medium we've come up with," Huuki said.
The bills come after numerous discussions state, county, township and mining company officials have had over the past year.
"Am I happy with all of this? No," Marquette County Board Chairwoman Deborah Pellow said. "Am I happy with some of this? Yes."
County officials are still awaiting the results of an independent review of the state geologist's $191 million valuation of the mine made in February.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.