Capitol Connection Newsletter: March 14, 2023
In This Issue:
- Tax Relief Legislation Signed
- $3.9 Billion More Needed to Fix MI Roads
- FY24 Community Funding Projects Submitted
- FTC Non-Competes Proposal
- Federal Permitting Reform
The Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation last week and will likely take up in the Michigan Senate this week bills pertaining to repealing Right-to-Work and restoring prevailing wage. All the bills passed along party lines 56-53. Democrats are in control of both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate. (To pass a bill in the Michigan House, 56 votes are required).
- HB 4004 (Rep. Regina Weiss) Labor: collective bargaining; requirement for agency fee for nonunion members; allow in bargaining agreements and as condition of employment in public sector.
- HB 4005 (Rep. Regina Weiss) Labor: collective bargaining; collective bargaining rights; revise to restore former provisions.
- HB 4007 (Rep. Brenda Carter) Labor: hours and wages; prevailing wage; reenact.
For the repeal: Supporters argue that they undermine unions and collective bargaining, leading to lower wages and reduced benefits for workers.
Against the repeal: Opponents of the repeal argue that Right-to-Work laws are essential for economic growth and job creation and that they provide workers with greater freedom and choice.
Short history: Right-to-Work, which was approved by Republicans in 2012, allows workers to opt out of paying dues in union-represented jobs but still receive benefits. Michigan is one of the nation’s 27 Right-to-Work states and many are in competition for large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The outcome of this legislation could have a significant impact on businesses and workers in our state, and the LRCC is continuing to closely monitor this legislation.
Tax Relief Legislation Signed
After weeks of negotiations, the Governor has signed House Bill (HB) 4001. HB 4001 will increase the exemption for retirement income and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), however; the proposal by the Governor to provide $180 rebate checks was not part of the final legislation. The $180 rebate check fell short of the 26 votes needed in the State Senate for the required two-thirds majority to give the bill immediate effect. The bill needed immediate effect for the $800 million intended for the rebate checks to be appropriated.
There has been an ongoing debate between Democrats and Republicans on the $180 rebate vs. an income tax rollback. Legislative Republicans have supported the potential income tax reduction that would be triggered due to the 2015 road funding package that mandates a reduction in the rate if General Fund revenues grow by factor of inflation plus economic growth. Both the House and Senate Fiscal agencies projected General Fund revenue increased enough to trigger an income tax decrease to about 4.05 percent.
$3.9 Billion More Needed to Fix MI Roads
The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) released a report projecting a $3.9 billion yearly funding shortfall to fix roads and bridges in Michigan. Five solutions were proposed, including different formulas for increases in fuel and sales taxes and a tax on miles traveled.
- The first proposed funding option would increase the motor fuel tax between 39 cents and 74 cents per gallon.
- Option two would also increase the motor fuel tax but would instead increase it on a per-dollar basis rather than a per-gallon basis.
- The third option would increase the sales tax by 2 to 3 percentage points and be solely dedicated to transportation funding.
- Similarly, the fourth option also increases sales tax but would allow local communities to pursue a sales tax increase. A constitutional amendment would be needed to allow local government units to levy this tax.
- The fifth option would be a tax per mile driven, taxing anywhere from 3 cents to 5 cents per mile. This option was also suggested by the Coalition on Electric Vehicles and Transportation Revenues.
Infrastructure is one of the policy priority areas for the LRCC. The LRCC’s Policy Committee will be reviewing the proposed solutions. Adequate and efficient infrastructure will help create a more conducive environment for economic growth, attract investment, and improve the quality of life for residents, workers, and visitors. Read the PSC Report and its Executive Summary. To follow the campaign’s page, visit www.fixmistate.org.
FY24 Community Funding Projects Submitted
Projects have been submitted to the offices of Senator Peters and Congresswoman Slotkin for consideration for congressionally directed spending for Fiscal Year 2024. The Community Funding Projects allow members of Congress to advocate for federal funding to go directly to projects in their districts. The following projects have been submitted via the Capital Region Improvement Support Package. Please note that this package is also being advocated for at the Michigan State Legislature level as several of these projects can receive both federal and state support. View the Capital Region Improvement Package below.
Capital Region Improvement Support Package
FTC Non-Competes Proposal
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a rule to ban noncompete agreements for all employees and independent contractors, with no exceptions except in cases between a buyer and seller of a business.
- Supporters: Non-compete clauses create an unfair method of competition and harm employees.
- Opponents: The FTC lacks the constitutional or statutory authority to issue such a rule and, in attempting to do so, the agency is improperly usurping the role of Congress. Moreover, this sweeping rule would invalidate millions of contracts around the country that courts, scholars, and economists have found entirely reasonable and beneficial for both businesses and employees.
There is currently a comment period on this change and the deadline is Monday, March 20, 2023. The U.S. Chamber provided a sample letter you can send from your own organization/business. We welcome you all to review the document and customize as you see fit. For additional insight, you can find a 50 state survey chart of non-compete laws here. We encourage you to submit online at this link to make sure your comments are received by the deadline.
Federal Permitting Reform
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is circulating a coalition sign-on letter on permitting reform calling on Congress to Permit America to Build by enacting meaningful, durable legislation to modernize America’s permitting processes before the end of the summer.
Why it matters: Public and private sector infrastructure projects will improve our economy and the lives of millions of Americans. Investing in highways, bridges, transit systems, and ports will move people and goods more quickly and efficiently. But America cannot accomplish any of this if the outdated, inefficient, and unpredictable permitting process is not improved.