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Brownfields Legislation Heads To The Governor’s Desk

Abandoned Factory
Wikipedia Media Commons

Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break.  A tax break that is – to build on blighted land. 

The Senate gave final passage to a series of bills Tuesday.  Lawmakers in the Senate tried and failed to pass similar legislation last year.  Then the bills were nicknamed after Dan Gilbert – the prominent Detroit developer. 

Opponents call them a gift to wealthy corporations at the expense of tax payers.  But proponents insist the legislation will bring investment to cities big and small.  Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof called the incentives an important tool. 

“If not for this type of tool there are many sites in small towns, large towns that would not be available,” he said.  “Would not be able to be redeveloped.  And you’re getting nothing from them now.  So getting something is better than getting nothing.”

The bills got a mixed reception in the House and Senate with some Democrats and Republicans opposing the mostly Republican led incentives. 

Democratic Representative Yousef Rabhi of Ann Arbor voted against the bills when they were in the House. 

“This is corporate welfare,” he said.  “It is wealth care.  It is helping a small group of very wealthy investors get richer, at the expense of everybody else.” 

The bills are now headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for a final signature.  Meekhof says he is confident the governor will sign them.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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