MARQUETTE - The Lake Superior Community Partnership's board of directors has taken a position in support of the state of Michigan's ballot proposal to eliminate the personal property tax on businesses.
The proposal will appear on the Aug. 5 ballot.
Amy Clickner, LSCP chief executive officer, said the board took a position to stimulate discussion among stakeholders and to help people understand the issue.
"It's very difficult to understand," said Clickner, who pointed out voters will have to make a decision in several months.
If approved by voters, the proposal would reduce the state use tax and replace it with a local community stabilization share of the tax. This would be used to modernize the tax system to help small businesses grow and create jobs in the state.
The proposal also would require the Local Community Stabilization Authority to provide revenue to local governments dedicated for local purposes such as fire protection, police safety and ambulance emergency services.
Other results of a voter-approved proposal would be increasing the portion of state use tax dedicated for aid to local school districts, prohibiting the authority from raising taxes and prohibiting the total use tax rate from exceeding the existing constitutional 6 percent limitation.
Clickner explained the LCSA is a mechanism used to send dollars back to local municipalities. If the proposal is approved, the use tax money would be funneled through the LCSA to the municipalities, she said.
The proposal also would simplify procedures from a regulatory perspective and help small businesses expand, Clickner said.
"As an economic development organization, we see the value in eliminating the cumbersome tax and believe it will be especially positive for small business," Clickner said in a news release. "However, we were not willing to support the tax elimination if it meant a negative financial impact to our local municipalities, which has been corrected in the passed legislation."
The LSCP joined a list of statewide organizations that are in favor of the proposal. They include the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Township Association, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Business Leaders for Michigan, Small Business Association of Michigan and Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance.
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.