Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 16, 2014

Snyder talks taxes, Medicaid

TRAVERSE CITY Gov. Rick Snyder thinks the state of Michigan finally got it right on attempts to reform the personal property tax on business.

Voters go to the polls in August to either approve or disapprove of a rollback of a tax on personal property owned by businesses, from office furniture to computers and heavy equipment used in manufacturing.

“I think it should pass,” Snyder said. “All of the groups, municipal communities, the local government sector, are all in favor of it, as is the business community. We have wide-scale support.”

Prior reform attempts were controversial because much of the $500 million annually the tax generates went to schools, government and public safety. A law passed by the Michigan Legislature in March rolls back the tax and replaces that lost revenue by adjusting the state’s use tax and allocating the money to local government, Snyder said. Voters must give final approval.

“The thing I want to emphasize to people is this is not about a tax increase,” Snyder said. “This is simply changing the allocation of resources to say it’s a state use tax, and that’s going to end up going to our local governments instead,” he said.

Snyder appeared in Traverse City to participate in a Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals group at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. He told the Record-Eagle he wants to improve Michigan’s business climate by broadening job skills training for workers.

Agriculture, manufacturing and technology sectors increasingly see a need for workers with advanced training, he said.

“My perspective coming from the private sector is, who addresses the skilled trade question the best?” Snyder said. “Whoever addresses this skills gap question the best is going to have a major strategic advantage. It's why I want to make it a top priority if I have a second (term.) That’s something I’m going to make sure Michigan is a leader in the country on in dealing with the skills gap and helping people get career-connected.”

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